GROW YOUR OWN CUTTING GARDEN: SUCCESS FROM SEED TO VASE
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Have you ever wanted to try growing cut flowers… but didn’t know where to begin?
You’re not alone! Many people have asked me to share ideas about easy to grow cut flowers.
I’ll be the first to admit that growing flowers is not nearly as easy as it looks, but these flowers listed below will likely thrive and provide you with some beautiful blooms, even if you are a complete beginner.
After growing nearly a hundred different flower varieties in our u-pick flower garden, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few to get you started.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you’ll likely want to branch out later and grow more varieties… but this is a great start!
The flowers on this list were chosen because:
- They can be Direct Sown. This means you can simply plant the seeds in your garden, water them and they will grow. No need to start them indoors first or purchase transplants.
- They are annuals, meaning they will grow from seed to bloom in one season.
- The seeds are inexpensive.
- The plants will produce flowers for many weeks, unlike some annuals, many perennials or flowers grown from bulbs.
All of these flowers can be Direct Sown into your garden after the threat of a spring frost is over. Don’t know when your Average Last Spring Frost is? Simply Google “average last spring frost ______________” and insert the name of your town.
Not sure where to find cut flower seeds? Check out my helpful post HERE.
Want to get serious about growing your own Backyard Cutting Garden? Check out my Online Course HERE.
Cosmos are by far one of my favorite flowers. The blooms are ridiculously romantic and endearing. They prefer to be Direct Sown and will provide you with weeks and weeks of blooms from just one planting. The more you cut them, the more they produce, so be sure to cut deep into the plant.
Cosmos are beautiful in mixed bouquets or in bunches all by themselves. They add whimsy, air and movement to mixed bouquets and I like to include them in almost every arrangement.
They come in a wide variety of pink, white, burgundy and even pale yellow. Some have single rows of petals, while others are lush and ruffled.
You can also use the lacy Cosmos foliage (leaves) as greenery for your bouquets.
Helpful Hint: Harvest stems/sprays of flowers right as they are beginning to break out of the bud stage (when you can just see the petals starting to unfurl). If harvested at this stage, you can expect 5-7 days of vase life. If harvested after the flowers are fully open, you’ll only get 2-3 days of vase life.
- “Double Click” series (white, pink, bicolor pink, cranberry, etc.)
Everyone seems to love Zinnias! Their bright cheery colors seem to scream “Summer!” and they are easy to grow.
Zinnias prefer to be Direct Sown. They grow quickly and like Cosmos, the more you cut them, the more they produce, so don’t be afraid to cut deep into the plant. Deep cuts signal the plant to produce even more flowers!
Depending on where you live, Zinnias can succumb to Powdery Mildew during stretches of hot humid weather. Try planting seeds every few weeks to extend your growing season and remove diseased plants.
Helpful Hint: Cut Zinnias after they are fully open. Zinnias are considered to be a “Dirty Flower”, meaning they muck up the vase water quickly. Be sure to change the water or daily or add one drop of bleach to the water.
- Oklahoma Series (white, salmon, etc.)
- Queen Series (Queen Lime, Queen Red Lime, etc.)
- Uproar Rose
Sunflowers might just be the epitome of summer! Their bright cheery faces never fail to lift our spirits.
They also happen to be very easy to grow and they love to be Direct Sown. Unfortunately, many animals also like to eat sunflower seeds, so you may need to cover the planting area with a sheet or netting to save your seeds from birds and squirrels until the plants have germinated and established.
Sunflowers come in 2 categories: Branching (plant seeds 18” apart) or Single Stem (plant seeds 4” apart).
Branching will give you multiple blooms over a week or two. Single stems only produce 1 flower.
Direct Sow sunflowers starting at your average last spring frost date and continue planting them every 2 weeks until mid summer to have a constant supply of blooms.
Helpful Hint: Harvest sunflowers when just 1 or 2 petals have started to lift/unfurl. The flower will continue to open in the vase and give you nearly a week of vase life. If cut when fully open, only expect a few days in the vase.
- Starburst Panache (Branching)
- Autumn Beauty (Branching)
- Strawberry Blonde or Strawberry Lemonade (Branching)
- ProCut Orange (Single Stem)
Dill??? As a cut flower? Yes!
Dill is beautiful, whimsical, fragrant and easy to grow. It provides a much needed lacy, airy looking filler for bouquets, as well as adding gorgeous greenery.
Direct Sowing in the best method for growing dill. To have a constant supply, simply sprinkle seeds in your garden every few weeks.
Helpful Hint: Harvest dill heads after they have shed the tiny yellow flowers and formed the green seeds, but before the seeds begin to turn brown. If harvested before the seeds have formed, it will wilt.
CALENDULA (POT MARIGOLD)
Calendula won’t earn any awards for being the flashiest flower out there, but it is reliably productive! Plant it once, and you’ll have an entire summer’s worth of pretty yellow and orange blooms.
Calendula is actually quite frost hardy, so it can be planted earlier than your average last spring frost date… and you might find it blooms several weeks after you first hard fall frost. Calendula blooms longer than any other flower on our farm.
As a bonus, Calendula petals are edible (sprinkle on your salad for fun color!) and also are used in many herbal salves and teas.
Helpful Hint: Harvest when flowers are half way open. For edible or medicinal use, wait until flower is fully open, then pull off petals (do not use/ingest other parts of the plant, just the petals).
- “Princess Mix”
There you have it! 5 easy to grow flowers that are sure to delight.
All of these flowers can easily be incorporated into an existing vegetable garden, if you have the room for them! You might even notice your vegetable garden becomes more productive because of the increased pollination from bees and other pollinators! It’s a win/win situation.
Best wishes and happy planting!
READY FOR MORE?
If you’re serious about growing the garden of your dreams this year, register for my online course, “Backyard Cutting Garden 101”. You’ll find everything you need to plan, grow, harvest and arrange your stunning blooms. I can’t WAIT to help you grow! Click on the button below for all the details.LEARN MORE19 Likes Share
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Emily Klopfenstein 3 months ago · 0 Likes
I am sorry to ask a question as such a busy time of year for you. I have some “vacant” space in a little vegetable garden I have and realized that it’d be a nice place to grow one or two of the 5 recommended flowers. The area is to the back since my garden is against a backyard garage so it isn’t sunny all day (sun is in the afternoon). Would it still work to try sunflowers there? Thank you for any info.
Lori Hernandez 3 months ago · 0 Likes
Emily, there’s only one way to find out! Do an experiment this year and see what happens 🙂
Courtney A year ago · 0 Likes
I would like to do this but we really don’t have a place to do this. Can you recommend a container? Thank you!
Lori Hernandez A year ago · 0 Likes
I’ve never tried them in pots, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! Or have you seen people who have turned stock tanks into garden beds? Whatever you choose, try to get the largest pot/container you can, as they tend to dry out pretty quickly.
Rhonda Seelhammer 2 years ago · 0 Likes
Really appreciate your insight! Do you use landscape fabric for your flower beds? Or walking paths? Is it necessary for a cut flower farm? Just putting it altogether in my head☺️Thank you!
Lori Hernandez 2 years ago · 0 Likes
There are so many different options! For our u-pick flower garden, we built raised beds and the pathways are all grass that we mow. Each raised bed has landscape fabric covering all the soil, with holes burned into the fabric for the plants to grow in.
We do this simply to reduce weed pressure… any time you have bare soil, it’s an invitation for weeds to take over.
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