Sunflowers are essential additions to cutting gardens, providing a stunning variety of colors, shapes and sizes in their array. Furthermore, sunflowers are easy to cultivate; boasting long stems that hold up well under water conditions.
Consider planting in raised beds to gain better control of soil quality and health for happier plants with longer vase lives. Be sure to keep all tools, vases and pails clean so as to prevent bacteria spreading and shortening flower lifespan.
Choose a Location
Cutting gardens differ from decorative flowerbeds by being more practical in terms of production and harvest. As Benzakein notes, a cutting garden should be placed in an area with plenty of sun exposure and rich soil conditions for maximum benefit.
She suggests planting cut flower gardens in rows because this makes weeding, staking and picking easier. Furthermore, rows can provide support for taller varieties like delphiniums and dahlias that need support or those which benefit from grow-through netting (such as cosmos and sweet peas).
Evaluate your site for sunlight availability; most cut flowers need full sun, though shade-loving plants can add interest and diversity to a garden. Wind can damage young seedlings and deprive plants of needed water; to ensure maximum success add organic matter or slow-release organic fertilizer each spring in order to retain soil moisture levels and ensure top-quality blooms.
Plan Your Beds
Cut flower gardens are an effective way to add natural beauty into the home while simultaneously attracting bees, birds and other forms of wildlife – from bees and other pollinators to birds and small creatures!
When planting your cutting flower patch, the most efficient approach is to plan two or more long linear beds that are easy to access for harvesting and maintenance. This uniform formation makes it much simpler to identify and remove any weeds or pests from the beds.
Assess your space to assess lighting availability as most cut arrangements require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day for best results. Remove any obstructions such as trees or buildings which could prevent your flowers from receiving enough sun for their wellbeing.
Planted spring blooming bulbs and perennials that bloom steadily through summer is key for creating stunning fall and winter bouquets. Be sure to include plants that can be cut back for repeated bouquets!
Prepare the Soil
Cutting gardens are much simpler to keep up than their typical flower bed counterparts, since you don’t need a high-profile location for harvesting and picking. Most flowers prefer full sun but there are still “cuttables” that thrive even in partial shade conditions. To make picking easier, plants should be planted in wide rows so you can reach each one without trampling over other flowers or reaching over taller blooms.
As with any garden, cut flower gardens require fertile and well-draining soil that’s free from weeds. Organic mulch (such as leaves or hay) helps prevent weeds while adding vital moisture retention properties and nutrients back into the soil – aim for 3-4 inch layers that can be added as necessary throughout summer.
Plant the Flowers
For hassle-free maintenance, create a cut flower garden within your vegetable or ornamental beds – that way, you’ll have full control of soil health and plant wellness.
Make sure to space plants correctly. Taller flowers should be planted at the back, followed by shorter plants in the center and smaller ones at the front. Some blooms require staking such as dahlias and delphiniums while sweet peas and climbing nasturtiums can benefit from netting; read through seed catalog descriptions or flower tags carefully in order to assess these requirements.
Given that not all flowers bloom at once, stagger plantings of various colors to ensure you have a steady supply throughout the season. Always use a clean cutting tool to avoid spreading bacteria that could hasten stem rot. Once cut, submerge flowers in clean water mixed with flower preservative and allow them to rehydrate for one hour before arranging them into arrangements.