Dreaming of vases full of fresh flowers? Then it’s time to plant a cut flower garden! It’s easy when you follow this simple three-step process: choose the right location, select a variety of flowers, and plan for proper care. Then get ready to fall in love with your beautiful and thriving garden full of gorgeous blooms that you can cut and enjoy in arrangements and bouquets.
First Step: Choose the right location
When selecting a location for your cut flower garden, it’s important to consider the amount of sunlight it will receive. Most cut flowers need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. You can gauge the amount of sun by keeping an eye on your possible locations as the day progresses. Once sundown hits you’ll have a good idea of how much sun every area gets. You’ll also want to choose a spot that is accessible so it’s easy to cut and arrange your flowers.
Step Two: Select a variety of flowers
To create a beautiful and diverse cut flower garden, choose a variety of flowers with different colors, shapes, and bloom times. This will allow you to have a range of flowers to choose from throughout the growing season. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the 13 best plants to start a cut flower garden. These flowers are all known for their long stems and vibrant, colorful petals. Making them perfect for use in a wide range of arrangements. Plus, they are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of different climates and soil types. So if you want to create a cut flower garden that will be the envy of your neighborhood, be sure to consider these amazing plants!
Zinnias are a summer essential with their bright and cheerful blooms in a range of colors. These easy-to-grow flowers are a great choice for beginning gardeners. They are reliable, prolific producers. To get the most out of your zinnias, consider pinching out the center flower bud when the plants are about 18 inches tall. This will encourage the development of longer stems. Harvest zinnias when the flowers are fully open. Use floral preservative in the water for a vase life of about a week.
Dahlias are a top pick for any cut flower garden. They grow quickly, come in a wide range of colors and versatile shapes that resemble daisies, peonies, and even water lilies. These beautiful plants are also highly productive. They’re a great choice for both small and large flower gardens. When harvesting dahlias, be sure to pick them almost fully open but not overly ripe. Check the back of the flower head for firm, lush petals – if they are papery or dehydrated, the flowers are past their prime. Using floral preservative in the water will help extend the vase life of your dahlias.
These delicate flowers, also known as Papaver, are prized for their tissue paper-like petals and vibrant colors. They also have a fragrant citrusy aroma and are known for their long flowering period. Choose poppies for early spring blooms. When harvesting Iceland poppies, be sure to cut them as soon as the bud starts to open for the best vase life.
Peonies are known as the queen of spring flowers, and it’s easy to see why. These elegant blooms come in a wide range of colors and many varieties have a sweet fragrance. They are also long-lasting when cut and easy to grow and maintain. For the best vase life, harvest peonies while they are still in bud, aiming for the “soft marshmallow” stage. Be sure to leave at least two sets of leaves on the stem when harvesting. This way the plant can continue to grow and store food.
Monarda, also known as bee balm, is another great choice for a cut flower garden. It is also a very productive plant, producing an impressive amount of volume even from small plantings. Monarda is notable for its unusual coloring, with a mix of green, gray, and soft purple, and its whorl-shaped blooms make it a useful filler plant. These flowers are prone to wilting in the heat, so harvest in the cool of the morning or evening and place them in water to rest before arranging.
Lilies are a classic choice for any cut flower garden due to their long-lasting blooms and deep, vibrant colors. To get the most out of your lilies, pick them when the buds are colored, and the bottom flower is just beginning to open. Be sure to remove the pollen anthers as soon as the flowers open to prevent staining. Using floral preservative in the water will help the petals retain their color from bud to full bloom and extend the vase life of your lilies.
Delphiniums are a regal choice for any cut flower garden, with their large flower heads and wide range of colors. These low-maintenance cottage garden staples are perfect for adding a pop of blue or purple to any arrangement. For the best vase life, harvest delphiniums when one-fourth to one-third of the flowers on a stem are open and use floral preservative in the water to extend their lifespan to 6-8 days.
Roses are a classic choice for any cut flower garden, but their delicate beauty can be fleeting. To maximize their vase life, harvest roses when they are only about a third of the way open and use floral preservative in the water. For single-petaled varieties, pick them in colored bud before they have opened and been pollinated. Depending on the cultivar and stage of harvest, you can expect 3-6 days of vase life for roses.
Snapdragons are a reliable and productive choice for a cut flower garden, with their long-stemmed, cut-and-come-again flowers that bloom for many months each summer. To increase the number of blooms from your plants, consider pinching off the tips when the plants have 5 sets of true leaves, leaving 3 sets behind. This will encourage the plants to branch and produce more flowers. To maximize their vase life, harvest snapdragons when just the bottom 2 or 3 flowers are open and use floral preservative in the water for a lifespan of 7-10 days.
Gomphrena, or globe amaranth, is a late-summer favorite with its adorable, button-like blooms that resemble clover blossoms and look great in bouquets. These heat-loving plants are naturally branching, so no pinching is required. Gomphrena is known for its long vase life, with freshly harvested flowers lasting up to 2 weeks without preservative.
Marigolds are tough and abundant flowering plants, known for producing 15-20 blooms per plant. To get the most out of your marigolds, consider pinching them when they are about 6 inches tall. These sturdy flowers are great for mixed bouquets and can last for 7-10 days in the vase with floral preservative.
Yarrow is another great choice for a cut flower garden, with its stunning range of colors and flat-topped flower heads. This drought-tolerant plant is easy to grow in full sun and can be spaced about 18 inches apart. To get the most out of your yarrow, harvest when 80% of the flowers are open on a stem and use floral preservative in the water for a vase life of about a week.
Sunflowers are a popular choice for cut flower gardens due to their easy growth and abundant blooms. They thrive in the hot summer and early autumn months and require minimal care to thrive. To ensure a continuous harvest, consider sowing successive plantings of sunflowers every 7 to 10 days during the spring and early summer. When choosing varieties for your cut flower garden, it’s important to look for pollenless types. To get the longest vase life from your sunflowers, harvest them as soon as the first petals begin to unfurl. When cutting the stems, be sure to strip off the bottom three-fourths of the leaves. No flower preservative is needed.
Step Three: Plan for proper care:
Step Three: Plan for proper care:
Cut flowers will require regular watering, fertilizing, and deadheading (removing spent blooms) to thrive. Plan for how you will ensure that your flowers receive the care they need and stick to it to keep your garden looking its best.
Weeding may not be the most enjoyable gardening task, but it’s essential for maintaining a healthy and attractive garden. If you don’t stay on top of weeds, they’ll quickly take over and turn your garden into an unsightly mess. To avoid this, be sure to weed regularly, particularly during the summer when weeds tend to grow quickly. For a list of must have gardening tools to help you keep up with weeding, refer to this article.
By choosing the right location, selecting a variety of flowers, and planning for proper care, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and thriving garden full of gorgeous blooms that you can cut and enjoy in arrangements and bouquets.