6 Shrubs for Spring Cut Flowers

Spring makes me feel like I’m in a Disney movie. Like I could throw open the windows and lean out to sweep up a bouquet of flowers from the garden below. If thinking of spring brings a similar image to your mind, make the most of it with these six shrubs! They are perfect for tucking into your regular garden or adding to your cut flower space to make it a bit more robust. While these flowers won’t simply fall into your arms without a snip as they might in a cartoon movie, they are super easy to grow and even easier to fit into an arrangement.

Tip: When you go out to gather flowers:
1 – Try not to cut into branches that are thicker than a pencil.
2 – Make a cut that leaves the smallest wound on the plant as possible. Essentially, don’t cut at an extreme angle. After you’ve taken the stem off the branch, you can cut it at an angle to help it take up more water.
3 – Put stems immediately into water. 

Forsythia

A cheerful must have for yellow-lovers. In early spring, its branches are completely covered in flowers. This is well before the leaves come along, so the show is truly high impact. These stems make a great centerpiece alone and look handsome in groups amongst fillers and other spring flowers. In later seasons, forsythia foliage can be used as filler, but do so only if you have plenty of branches to spare for the following spring.

INFO: These plants bloom on old wood, so it’s good to be choosy about what you cut.

Syringa

Big, luscious flowers filled with fragrance and detail. Lilacs are ideal for the gardener who wants to make new memories and relive ones from the past. There’s something about the scent and the luxuriousness of the blooms that makes the time you spend around them feel slower or more special, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Imagine setting a bouquet of Scentara Pura lilac flowers in your entryway table and the way it would make guests feel when they arrive.

INFO: The Bloomerang® series grows flowers on both old and new wood, so you’ll get flowers in the spring and again later in the summer. Most lilacs only bloom on old wood, so be sure to scatter your cuts across the whole shrub, so it doesn’t develop a noticeable hole.

Philadelphus coronarius

If fragrance is your number one priority, you need some mock orange in your life. The scent is a mix of jasmine and citrus, and it is powerful but not in a nauseating way. The flowers themselves are pretty as a picture. Later on in the season, the foliage from the Illuminati® series of mock orange makes great filler, as it is thicker and more robust than typical options.

INFO: Mock oranges bloom on old wood. So be choosy with your cuts and spread them around the plant. For the very upright or weeping options, either cut the entire branch off or accept that your plant will grow multiple new branches from the cut point. 

Chaenomeles speciosa

Like a mix between a rose and a redbud. The flowers are rose-like and they grow right along the branch, just like a redbud’s flowers do. Their stems are usually quite long and often forked, giving any arrangement a whimsical look. All quinces in the Double Take® series are thornless, so you don’t have to worry about getting poked while you are trying to arrange your flowers.

INFO: Quince bloom on old wood. So be choosy with your cuts and spread them around the plant.

Viburnum

With so many blooms, you won’t notice the difference if you take some for a cut flower arrangement. Plus, if you choose Steady Eddy, it reblooms! So you’ll get another wave of beautiful lace cap flowers to enjoy in the summertime. The thick, deep green foliage of a viburnum looks lovely in a vase and is quite long-lasting.

INFO: Most viburnum bloom primarily on old wood. So be choosy with your cuts and spread them around the plant. 

Calycanthus

Check out:
Simply Scentsational®
‘Aphrodite’ – for summer

Velvety, thick petals and a dramatic burgundy coloring give sweetshrub a unique spot in your spring cut flower lineup. These qualities add depth and interest to any arrangement and look especially lovely with white flowers or in a primary color scheme with yellow and blue. Flowers are very long lasting and depending on your nose, can smell like bubblegum, strawberries, or maybe nothing!

INFO: Both of our sweetshrubs bloom on both old and new wood.

Comments (12)

  1. Gary Frost

    I have tried to grow Forsythia, but I live in the woods, the color does not come out strong and bold. Will the 6 shrubs act the same for me? I plated shrubs on the border line of woods and open area around my home. Zone 5 north west Indiana

    • Kristina Howley

      A lot of spring flowering shrubs really enjoy full sun. So maybe you could try something that would do alright in part sun (only needing 4 hours of direct light to thrive). Try a mock orange, a viburnum, or a sweetshrub.

  2. Rosilie Johnson

    Could you send me a list of flowering shrubs that would thrive in a zone three Manitoba climate?

  3. Marian Stokes

    Do these shrubs have specific fertilizer requirements to maximize blooming? Thx

    • Kristina Howley

      You can apply any brand of granular fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs. I’d recommend applying it once the soil is workable in the springtime. That will help give them a boost!

  4. Jeannine M Kuntz

    I have tried to cut lilac and bring it inside, but it wilts very quickly. Is there a secret to keep it from wilting?

    • Stacey

      Lilacs have a pithy core running up the center of their stem, and some plants that have this are difficult to hydrate. It helps quite a bit if you take your pruners and make two cuts in an “x” shape up into the stem about an inch or so. This exposes more of the cambium surface so they can rehydrate more successfully. It’s also a good idea to use warm water, and to cut the stems in the morning, before it gets too hot and sunny. Finally, only keep the leaves you need for your arrangement – extra foliage just loses more water and increases wilting.

  5. Mim Wedel

    I know I’m asking a lot but Can you suggest 4-5 ‘ shrubs that dont require pruning & that need full sun & attract birds & butterfly’s zone 6. Mid Kansas

  6. Vickie Anderson

    Can I pot a Mock Orange on my deck with 4 hours of sun?

    • Stacey

      Yes, that should work just fine, provided you don’t live in a very hot climate. Mock oranges are only heat tolerant through about USDA zone 7.

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Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.

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