When it comes to arranging flowers, filler flowers are essential. These small, often unassuming blooms can add color and texture to an arrangement without taking away the focus from the main, or focal, flower. And while there are many types of filler flowers available, green filler flowers are a particularly good option for home gardeners.
Green is such a versatile color that it can complement almost any other hue, and it’s perfect for arrangements that you will display indoors. They are also versatile in the garden since they can be planted in large numbers of small spaces and add color, texture, and variety to your flowerbeds.
Before you decide that smaller filler flowers aren’t worth the space in your garden, keep in mind that professional flower farmers such as Floret advise gardeners to dedicate 50% of a bouquet to filler flowers and foliage.
Although I’m including both foliage and filler flowers in this list, if you want to know more about how flower farmers and florists classify each type of plant, you can check that out here in this article, What’s The Difference Between Foliage & Filler For Bouquets?
A bouquet can look relatively sparse or too top-heavy without any filler flowers when packed with large blooms such as dahlias, sunflowers, or giant zinnias. Filler flowers help to round out an arrangement and give it a fuller, more polished look
So be sure to set aside some space to grow these multipurpose flowers to have them on hand for fresh bouquets.
If you’re ready to add some green filler flowers to your garden, here are seven great options to consider:
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1. Bells of Ireland
Bells of Ireland is an annual plant that produces tall, cylindrical flower stalks. The blooms themselves are small and green and shaped like open cups along the length of the stem.
The seeds need to be chilled before sowing, so either chill them in the fridge for two weeks before sowing or try winter sowing them outside.
Some flower gardeners have luck with putting the seeds in a damp paper towel in a baggie, then put the baggie in the fridge for a couple of weeks until the seeds sprout. Once most of the seeds have germinated, you can gently transfer the seeds to seed starting tray where they’ll continue to grow.
Basil is a tender annual herb that’s most often used in cooking. But it also makes a beautiful, easy-to-grow filler flower. The small, dainty flowers range in color from white to purple and make great additions to bouquets and other arrangements.
Mrs. Burns Lemon is one of the most popular varieties for filler flowers, as is Cardinal basil. If you only have a pot of standard culinary basil like Genovese, that will work, too. Just be sure to heed the following harvesting advice.
When you harvest basil for cooking, you pick the tender stems and leaves. When you harvest basil as a cut flower, on the other hand, you want to cut the center stems that are woody, so they hold up better in the vase. Otherwise, the basil stems will quickly wilt.
Mint is a perennial herb known for its strong, refreshing scent. But it also has beautiful, small lavender or white flowers that make excellent fillers in bouquets and arrangements.
It’s easy to start from seed, though the tiny seeds can take a while to germinate and put on any size. If you don’t want to wait, you can almost always find mint in the garden center or nursery.
Remember that mint can be quite invasive, so it’s best to grow it in containers rather than planting it directly in the soil. Although, if you enjoy it as a filler flower, its invasiveness might not be a problem! I have some popping up in the grass outside my raised bed, but I don’t mind!
Zinnias are available in just about every shade of the rainbow, including green. These flowers are some of the most popular to grow in a flower garden, as the plants produce loads of blooms as a cut and come again flower. Each time you cut a stem, the plant replaces it with a new one that will create a bud in just a week or two.
Zinnias are also wonderful for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies, so they add a wildlife element to your garden.
Zinnias are easy to grow from seed, and they thrive in warm weather. If you live in a colder climate, you can start zinnia seeds indoors easily and plant them out when the weather warms up. Stick to Envy, Queen Lime, or Benary’s Giant Lime for green flowers.
This filler flower is less common, but it’s worth picking up a packet of seeds and trying it. Similar to bells of Ireland, the entire plant is green, with yellow-green flowers blooming at the end of bright green stems.
Bupleurum is a one-and-done flower, meaning that once you cut a stem for your bouquets, the plant won’t produce any more blooms. If you want a continuous harvest, stagger your planting dates, so you don’t run out after the first picking.
You can sow seeds directly in the garden in very early spring, or start them indoors a month or so before you want to transplant them. In both scenarios, be sure to cover the soil because bupleurum seeds need darkness to germinate.
You can cover your garden bed with a sheet of plywood or a thick blanket. For seeds started indoors, try covering the flats with cardboard or something like a cookie sheet to block the light.
Check on the seeds to keep them moist, but don’t expect to see anything for the first two weeks. Once you do, uncover them and put them under lights, or for direct sown plants, let the sun do its job.
Also known as honeywort or shrimp plant, cerinthe is an interesting flower for any garden, let alone a filler flower for bouquets. Medium-height stems curve gracefully and are tipped with blue-purple flowers that fade into the green foliage. The purple is not overpowering, and cerinthe is very useful as a green filler flower.
Like many other flowers on this list, cerinthe can be started from seed about a month before the last frost date, or you can plant it directly in the garden. If you’re working with a flower garden in part shade, cerinthe is an excellent option.
Once the plants are blooming after about ten weeks, enjoy the drooping stems in bouquets. Be sure to leave a few blooms in the garden for hummingbirds and bees to enjoy, too!
7. Sweet Annie
This green annual will provide you with sprays of ferny foliage and dainty, cream-yellow flowers. Sweet Annie is easy to grow from seed, though it takes about 120 days to bloom, so it’ll require some patience to nurture it before you can harvest anything from it.
You can start Sweet Annie indoors and transplant it out after the risk of frost, or you can sow it directly in the garden in the spring. Don’t let this lady go to seed, or you might find this filler flower becoming a weed that you have to remove from unwanted areas.
Now choose your filler flowers
Experiment with a few different filler flowers from this list to determine which ones work best for your growing conditions and that you enjoy the most in flower arrangements. Doing so will add variety to your garden, and you’ll be able to enjoy different colors and textures throughout the growing season.
Read more about all the things to keep in mind when planning a cut flower garden (including what else to plant besides filler flowers) in this article, How To Plan A Cut Flower Garden: Beginner’s Guide.