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December 26th 2019

Fabulous Foliage and Fillers

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Having a steady supply of foliage is key to successfully making bouquets throughout the season—in spring, during the long months of summer, and into early fall. In this post, I’ll share the best staple foliages and foliage-like fillers, along with several of my favorite varieties.

Most of the varieties here can be grown from seed (the exceptions are ninebark, raspberry greens, and scented geranium). For more great fillers, like amaranth, cress, and millet, check out my post on Grasses, Grains, & Pods.

Scent is a bonus with many of these varieties. Some are culinary herbs with a magnetic fragrance (that might make you hungry), and others, like bells of Ireland and the eucalyptus varieties, have a fresh, clean scent. A few stems of any of these fragrant-leaved varieties will add perfume to your arrangements and bouquets.

Bells of IrelandSpring

Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland (pictured above) is a cutting garden staple and one of the finest annual foliage plants you can grow for mixed bouquets. Plants are heavily branched, producing a bumper crop of tall, lime-green spires adorned with bell-shaped blooms. They have a lovely, subtle, springlike scent.

Harvest once the green bells start to form along the stem. Remove leaves from the lower half of the stem because they often yellow. Expect a vase life of 7 to 10 days with the use of floral preservative.


The bright, chartreuse-green blooms of bupleurum (pictured above) add sparkle and interest to early-summer arrangements. I love to combine the airy stems of this easy-to-grow flower with brilliant jewel tones or simple, clean whites and greens.

For an extended harvest, sow seeds every 2 to 3 weeks. In mild areas, seeds can be sown directly into the garden in fall. Everywhere else, direct-seed into the garden 6 weeks before the last frost.

Harvest when flowers are fully open; otherwise, they have a tendency to wilt. Fresh flowers last an incredibly long time in the vase, 8 to 10 days, with or without flower food.

Cerinthe in fieldHoneywort

One of the most uniquely colored flowers I’ve ever grown, a single stem of honeywort (pictured above) in full bloom can be silver, blue, purple, and green all at the same time. Featuring gracefully arching stems with nodding blooms, these plants are easy to grow and produce a bumper crop for many weeks. Honeywort combines beautifully with most other flowers and makes a great bouquet filler. Bees love it.

Start seed indoors in trays 6 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed.

Harvest during the coolest hours of the day and treat stems right away by dipping the bottom 2 to 3 in (5 to 8 cm) in boiling water for 7 to 10 seconds and then placing them in cool water with preservative. Stems get very floppy immediately after harvest, but once hydrated, honeywort has a vase life of 7 to 10 days.

Apple mintMint

I was advised to never plant this vigorous spreader but am so glad I didn’t listen. Mint is one of the first foliage plants available to harvest in the spring and makes early-spring bouquets possible.

My two favorite varieties are of the same species, Mentha suaveolens: apple mint and its variegated sister, pineapple mint. They have a fruity fragrance and slightly fuzzy leaves that are larger than those of other mints. Apple mint (pictured above) is a beautiful medium green, while the pineapple ‘Variegata’ is green and creamy white. They are hardy to zone 5 and can grow up to 2 ft (60 cm).

You can start plants from seed in either spring (in cold climates) or autumn, when varieties are available in nurseries. Plant in full sun to part shade, in a place where they can wander without causing any trouble. If you don’t want your mint to spread, tuck plants into large pots or a whiskey barrel planter.

Pick stems when they’re mature and have become firm and they’ll last for well over a week, sometimes even rooting in the vase. No floral preservative is needed.

Queen Anne's laceQueen Anne’s lace

This beautiful hardy annual—actually a false Queen Anne’s lace—is one of the most productive and versatile filler plants you can grow from seed. The lacy flower heads and crisp green-and-white color mix well with everything and provide an invaluable backbone for late-spring and early-summer bouquets. I plant hundreds of them each year and use every single stem.

Plants get large, so space them 12 to 18 in (30 to 46 cm) apart, and be sure to stake them early so they don’t topple over in heavy spring rains. For staking, I recommend using flower netting attached to sturdy posts, since these plants are quite bulky. To extend the harvest, succession-sow every 2 weeks.

Green Mist’ (pictured above, right) produces tall plants, 36 to 48 in (1 to 1.2 m), with an abundance of wide, umbel-shaped blooms over a long period of time. ‘Queen of Africa’ (pictured above, left) is a gorgeous, very tall variety, 48 to 65 in (1.2 to 1.7 m), with more-open flower heads.

Cut when about 80 percent of the flowers on a stem are open. If harvested much earlier, the stems have a tendency to wilt. Fresh flowers will last 6 to 8 days in the vase with flower preservative.

