Drought Tolerant Cutting Flowers

Drought Tolerant Cutting Flowers

Drought Tolerant Cutting Flowers

Tending to the flowers in my garden, harvesting them and creating floral arrangements brings me so much joy. Many of the flowers sold in stores are grown using large inputs of water, fertilizer and pesticides, and travel great distances via fossil fuels. Growing flowers in our own home and community gardens allows us to select varieties that do well in our climate without lots of added input. We can care for these flowers using organic methods and bring them into our homes and as gifts to friends with little transportation costs. We can also leave some for the butterflies, birds and bees to enjoy as well.

2 colorful flower arrangements sit outside on green foliage next to a platter of fruit
Drought tolerant cutting flowers add color and draw in pollinators to an edible garden.

Adding flowers to an edible garden creates a more diverse habitat and helps attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Here are some of my picks for a drought tolerant cutting flower garden in California and beyond: 

A blooming lavender plant next to golden poppies

Lavender looks great with Golden Poppies

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and hybrids) is an excellent perennial cutting flower. It smells great, bees love it and it’s great dried or in fresh arrangements. Many species and varieties of lavender are available, when you plant more than one variety you add diversity and extend your bloom time. Lavenders like good drainage and full sun. Culinary varieties can be used to add flavor to food and drinks.

Light pink yarrow flowers

Yarrow comes in many colors

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium and hybrids) has fragrant fern-like foliage that makes a great groundcover and a history of medicinal uses. Many colors are available, such as white, yellow, pink, lavender and orange. The umbel-like flowers are great for attracting butterflies. Ladybugs are often found in their foliage. Yarrow grows in full to part-sun. Use in fresh or dried arrangements.

Green and red leucadendron foliage

Leucadendron foliage is great greenery for bouquets

Conebush (Leucadendron spp.) has unique foliage that is great for filling out a bouquet. It adds a tropical feel while still being very drought tolerant and very long-lasting. Varieties come in mixes of green, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple. Most varieties grow as a small to medium shrub and like full sun and well-drained soil.

Pink and orange pincushion protea blooms

Pincushion proteas come in many stunning sunset colors

Pincushion Protea (Leucospermum spp.) is another South African small shrub (like Leucadendron). It has visually stunning flowers that can be the star of your arrangement. Flowers come in shades of the sunset from yellow to orange, pink and red. Full sun and well-drained soil suit it well.

Blue sea holly flower spikes bloom next to pink pelargonium flowers

Eryngium adds great texture to flower arrangements

Sea Holly (Eryngium planum) is a thistle-like flower that is great dried or added to fresh arrangements for pops of texture. It needs very little water and grows best in full sun.

Yellow and green variegated scented geranium foliage with pink flowers

Lemon-scented variegated pelargonium adds visual and olfactory elements to a bouquet

Scented Geranium (Pelargonium spp.) has fabulous scented foliage that varies from rose to lemon to even apricot – depending on the cultivar. It is great for filling out a bouquet and it also has cute pink, purple or red little flowers. These plants are evergreen in mild climates and attract lots of beneficial insects.

Cream-colored heuchera flower spikes fill out this Lenten Rose bouquet

Heuchera flower spikes fill out this Lenten Rose bouquet nicely

Alum Root (Heuchera maxima) is a great California native perennial for light shade or part-sun. Lovely spikes of cream to light pink flowers appear in the spring and early summer. Hummingbirds love these flowers and they add great texture to bouquets.

Clarkia blooming in many shades of pink

Many shades of pink and white clarkias signal the transition to summer

Godetia aka Farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena) are California native annuals that have gorgeous flowers in shades of white and pink. Clarkias will often reseed themselves where they are planted and you can save their seeds to spread around.

Pink and white clarkias and dianthus, purple bachelor buttons and white yarrow bouquet in a blue glass jar

Clarkia, yarrow, dianthus and bachelor button arrangement

This is just a small sample of the many drought tolerant cutting flowers that can be grown in California and similar Mediterranean climates. 

Contact us for more drought resilient and low-water flower ideas!