Best Fillers for a Cut Flower Garden

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Foliage and fillers are the backbone of a cutting garden. The best fillers for a cut flower garden provide structure, bulk, and interest to bouquets. A steady supply of both foliage and filler flowers will keep your designs looking lush and balanced. Plus, your garden will be balanced ecosystem brimming with variety, abundance, and life. 

If your yard includes shrubs, these plants can often yield large amounts of foliage. For example, forsythia, diervilla, ninebark, spirea, and boxwood will fill your buckets with greenery all season long. However, the most productive fillers are not shrubs. Instead, they are annuals grown from seed. Some of these fillers can double as foliage, but they all fit the important role of adding sparkle, intrigue, and character to a bouquet. 

Fillers That Double as Foliage

Bupleurum (Bupleurum rotundifolium): Bupleurum has gorgeous yellow-lime green flowers on long, wiry stems. The leaves are oval shaped and blue-green in color. It’s best to succession sow bupleurum every 2 weeks for a steady supply of blooms. Harvest when the flowers are fully open. 

Best fillers for a cut flower garden longfield gardens

Honeywort (Cerinthe major purpurascens): Honeywort has drooping purple flowers complemented by succulent gray-green foliage. Harvest honeywort in the coolest part of the day when bracts darken to blue and the flowers are purple. The stems are quite floppy after harvest, so use Quick Dip to prevent wilting. 

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis): Bells of Ireland produces bright green bell-shaped calyxes centered with tiny, white blooms. These blooms have a lovely, sour-apple scent that adds freshness to an arrangement. Harvest when the flowers are half open and green. 

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Filler Flowers

Starflower (Scabiosa stellata):  Starflower is primarily grown for its papery seed pods. However, it does produce small white blossoms that the bees adore. These flowers transform into decorative, bronze-colored seed heads that are useful for both fresh and dried arranging. Harvest starflower when the seed heads are light green with dark-bronze edges. 

Best Fillers for a Cut Flower Garden Longfield Gardens

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): Feverfew is a well-branched plant with white or yellow flowers on long, strong stems. Generally, it’s considered a short-lived perennial in Zones 5–9. However, when grown for cutting it is usually sown as an annual. Harvest feverfew when the flower clusters are three-quarters open.

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow is a long-lasting perennial with flat-topped flower heads. It comes in shades of red, rust, beige, rose, yellow, apricot, and white. The plants have fern-like foliage, and each stem can last up to two weeks in the vase.  As an added benefit, yarrow attracts and supports beneficial insects such as damsel bugs, lacewings, lady beetles, and parasitic wasps. Harvest yarrow in the coolest part of the day when pollen is visible on the flowers. 

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Orlaya (Orlaya grandiflora): Orlaya has pure white lacy flowers on full, well-branched plants. The green star shaped seed pods formed after the flowers make a unique bouquet addition. Harvest orlaya when approximately 80% of the flowers in the umbel are open.  

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Dara (Daucus carota): Dara has gorgeous pink to dark purple umbels atop strong, upright stems. Each plant is highly productive, often producing 7–15 stems. Harvest Dara when the flowers are fully open and the umbels are flat or slightly domed. If you cut too soon, when the blossom is still cupped, the flower will wilt. For longest vase life, use Quick Dip post harvest.

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Saponaria (Vaccaria hispanica): Saponaira is easy to grow and produces loads of dainty pink or white flowers on tall stems. The naturally branching plant has gray-blue foliage that is elegant and waxy. Harvest Saponaria when 1-2 flowers on a spray are open. Favorite varieties are ‘Pink Beauty’ and ‘White Beauty’.

Best fillers for a cut flower garden longfield gardens

Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum): Jewels of Opar brings sparkle and pizzazz to a bouquet like no other flower. The plants produce bright pink blooms that quickly mature to shiny chocolate seed pods. The plants have mounding lime green foliage which is not long enough to function as foliage. Harvest Jewels of Opar when the stems turn dark red, and the majority of the flowers have matured into seed pods.  

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Ammi (Ammi Majus): Ammi explodes with a multitude of lacy white flower heads that are ideal for weddings. If you prefer colorful blooms, place the stems into a mixture of food coloring and water. In just a few hours the flowers will turn from white to a rainbow of hues! Harvest Ammi in the coolest part of the day when the flowers are fully open. 

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Nigella (Nigella damascena)Also known as love-in-a-mist, nigella can be used as a flower or seed pod. It comes in shades of true blue, mauve, pink, and white and sits atop lacy foliage. Harvest nigella flowers when fully open. For seed pods, harvest when the pods have begun to develop.  Favorite varieties are ‘Miss Jekyll Dark Blue’ and ‘Bridal Veil’.

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Bachelor’s Buttons (Centaurea cyanus): Bachelor’s buttons are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed and produce an abundance of blue, mauve, or pink blooms on tall thin stems. Harvest when flowers are half open. Favorite varieties are ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Black Button’.

Best fillers for a cut flower garden longfield gardens

Larkspur (Consolida ajacis): Larkspur is a gorgeous flower that looks similar to delphinium but is lightyears easier to grow. The lovely single or double blooms come in varying shades pink, purple and white. Harvest larkspur when 1/3 of the florets on a stem are open. Favorite varieties are ‘Fancy Smoky Eyes’ and ‘Imperial Blue’.

Best filler for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Annual Bee Balm ‘Lambada’ (Monarda hybrida): This striking plant has pinky-purple flowers on grey green foliage that smells like earl grey tea. ‘Lambada’ is an annual monarda that does not succumb to powdery mildew like perennial monardas.  Harvest when the flower whorls turn purple and use Quick Dip to prevent wilting.  

Best fillers for a cut flower garden Longfield Gardens

Almost Anything Can Be a Filler Flower

When making a list of the best fillers for a cut flower garden it’s hard to know where to stop. Rather than write a mile long list, I would instead encourage you to seek out the fillers that bring you joy and spark your personal creativity. After all, even “weeds” can provide beautiful texture and movement to a bouquet. Grow and gather filler flowers that you love in all shapes and sizes. Your bouquets will sing a grander song because of it.