Sweet pea vines

Sweet peas (pictured above) were the flowers that inspired me to begin my flower journey, and they are a favorite at our farm. We offer more varieties of sweet pea than any other plant, several developed by renowned breeder Keith Hammett of New Zealand. Be sure to check out this blog post on my favorite sweet pea varieties.

While sweet peas are beloved for their gorgeous, fragrant blooms, they also are a surprisingly wonderful filler. The wild-looking vines add amazing texture, shape, and volume to arrangements. We typically get a vase life of 4 to 5 days from the foliage and tendrils.

Early to midsummer


With a spicy, licorice-like scent, basil is one of the most fragrant, easy-to-grow, and abundant summer foliage plants. Plants are easy to start from seed, but they should be protected from cool weather in the spring, so don’t set them outside until all danger of frost has passed. (In our cool climate, basil must be grown in low tunnels to lessen disease pressure and extend the stem length).

Cinnamon’ (pictured above, left) is a lovely variety featuring dark purple flowers atop green leaves and chocolate-colored stems.

Mrs. Burns Lemon’ (pictured above, right) fills a room with its clean, citrusy scent. The bright green foliage and white flowers are fragrant, and we combine them with zinnias for a fast, beautiful bouquet from midsummer through autumn.

Purple basilAromatto’ (pictured above) is a handsome variety that features tall, deep purple stems, glossy bicolor plum-veined leaves, and brilliant amethyst flower spikes. The aromatic foliage is a spicy combination of licorice and mint.

Once cut, basil foliage is prone to wilting in the heat, so harvest when it’s cool, morning or evening, and let stems rest in water for a few hours before using them. Expect a vase life of 7 to 10 days; stems often root in the vase. No floral preservative is needed.

Dusty MillerDusty miller

The variety ‘New Look’ (pictured above) is one of the most productive and unique foliage plants around. This special dusty miller features tall, thick stems with large, smooth-edged silver leaves. The more you pick it, the more stems it produces. Ready to cut just 4 months from sowing, this hardworking plant will reward you with buckets of fuzzy, silvery foliage all season long. In warmer areas it will perennialize if mulched.

Start seed indoors in trays 10 to 12 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Seed is slow to start; bottom-watering is recommended until plants emerge. Seedlings do not look silver when very young but color up as they mature.

Cut foliage is prone to wilting in the heat, so harvest during the coolest part of the day and place immediately in water to rest for a few hours before arranging. Stems will last 7 to 10 days in the vase.


Bouquet’ (pictured above) is an early-maturing variety that produces tall stems loaded with large, chartreuse umbels. This plant is extremely versatile and makes a wonderful addition to summer bouquets. It’s beautiful when stems have just set seeds, and everyone loves dill’s nostalgic scent.

Start seed indoors in trays 4 weeks before last frost, then gently transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Dill can also be direct-seeded into the garden after your last frost date. Provide support so stems don’t topple. For an extended harvest, sow 2 to 3 successions.

Harvest when umbels are fully open and bright yellow-green, and remove some of the ferny foliage near the base of the stem. Expect a vase life of 7 to 10 days.

Bee Balm 'Lambada'Bee balm (Monarda)

While all kinds of Monarda are very productive, the annual variety ‘Lambada’ (pictured above) is even more notable than the perennials. The plant is easy to grow from seed in spring, has foliage that smells like Earl Grey tea, and holds well in arrangements. Its unusual overall coloring—a mix of green, gray, and soft purple—and the whorl-shaped blooms make it more useful as a filler plant, like bells of Ireland, than as an actual flower.

It can be succession-planted throughout the summer, and it churns out an enormous volume from even the smallest planting.

Cut when the flower whorls begin to turn from all green to purple. These flowers are prone to wilting in the heat, so harvest in the cool of the morning or evening and place in water to rest for a few hours before arranging. Stems will last 7 to 10 days if you use floral preservative.

Chocolate lace flower

The variety ‘Dara’ (pictured above), a large-flowered, burgundy-chocolate-colored Queen Anne’s lace, has been an absolute hit at our farm from day one. It looks great en masse, pairs well with almost anything, and blooms for most of the summer from just one planting. The lacy umbels come in a range of sizes and shades, adding a dramatic, airy quality to finished arrangements.

Space plantings and stake just as you would Queen Anne’s lace. Cut when flowers have fully opened and flower heads are flattened across the top. Expect a vase life of 6 to 8 days with floral preservative.

