Bloom Times: What Cut Flowers Grow When in Zone 3 | SHIFTING ROOTS

Bloom Times: What Cut Flowers Grow When in Zone 3

If you’re planning on growing your own flowers for a wedding, or other special occasion, you’ve probably been scouring garden plans, growing guides, and bloom time charts. But if you live in a cold climate with a short growing season like I do in zone 3, you’ve probably realized that most of what you find out there doesn’t quite work for you.

Or maybe you haven’t even gotten that far into your project yet, and you don’t even know what flowers bloom in June, or if you can have those peonies you love in an August wedding. (Spoiler, you can’t unless you cut them at a certain point in their growth and refrigerate them.)

So consider this your managing-expectations-of-what’s-possible post, before you start ordering seeds or getting your heart completely set on a flower that’s hard to grow or blooms at the wrong time.

If you prefer your content in video format, check out this YouTube video instead:

The Challenges of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers

When your flowers bloom is ultimately at the whims of Mother Nature and the weather that year–unless you’ve been growing cut flowers for years and are more of an advanced gardener.

But most brides I talk to aren’t–and that’s okay! You just need to know a few key things about growing flowers so you can make the best decision possible for you and your day.

I go over some of the challenges, like if you want to use perennial flowers, in this post on how to save money by growing your own wedding flowers.

You should also know that this list isn’t perfect! It’s a compilation of everything cut-flower-related that I’ve grown in the last three years and when it generally bloomed. I’ve taken a ridiculous amount of pictures of my garden, so I have photographic evidence of what tends to bloom when.

Now onto the flowers!

Late May

May can be a tricky month to get flowers in bloom for your wedding, as all of the options are perennials. So you either need to plan ahead and plant what you need in the fall, or know someone who has an established perennial garden and flowering trees. You’ll also likely have trouble sourcing any sort of filler flower, so plan to buy some baby’s breath or supplement with flowers from your florist or elsewhere.

  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Flowering fruit trees, such as apple or cherry

It might also be possible to start ranunculus or anemones early and have them bloom, but you’d need to order corms from a specialty grower and start them early. I’m still new to growing these flowers, so I can’t even tell you what timing you’d need to do for it to work.

Early-Mid June

The options are still a bit sparse, but you’ll have a few more options. Plan on sourcing out some filler flower. If you have access to an established perennial garden, you could have a lot of beautiful options to chose from.

  • Lilacs
  • Flowering bushes & fruit trees
  • Cosmos if started 8-7 weeks early
  • Ranunculus
  • Anemones
  • Clumping Bellflower
  • Peonies
  • Columbine
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Iris
  • Lupins
  • Yarrow

Late June

By late June the choices are opening up, and the first of the annual cut flowers from seed are starting to appear. If your heart is set on peonies, this is the time to plan your wedding if you live in zone three.

  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Roses
  • Allium
  • Ranunculus
  • Anemones
  • Clumping Bellflower
  • Peonies
  • Columbine
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Iris
  • Lupins
  • Yarrow
  • Veronica
  • Salvia

Early July

The summer blooming perennials are now either in full swing, or they are starting to break out. Annuals from seed are definitely on their way, and if you’re a more experienced gardener and willing to take some risks, you might even be able to succession sow some of the annuals so that you have more of a guarantee that their bloom time will line up with your wedding or special occasion.

  • Delphinium
  • Snapdragons
  • Maltese Cross
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Roses
  • Clumping Bellflower
  • Columbine
  • Lupins
  • Yarrow
  • Veronica
  • Salvia

Mid July

Your annual cut flower garden is springing to life at this point, and your options are good! Mid July is prime-time for Lilies, and all of those summer blooming perennials are at their peak.

  • Liatris
  • Feverfew
  • Stock
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Delphinium
  • Snapdragons
  • Maltese Cross
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Roses
  • Yarrow
  • Veronica
  • Salvia
  • Baby’s Breath

Late July

By late July your options are getting even better, as you might be able to start to pick from some of the blooms that spring to life in August–especially if it’s been a really warm summer. This week and the first week of August are when my cutting garden feels at its prime. You might also get a few early sunflowers, and possibly an early variety of dahlia in bloom at this point.

  • Liatris
  • Rudbeckia
  • Bee Balm
  • Feverfew
  • Stock
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Snapdragons
  • Maltese Cross
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Roses
  • Yarrow
  • Salvia
  • Baby’s breath

Early August

If you’re planning on growing your own flowers for your wedding, August if the month that gives you the most options that you have control over. Few perennials are blooming at this point in the season in zone 3, but the annuals are out of this world. If you need blue in your bouquets, I was able to grab the last few offshoots of my delphinium to make these yellow rudbeckia pop. (Bouquet pictured below)

  • Sunflower
  • Gladiolus
  • Goldenrod
  • Heliopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Brown Eyed Susans
  • Liatris
  • Rudbeckia
  • Bee Balm
  • Feverfew
  • Stock
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Snapdragons
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Poppies
  • Roses
  • Yarrow
  • Salvia
  • Baby’s breath

Mid August

In the middle of August, the flowers we associate with the end of the season are now just starting to bloom or in full swing. The world is the mid-August bride’s oyster flower-wise.

  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Craspedia
  • Gomphrena
  • Carnations
  • Sunflower
  • Gladiolus
  • Goldenrod
  • Heliopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Brown Eyed Susans
  • Liatris
  • Rudbeckia
  • Feverfew
  • Stock
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Snapdragons
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Roses
  • Yarrow
  • Baby’s breath
  • Poppy seed heads

Late August

Late August is the most gorgeous time in the garden, but it’s also when you need to be watching the weather for freezing temperatures every night. If there is a risk of frost, cover your flowers with old bedsheets or risk losing all your hard work.

Some flowers, like asters, any remaining snapdragons, and carnations will be fine. Others, like dahlias, cosmos, and zinnias will be ruined.

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Craspedia
  • Gomphrena
  • Carnations
  • Sunflower
  • Gladiolus
  • Goldenrod
  • Heliopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Brown Eyed Susans
  • Rudbeckia
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Snapdragons (later planting)
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Poppy seed heads

September

In zone 3 in September, it always feels like you’re living on borrowed time flower-wise. The first frost often happens the first week of September, followed by another close encounter somewhere around the 15th. The killing frost always happens by the end of the month. Growth will slow down significantly, even if the weather remains nice.

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Craspedia
  • Gomphrena
  • Carnations
  • Sunflower
  • Gladiolus
  • Goldenrod
  • Heliopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Brown Eyed Susans
  • Rudbeckia
  • Zinnias
  • Strawflowers
  • Snapdragons (later planting)
  • Celosia
  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Poppy seed heads

I hope you’ve found this post helpful in planning out your special day! If you need more help figuring out how to put everything together–planning out your cut flower garden, growing the flowers, and making gorgeous bouquets, Cut Flowers Made Simple and Bouquets Made Beautiful have got your back. They’re your easy and very visual guides to growing and arranging cut flowers that anyone can follow–and many people have with great results!

Grab both here

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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