Cut flower gardens should be located in sunny spots with rich, well-draining soil. When planning the beds on paper, note their varieties and bloom times; include both focal flowers as well as fillers in this plan.
Purchase a mixture of perennials and annuals as well as foliage plants. Add fragrant herbs or flowers that dry well for arrangements.
Choose Your Site
Nothing beats a lush flowerbed of blooms for brightening a room or lifting someone’s spirits, but growing a cutting garden requires much more than simply planting beautiful blooms – it requires careful planning, proper conditions, and the commitment necessary for successful production.
First step to successful cut flower gardening is selecting an area. This could be either an entirely separate bed in your garden, or part of existing beds with ample sun and drainage. A cutting garden should ideally be located somewhere with full sunlight and good drainage – consider sketching existing beds on paper to note their height, color and bloom time for each plant; plan a mix of perennials, annuals and bulbs that have complementary hues that work well when combined in bouquets and arrangements.
Think about planting some varieties that can double as ornamental plants for your garden when they’re not producing flowers, like tulips and hyacinths, with their long-lasting blooms and beautiful appearance.
Prepare the Soil
Cut flower gardens can be an exciting and profitable addition to any landscape, offering year-round blooms for bouquets. Choose perennial varieties for more cost-efficient blooming; or invest in annual seeds and starts for new varieties each season.
Before planting cutting-flower seeds, ensure the growing area is free from weeds and work organic material such as compost or leaf mold into the soil to increase water retention and nutrient availability – two essential aspects for successful cutting flower production.
Staggering plants to meet their cultural requirements and mature height can help keep shorter flowers from being swallowed up by taller ones and making harvesting them harder. Furthermore, this technique allows you to have the greatest variety of blooms to cut – including fillers and “thrillers” that help add structure to arrangements. After harvesting flowers from each patch, store their stems hydrated by submerging them in cold water with preservative for one hour after removing from a bucket of cool water with preservative added.
Plant the Flowers
Do not place flowers randomly across existing beds; rather dedicate an area for the cut flower garden. This approach avoids depleting other parts of your garden while making it easier to find blooms for indoor arrangements. You can mix perennials and annuals together with shrubs, herbs, grasses and long-stemmed flowers of various colors, heights and bloom times for an attractive display.
Make sure that you group plants with similar cultural requirements together. For instance, when growing dahlias, plant them near other bulbs that bloom simultaneously. Also be mindful when placing vining plants like snapdragons or sweet peas near tall annuals like zinnias that might need stakes as they grow.
Keep in mind that certain flowers, particularly roses and daisy-like plants, typically last longer if harvested just prior to full opening. To prevent wilting, harvest early morning or late afternoon and bring the blooms indoors as soon as possible for rehydration in cool, clean water.
Harvest and Care
Once your cutting garden is up and running, be sure to maintain it by regularly weeding and watering it. Harvest a range of flowers throughout the season so that there will always be something fresh available to cut for cutting arrangements.
To ensure the longest vase life for your blooms, take care to regularly deadhead with sharp shears and trim stems so they stand upright in water. Furthermore, adding floral preservative to the bucket of water may extend their longevity even further.
As your goal in planting a cut flower garden is to produce blooms for bouquets, select annuals and perennials that will reach maturity at different points throughout the season. Group plants by their growing conditions – sun exposure, soil texture and water requirements. This will make it easier to provide these essential elements without accidentally over or under-watering similar needs plants; plus it allows you to avoid accidentally over or under-watering similar ones by grouping accordingly. Consider also whether any climbing plants such as nasturtiums or certain zinnia varieties require netting or trellis support from above.