Love-in-a-puff vine

The long, ferny-leaved vines of love-in-a-puff (pictured above) are loaded with tiny white blossoms, and the intriguing green, balloon-like pods resemble miniature paper lanterns. What is even more magical is that inside each balloon are tiny black seeds imprinted with perfect white hearts. These vigorous growers will scramble up and over a trellis in no time. Woven into an arrangement, this beauty will take any creation to a whole new level.

Start seed indoors in pots 8 to 10 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Love-in-a-puff is very sensitive to cold; wait until the weather has warmed to plant out. Provide a strong trellis or support for vines to climb.

Choose stems that have firmed up and are covered in little green lanterns. Cut foliage is prone to wilting in the heat, so harvest during the coolest part of the day and place immediately in water to rest for a few hours before arranging. Stems will last a good week in the vase if flower preservative is used.

Raspberry greensRaspberry greens

I started using this wonderful foliage in bouquets years ago, and it is still on my top favorite list of things we grow. The greens (pictured above) last up to 2 weeks in the vase and are wildly productive, providing foliage all season long.

The everbearing varieties (‘Summit’ and ‘Golden’) are best for an extended harvest of fruiting stems, can be cut to the ground in the winter for easy cleanup, and spread rapidly for increased stock. They grow in poorer soil than traditional summer-fruiting types, and they fruit in yellow and red. I also love the variety ‘Tulameen’ and get my bare-root stock from Burnt Ridge Nursery here in Washington State.

Red-leaf hibiscus

With dramatic deep burgundy foliage that resembles Japanese maple leaves, the variety ‘Mahogany Splendor’ (pictured above) provides great height to garden borders and adds drama to large container plantings. Grown primarily for its striking, serrated foliage, hibiscus only flowers indoors in temperate regions. The more you cut this heat- and drought-tolerant plant, the more it produces.

Start seed indoors in 4-in (10-cm) pots 4 to 6 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed.

Harvest during the coolest part of the day once the foliage is mature and leathery and the tips are no longer floppy. Strip leaves from the lower half of the stem and sear stem ends in boiling water for 5 to 7 seconds. Expect a vase life of 7 days.

Geranium cuttings
Chocolate scented geraniumScented geranium

This foliage makes an amazing base for arrangements from midsummer to late autumn. The variety ‘Chocolate Mint’ (pictured above) is worthy of special mention; with large leaves splashed with burgundy veins, it is hands down my favorite. I also adore ‘Attar of Roses’. The smells are just as the names indicate. You can order plants from Select Seeds.

Start from plants in spring, after all danger of frost has passed. If left to grow, stems can reach 3 ft (1 m), making them perfect for large bouquets. Space all plants 1 ft (30 cm) apart in full sun. I grow mine under a low tunnel—the added heat encourages lush, vigorous growth and allows me to plant them earlier in the season and keep harvesting up until the first hard frost.

For best results, it’s essential to delay cutting until plants have matured enough to harden up a bit. Cut early in the morning or in the cool of the evening, then immediately place stems in water and let them rest in a cool spot for a few hours. These stems will often last more than a week in the vase with floral preservative.

PerillaShiso/Perilla frutescens

This culinary herb also happens to be a productive, long-lasting foliage coveted by designers. There are several beautiful varieties, including ‘Britton’, which has rich green leaves with deep red undersides.

Our favorite is ‘Purple Frills’ (pictured above), which has striking, deep chocolaty-maroon foliage and provides exceptional textural interest in arrangements. Leaves are crimped and curled, with serrated edges. Flowers are nondescript, and this variety is a superb, scented dark foliage choice from midsummer through autumn.

Perilla is easy to grow, and if you give it ample room, you’ll be rewarded with 15 to 20 stems per plant. Be sure to let it get nice and ripe before picking, or it will wilt; it’s similar to basil in that regard. Harvest when the foliage has become thick and the stems are woody, or any time after a flower spike begins to emerge. If you pick it too young, dip stem ends in boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds, and it will perk back up. I’ve had stems last 2 weeks in the vase.

RusticaFlowering tobacco

There are a number of varieties grown for cutting, and one of my favorites is ‘Rustica’ (pictured above). This broad-leaved plant is quite unassuming until it shoots up thick stems loaded with acid-green, bell-shaped blooms. The versatile color works with nearly every palette, and the tall stems are a perfect filler for large-scale arrangements.

Blossoms are well-loved by pollinators and are fragile, so take care when harvesting. Remove spent flowers from the lower half of the stem every few days. Expect a vase life of 7 days.

