Rose is the principal cut flower grown all over the country, even though in terms of total area, it may not be so. The larger percentage of the area in many states is used for growing scented rose, usually local varieties akin to the Gruss en Tepelitz, the old favourite to be sold as loose flowers. These are used for offerings at places of worship, for the extraction of essential oils and also used in garlands. For cut flower use, the old rose varieties like Queen Elizabeth, Super Star, Montezuma, Papa Meilland, Christian Dior, Eiffel Tower, Kiss of Fire, Golden Giant, Garde Henkel, First Prize etc. are still popular. In recent times, with production for export gaining ground in the country, the latest varieties like First Red, Grand Gala, Konfitti, Ravel, Tineke, Sacha, Prophyta, Pareo, Noblesse. Virsilia, Vivaldi etc. are also being grown commercially.
Gladiolus is the next most important cut flower crop in the country. Earlier it was considered a crop for temperate regions and its growing was restricted to the hilly areas, particularly in the north eastern region, which still continues to supply the planting material to most parts of the country. However, with improved agronomic techniques and better management, the northern plains of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, as well as Maharashtra and Karnataka have emerged as the major areas for production of gladiolus.
Tuberose, a very popular cut flower crop in India is grown mainly in the eastern part of the country i.e. West Bengal, and also in northern plains and parts of south. Both single and double flower varieties are equally popular. Tuberose flowers are also sold loose in some areas for preparing garlands and wreaths.
The other main cut flower item is orchid. Its production is restricted mainly in the north-eastern hill regions, besides parts of the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka. The main species grown are Dendrobiums, Vanda, Paphiopedilums, Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums.
Among the traditional crops grown for loose flowers, the largest area is under marigold, grown all over the country. In most parts of the country only local varieties are grown for generations. African marigolds occupy more area as compared to the small flowered French types. Jasmine flowers in view of its scent are also very popular as loose flowers and for use in garlands and Veni (ornament for decoration of hair by women). The major areas under this crop are in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka in South and West Bengal in East. The varieties are mainly improved clones of Jasminum grandiflorum, J. auriculatum and J. sambac. The chrysanthemum, particularly the white varieties are much in demand as loose flowers during the autumn period of October-December when other flowers like jasmine, tuberose are not available for use in garlands etc. Among other traditional flowers grown in large areas are crossandra in southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and aster in Maharashtra.