Thirteen single-stem and 16 branching sunflower (Helianthus annuus) cultivars were evaluated in field trials at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona for cut flower production. The objective of this study was to assess the production potential of field-grown, pollen-free sunflowers in the Mississippi environment. The stem length, stem diameter, and bloom diameter of the sunflower cultivars were assessed over six planting dates during the summer growing season to determine cultivar market potential. All the single-stem cultivars produced stem diameters greater than 1.4 cm and were too large for general florist usage. The stems and flowers of the branching cultivars were smaller than the single-stem cultivars, and were a better size for many floral arrangements. The yield of stems from the branching cultivars ranged from three to 13 stems per plant over six planting dates. In the branching group, the dark-flowered cultivars produced the greatest number and the longest stems in the trial. Yellow/gold-flowered branching sunflowers in this trial did not produce as many stems and the stem lengths were shorter compared to the dark-flowered sunflowers.
Rose (Rosa) cultivars from two breeders, Meilland Star and W. Kordes Söhne, were planted in field beds at Verona, Mississippi, to evaluate cut flower production potential. Seventeen cultivars of an outdoor cut flower series of roses from W. Kordes Söhne and nine cultivars of the Romantica series from Meilland Star were planted in adjacent field beds. The number of stems produced per plant and stem length were measured to assess the field production potential of cut flower stems in Mississippi. Based on 2 years of assessment, the best performing W. Kordes Söhne roses were ‘Fantasia Mondiale’, ‘Masquerade’, and ‘Pinguin’, averaging three to 12 stems/plant per month that were at least 30 cm long, and the best Meilland Star cultivars for outdoor cut flower production were ‘Frederic Mistral’, ‘Michelangelo’, ‘The McCartney Rose’, and ‘Traviata’, averaging three to 20 stems/plant per month that were at least 30 cm long. These cultivars performed well during the heat of the Mississippi summer.