Ninebark bloomingNinebark

Ninebark (pictured above) is one of the most productive and hardworking shrubs you can grow for cutting. Beginning in late spring, plants produce flower-loaded stems that are ideal in arrangements. Once the flowers fade, they leave behind small clusters of gorgeous seedcases that provide a textural accent to design work.

Throughout the rest of the season, this shrub just keeps pumping out foliage-laden stems. What makes it so special is that it comes in a number of unusual colors rarely found in the plant world.

I love the green-leaved common ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius (pictured above), native throughout the eastern U.S. My favorite hybrid varieties are ‘Coppertina’, with brownish burgundy-orange leaves, ‘Summer Wine’, with dark wine-colored leaves, and ‘Diabolo’, which has nearly black foliage. Stems have a 10- to 14-day vase life if cut when the leaves are fully mature.

Late summer

Apple of Peru

The foliage of apple of Peru (pictured above), a soaring, easy-to-grow plant, is one of our most hardworking fillers on the farm. Stems are loaded with glowing green lanterns that appear after their periwinkle blossoms drop, and the plant resembles a giant tomatillo with blue flowers. A great addition to the landscape, each plant produces buckets of bouquet material from midsummer to autumn.

Start seed indoors in trays 4 to 6 weeks before last frost; transplant out after all danger of frost has passed. Harvest once seedpods have formed, and remove the foliage so that the lanterns are more visible. Expect a vase life of 7 days.

Small-leaved eucalyptus in fieldEucalyptus

Eucalyptus (pictured above) is a staple, much in demand by florists and for weddings. Its blue-green and silvery hues set off both cool and warm floral palettes, and everyone seems to love its distinctive menthol fragrance. And it’s doubly useful because it can be dried and used indefinitely; it’s a favorite in autumn wreaths.

Though it is actually a tree, eucalyptus can be grown as an annual from seed if started early indoors. Sow seed on the surface of the soil and do not cover. Seeds are very slow to germinate and can take 45 days to sprout, so be patient.

Cut fresh, eucalyptus is a long-lasting foliage—often 2 weeks in the vase. Harvest once foliage is mature and tips are no longer droopy.

Here are some of my favorite varieties.

Eucalyptus Round-leaved MalleeRound-leaved Mallee’ (pictured above) is a strongly scented variety with gray-green foliage that bends and arches, sending off whirling side branches. It makes an excellent bouquet filler when foliage has fully ripened. Of all of the eucalyptus we grow, this is our favorite.
Silver Dollar eucalyptusSilver Dollar’ (pictured above) has ginkgo-shaped leaves that alternate up striking purple-red stems. New growth has a beautiful bronze cast. Each branching plant produces loads of stems that are perfect for flower arranging.
Small-leaved eucalyptusSmall-leaved Gum’ (pictured above) has wispy cranberry stems covered in airy sage-green foliage with a clean, menthol scent. This extremely versatile variety makes a wonderful bouquet addition.
Willow eucalyptusNichol’s Willow’ (pictured above) has striking cranberry-red stems offset by beautiful willow-like blue-green foliage. Delicate, narrow leaves are perfect for event work and are a flower arranger’s dream.
Baby blue eucalyptusBaby Blue’ (pictured above) is a beautiful plant producing large sprays of blue-gray stems covered in distinctly rounded leaves that alternate from side to side. This variety is a fragrant and textural addition to late-season bouquets.
Greek oreganoOregano

Oregano is one of the most hardworking and useful perennial filler plants we grow. It thrives in heat, and its fragrance alone is reason enough to grow it, but so is the beautiful, edible foliage, as well as the full flower heads that quickly fill out a bouquet. The fluffy seed heads left behind are an amazing addition to any arrangement. Cut at either stage and expect a vase life of 7 to 10 days.

Pollinators love oregano!

Greek oregano (pictured above), the gorgeous classic species, has glowing green stems topped with fragrant, airy white blossoms. The flowers leave behind seed heads that complement summer flowers perfectly. It’s a must-grow for market bouquets.

You can grow Greek oregano from seed, and if you sow seeds early enough, plants will flower the first year. Start seed indoors in trays 8 to 10 weeks before last frost. Seed requires light to germinate, so do not cover. Bottom-water until seedlings emerge. Transplant out after all danger of frost has passed.

Two other favorites of mine must be grown from plants. ‘Hopley’s Purple’ (pictured above, left) grows to about 2 ft (60 cm) and produces flower heads full of reddish-purple blooms; ‘Herrenhausen’ (above right) is a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit winner with cerise-pink flowers. These are really special varieties I rely on.
Jewels of Opar
MignonetteIn addition to eucalyptus and any foliage still going strong in early autumn, you can also use many grasses, pods, and seed heads. Jewels of Opar (pictured above, top) and ‘Garden Mignonette’ (above) are two of my favorite varieties (see my post on Grasses, Grains, & Pods).
Foliages in bucketsI would love to hear your experience with foliage and fillers. Do you grow them or plan to add them to your garden this coming season? If so, what are your favorite varieties?


