Evaluating field-grown perennials as cut flowers
Perennials are an important part of field-grown cut flower operations and producers have many species and cultivars from which to choose. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers in cooperation with North Carolina State University and perennial plant suppliers conducted a perennial trial program to evaluate 145 perennial species and cultivars. Five to eight commercial cut flower growers and North Carolina State University evaluated the plants as part of a 14-year study. Of the tested plants, 23 perennials produced more than 20 stems plant-1. Thirty-one perennials produced stems with an average length of less than 45 cm, which is the minimum length for commercial cut flower production. On the other hand, 16 perennials produced stems longer than 90 cm. In addition to providing production data, the trial sites also rated each perennial for market appreciation, likelihood of growing the perennial again, and ease of cultivation. Considering productivity of at least 5 stems plant-1, stem length of at least 45 cm, and high ratings, the overall top perennials were Achillea 'Fireland' and 'Terra Cotta', Baptisia australis, Echinacea 'Big Sky Summer Sky' and 'Comet', Eupatorium maculatum 'Carin', Geum 'Fireball', Helenium autumnale 'Helena Red Shades', Hylotelephium 'Matrona', Heuchera 'Florist's Choice', 'Paris', and 'Velvet Night', Hypericum androsaemum 'Albury Purple', Monarda 'Raspberry Wine', Penstemon 'Dark Towers' and 'Husker Red', Persicaria amplexicaule 'Firetail', Phlox paniculata 'Icecap', 'Miss Violet', and 'Red Eyes', Physostegia 'Summer Spires', Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers', and Veronica longiflolia 'Blauriensen'.
Dole, J.M., McCall, I.F. and Laushman, J. 2017. Evaluating field-grown perennials as cut flowers. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1171:59-66
trial program, yield, stem length, marketability