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  1. Elizabeth on

    Hi, thank you for all the amazing resources! I’m having trouble finding a source for Nichols Willow/Peppermint Willow seeds. Can you point me to a specific seller for this? Thanks, Elizabeth in Boston, MA

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Willamette Willows might offer the cuttings for these varieties.

  2. Erma on

    I have a baptisia plant/bush that I love to use as a filler. The blue grey leaves look similar to silver dollar eucalyptus.

  3. Angela on

    Hello from southern Australia! Love the article, and especially the reference to eucalypts (most Australians take them for granted!). Just wondering if you could please add in the botanical names when possible/relevant? Some are there, and the variety name does help, but common plant names are sometimes different in other areas/countries. Thanks again for so many great resources! :)

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Thanks for the suggestion! We share the botanical names for each variety in our Library and Shop description pages.

  4. Emmy on

    carrot blossoms look just like queen anne’s lace and they last wonderfully when used in arrangements. The green ferny leaves of carrots look beautiful as well.

  5. ITA FORDE on

    I have a great interest in growing flowers with view to drying but have difficulty in sourcing seeds I found your article very informative and hope to experiment more with drying foliage,here in southern Ireland (Cork)I have a small garden my husband is great at growing and I am great at harvesting so often it can lead to conflict!!! ,thanks again

  6. Aurora on

    Are any of these poisonous for chickens?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      We share information about if any plants are poisonous on the description pages for each variety in our shop.

  7. Heidi on

    I see Butcher’s Broom in a lot of bouquets in the store. Would this be a good one to grow since it is evergreen?

  8. Sue on

    Thank you for this post. Here in San Francisco, I grow flowers and leafy plants in my postage-stamp sized garden. One of the plants you mention, Dusty Miller, is such a versatile plant. I grow the old fashioned variety, as I prefer the feathery look of the leaves over the newer variety with flat-wide leaves. DM grows like a weed here, so I harvest stems in early January and dry them. I always have a few in each arrangement in my home. They can be used in any season. In winter, they look great with amaryllis and in spring with ranunculus (which I bought from you years ago- best bulb purchase I ever made) and in summer with annuals, fall with chrysanthemums & dahlias.
    Not having a big space, I can’t grow a whole lot of varieties of fillers, so DM fits the bill for being useful all year. And it looks great in borders, brings light to the border.

  9. Linda Cobb on

    Your company and you are so kind and giving to your public. Your emails are full of valuable information for us gardeners here. I am eternally, grateful. Thank you so much.

  10. June Moncrief on

    Baptisia is one of my favorite blue flowers. The foliage is absolutely the best filler in arrangements. It’s available long after the flowers are gone.

  11. Emmy on

    This is my first year with flower ‘farming’ I have such a small property, I can’t call it a farm… But I have planted a bunch of the ones you mentioned, I just hope I can keep them living until harvest time.. I do not have a greenhouse or cold frame yet!! But I am growing as I go.. The love of flowers and nature has entrapped me so much. They touch my soul watching them grow. I believe there is a healing power with flowers and being out in nature. Thank you for guiding us through our journey’s, your information and skill sharing is of great importance to all of us who are starting from scratch, awaiting to build our dream gardens. – Emmy, Bee True 2 You Blooms

  12. Tara Haire on

    I grow Bells of Ireland in Houston, Texas. I start them from seed around November, as our winters are usually mild and only last a few weeks from February to March. I don’t know of any local gardeners that grow this beautiful, fragrant, long-lasting flower! Once fully grown, I have cut arrangements of them brightening up every room in my house! In late summer I let them die out and harvest the seeds; with each cone producing 4 viable seeds, I have thousands to share every year! Another absolute favorite from Floret are my Silene Blushing Lanterns; they are so delicate and add beautiful shape and texture to cut arrangements. I highly suggest trying them out as they continue to bloom for many months and you can harvest the seeds.

  13. Gary on

    I have 10 acres and am thinking of growing filler pants as a business . Do you think there is a big enough market? Was thinking annuals , perennials and shrubs /bushes

  14. Magda on

    Thank you very much for your advice about cultivating flowers, but, as I don’t know always the English name of the plants, it would be very useful
    if you mentioned also the scientific name of the plants.
    Thank you very much!

  15. Anita on

    I use baptisia (false indigo) and lady mantle for fillers. The lady’s mantle is especially beautiful with hydrangea and the baptisia is a lovely complement to any bouquet.

  16. David Herbert on

    Hi for clarity, would you be able to add the Latin names… sometimes you use them and at other times you don’t… it difficult as different countries use different common names. thanks

  17. Mohammad on

    I grow eucalyptus for cut foliage……around 5 varieteis in Indonesia…the problem only weather which too humid and lots of rain

  18. Kevin on

    What greens do you recommend for dahlia bunches? First year growing them and I want them to stand out from other stands by adding some greens.


  19. Kate on

    Where are good sources to get these?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      We offer a lot of the seeds in our online Shop and many of the perennials you can find at your local plant nurseries.

  20. Petra on

    One of my favourite green fillers are various types of hebe. I’m surprised so few people use them. They last for weeks in vase. Another one is olive tree. Some manzanitas are amazing too. All of them evergreen and easy to grow in full sun with little to no water. No fuss with them.

  21. Karen on

    Of all the varieties mentioned in this article, which ones are edible?

  22. Star on

    What are the varieties in the last photo? Dusty miller?

    • BriAnn Boots on

      Yep, you’re correct!

  23. Lindsay on

    What is the best greens/filler option for direct sow in the spring? I live in North Dakota and have a short growing season and I don’t have an optimal set-up for starting indoors.

    • BriAnn Boots on

      Any of these foliage and fillers can be directly planted when it warms up in the spring. The days to maturity can be found on our Shop page for each variety to help you figure out what will bloom in time before your first fall frost.

  24. Sunshine Jull on

    I’ve found that Vinca major is very long-lasting in the vase, and it will continue to produce new blooms after being cut. The variegated one is particularly nice as a filler with ranunculus or poppies.

  25. Michelle O'Brine on

    I love all your wonderful suggestions and photos. I have fields of Queen Anne’s Lace and my husband is always trying to get rid of it. It grows everywhere and can get away from you but I still love it.

  26. Franziska on

    Since now a few years I cultivate in my garden a good variety of herbs and its true they are great in flower bouquets! As we live in a mountain situated but Mediterranean place we are lucky that so many varieties of green fillers grew almost by them self! Thank you!

  27. Pamela Anderson on

    One of my clients has an intense rabbit problem. So short of fencing in all her prized flowers, this year I’m going to incorporate as many herbs into the garden as I can! Including, Dill, thyme and oregano . It will be quite the experiment and hopefully it will be a success to keep the rabbits away!

  28. Maria on

    This is so useful! I hope I can get some of these seeds for this year. I’m excited to up my bouquet game as I’m still in the “just flowers in the vase” stage. So much to learn!

  29. Erin Geoffroy on

    This season I added greens from pea shrub, as well as the big, beautiful leaves of hydrangea and nasturtium to my market bouquets. They all held up beautifully! For fall, the lovely berried branches of crabapple trees (the non-fruit baring varieties) add lovely interest to bouquets.

  30. Elizabeth on

    I agree with the other post about using parsley. I haven’t got round to sowing Dill this year, but had lots of parsley plants left out over winter and they are all now very tall and have beautiful dill-like flowers. I keep cutting and they keep flowering. I live in Canterbury in South England UK. We had snow last winter and a very cold spring but the parsley seems to thrive regardless. Thank you Erin. I am new to Floret Farm with my husband having just bought me your Dahlia book which I love. Everything you do is so inspiring. :-)

  31. Nicola Yeeles on

    So much inspiration, thank you. I have purple Verbena growing in a windy but warmish garden here in the UK, which also makes a great filler, and dries beautifully to a royal blue. It’s a really popular plant in UK perennial borders at the moment.

  32. Karen J Burzdak on

    I live in an entirely different climate, in the Napa Valley. I love my white alstroemeria that can be used as a filler or stand alone in a vase. Oddly enough, it grows and blooms all year (almost) except in the summer, when the bed is completely devoid of any growth at all.

    I also have two different varieties of solidago. A wine-colored amaranth reseeds itself every year, the hanging branches of which are beautiful in the fall.

  33. Ruthann S. on

    I was wondering if you could give me a little more information on how to grow eucalyptus. I bought a packet of ‘baby blue’ from you, but I wasn’t quite confident on how to plant them. How soon should I start them inside and then when should I plant them outside? Thank you so much! My sister and I love Floret and are so excited to grow all our flowers this spring!!!! Thank you so much for all the helpful information that you have on here! It has been soo helpful!!

  34. Debbie Pleu on

    I grow flowers for our market in Tulsa, OK and I discovered Parsley blooms works. It starts blooming shortly after the Dill has finished so the timing is perfect. You just have to remember to plant out starts in the prior summer. I learned this quite by accident after planting leftover unsold Parsley plants. My original intent was to have Parsley for fresh cut herb sales in early spring . If left they go into bloom in early summer.
    Another accidental discovery was with Iceland Poppies. I thought they would be a good cut flower but found out they shatter pretty quick. After they drop their petals they have a very nice seed pod that works fantastically in bouquets. My customers love them. They even buy any extras I have. The window is short for the nice green pods because eventually the pods start getting brownish spots which don’t appeal to me. They reseed so easy which helps too.
    One more thing I do with Dill is when the florets have gone past their prime I cut just the florets off just below their little crown and I get what I would describe as a “space age” spiky looking foliage that adds huge interest.

  35. Jillian on

    I watched your pinching out video last night. It was exactly the information I needed right now. I went outside and hacked off my cosmos, antirrhinums, Zinnias and Dahlias. It was a hard thing to do but your video gave me the confidence to do it. Thank you. I have some panicum capillare seedlings to plant out. How many plants shall I put in a pot? They only have two leaves at the moment. Will they bulk out? Regards Jillian

  36. Lauren Pippin on

    Hi! I’m inspired to start my own cut flower garden! Your books are an amazing resource! I feel like you’ve helped tremendously with getting annuals started. Can you point me in the right direction with how to prepare a space for perennials? Books or blog post? Not so much on which plant or how to care for the plant but how to actually arrange the perennials in the space and how to maintain weeds and such through the year. Specifically, I have 40 foot by 50 foot space to plant. I’d like a few rows to plant a large variety of plants and I’m not sure if I should use landscape fabric or just plant in the soil and then how do you maintain such a large area against weeds through the year? Any guide would be tremendously appreciated! Thank you for your inspiration and sharing information!

  37. Vicki Ranger on

    Floret Flower farm is a fantastic resource! Thank you! I am heading into retirement and planning a lovely flower garden to keep me (and my husband 😉😉) active. If all goes well I hope for enough of a $return to at least support my dahlia addiction (8 years and no sign of a cure).
    I have scoured the internet and ordered some seeds but looking for some direction locating Canadian resource for Nichol’s willow and Hypericum plant/seeds. Any suggestions?

  38. Lisa Beth Hudson on

    I’d love to grow Dusty Miller, Honeywort, Chocolate Lace, Red-Leaf Hibiscus, Flowering Tobacco and Euphorbia. Most interested in a hedge of Ninebark but it doesn’t say how to get them going that I can see. I would also need A LOT OF HELP knowing how to prepare their bed!!
    We have a lot of wind so I need your most urgent AID in knowing strongest varieties you prefer for foliage, proliferation and strength. Height is good too as there are only a few visuals we could block.

    Thank you for all you DO and what you give to the growing community. You are so loved.


  39. Linda Dean on

    You are such an inspiration. I was a florist but now only do flowers for my church and instead of ordering from a wholesaler I now like to use my own garden flowers, including dahlias I received from you a couple of years ago and still have. Have a question about planting Queen Anne’s Lace. Will it reseed or spread like the roadside kind? I live in Virginia.

  40. Robin Habing on

    Last year I used salvia and basil a lot. This year I have taken your advice on 50%. I have also planned them to be in all three of my beds, so I can make bouquets in each bed. I have grape vines which I will alsi incorporate this year!!

  41. Anne M. on

    Thanks for this great information! I am trying to learn about using herbs in floral arrangements. I love your site..

  42. Lina on

    Thank you for the comprehensive share. Lots more for me to try!

  43. Paula kane on

    This is an awesome read. Thank you so much for sharing. I am a new grower in Sth Canterbury New Zealand and have always wondered what were good fillers/foliage. Will be saving this read for the future. ❤️❤️

  44. Cricket Hill Flowers on

    Thank you, Erin. Filler flowers make the bouquet. At other Farmers Market we sell flowers at in the greater Chicago area, Euphorbia Marginata (Snow on the Mountain) is a huge hit. The white borders and seed brackets look great with any flower. If you dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, it will last for weeks. We use latex gloves when picking because the sap can cause a rash. We love using the plants that go to seed so quickly in the Midwest heat. Cilantro. Pac Choi. Arugula. Fennel. We are fortunate that Queen Anne’s Lace is a roadside weed. As well as Coreopsis, echinacea, and Feverfew. I succession plant Agrostemma, Saponaria, and Larkspur to use as fillers.

  45. Emily on

    I have used basil many times in the vase because it’s so pretty and it grows so well here in TX that I usually have a ton of it. Every variety I have used tends to smell like cat pee once you get it in the vase. Anyone else have this experience? When I rub the leaves they smell sweet and spicy like normal, but when they’re just sitting there – cat pee! I have used green Genovese, Thai and several types of purple and red basils.

  46. Lori Merrill on

    Hello! Thank you for the great knowledge you share with us. I planted mint several years ago and it’s everywhere. It looks beautiful in bouquets. I love that you can use raspberry foliage, we have it growing wild up and down the road. Thanks for all you do! Lori @vintagethruthyme

  47. Dawn Jordan on

    This email is so gorgeous I can smell all the fragrances! 😆🥰

    Makes me want to sleep in your fields….

    Do you take on interns any part of the year?

  48. Rebecca Burt on

    Im really curious — why doesn’t anyone seem yo use coleus? It comes in a broad range if colors/shapes/patterns, many of them grow like crazy, and like basil they’ll root in water. It seems like it would be a perfect choice?

  49. Joan Thorndike on

    We have the habit of considering every shrub or tree we grow as a potential source of foliage, a useful bi-product beyond the flower for which it was intended. 2 such workhorses are hypericum foliage and viburnum foliage, the latter most especially valuable in the fall.

  50. Candyce Chittenden on

    Wow – what a list! I too am curious about euonymus – it’s going to town in my back yard and I should be a responsible plant mom and learn to use its powers for good instead of evil.

  51. Michael on

    Greetings, I want to thank and applaud your never ending generosity in FREELY sharing your knowledge and experience on growing flowers. I am saddened that other pioneers and leaders in the cut flower universe are charging for every morsel of information they dangle in front of their followers . You in contrast, willingly pass on your knowledge of flower cultivation ( like a friendly gardening neighbor), to those looking for inspiration, helpful suggestions or solutions to the multitude of problems beginning and even long- time growers experience. I look forward to learning more from you in the future and wish you continued success.

  52. MWG on

    I enjoy using hosta leaves and flowers in my home bouquets. How do you deal with invasive plants? I have had mugwort take over one of my beds and problems with Cleome.

  53. Nancy Whitehead on

    I do weddings, for free, most often for former students. It’s so fun to be part of their grown-up lives! I use salal, vine maple (oh, the seed pods! – samaras – and red or bronze color by mid-summer!), and bay as foliage. Anything I have in my garden. The use of oregano is a great idea; I’ll have to find the kind with white flowers, not my muddy pink. Hydrangea is a good filler, too, flowers and all. The shrub-fillers, and the vine maple, act as good support for an arrangement. Erin, thank you for all you share!! I’m looking forward to your book!

  54. Carol on

    This is a great post, thank you for the informative information & for including the varieties which are so often left out. I have gardened first more than 49 years and live to make flower bouquets all season. I have and grow many of the plants you mention; I love adding herb foliage such as the flowering oregano stems & also sage…so pretty. One of my perennial favorites which you didn’t mention is Lady’s Mantle, Alchemilla mollis…the whirling blue-green leaves up the stems & the gorgeous soft yellow flowers is one of my earliest blooming favorites. I am going to add a new annual to my cutting bed from your blog, so thanks again!

  55. Lilly Bowering on

    Thanks for these great suggestions! I’m eager to grow some new fillers from your list. One of my all- time filler favourites is False Blue Indigo( Baptisia). The flowering period is short but I use the graceful foliage from Spring thru Fall, right up until frost.

  56. gerry on

    Have you ever used Euonymous Japonica in bouquets? Also what are sources for those beautiful sweet peas?

  57. Tammy Howard on

    Hello! I am super interested in the Euphorbia as a filler, but it looks so much like Leafy Spurge, Euphorbia esula, which is a noxious weed throughout much of the Western US. I am just wondering if this is the same plant and if you have run into any issues with sending it to states where Leafy Spurge is listed as a noxious weed. Thanks for your help and all of the great tips you have provided as I grow my small flower farm in Montana :).

  58. Jaimee on

    Hello! I had planted the Dusty Miller new look variety last year and it never got very tall. It was hard to use in bouquets because of this. Any tips on getting this variety to grow taller?

  59. Jennifer Joray on

    Thank you, Erin! I love all of these choices. I’m trying to find varieties with little pollen (afraid of Dill) and which are very tall for market bouquets, as we are in the process of scoring a large grocery account which would make it possible for us to live on the farm full time!! I truly appreciate all your research; it has proved invaluable to us!! Jen


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