Flowers create an exquisite centerpiece in any home, adding color and fragrance that are easy to care for and cut back regularly. For optimal vase life, select flowers with long stems that boast strong fragrance as these will be easier to trim down when pruning is necessary.
Louise Curley suggests grouping plants by their growing requirements such as sunlight and moisture levels, before planning for succession so you have fresh cuttings throughout the season.
Cut flower gardens should be planted in sunny spots with rich, well-drained soil that offers protection from gusty winds that could easily topple over heavy blooming plants. Zinnias and sunflowers often grow tall enough to require stakes; sweet peas and climbing nasturtiums require support with either netting or trellises for their continued growth.
Choose annuals with long blooming seasons and perennials with long-lasting color to fill in gaps in a cutting garden. Add foliage plants or “spiller” flowers for texture, height and wispiness in arrangements. A 3-by-4 foot bed usually provides enough space; larger beds would enable easier watering, weeding, harvesting and storage.
Plant an assortment of perennials and annual flowers with colorful foliage plants for maximum impact. Choose varieties that bloom throughout the season for fresh bouquets with different heights, colors, textures and scents.
Looking for a sunny location that receives at least six hours of sun each day is key to improving water retention and drainage in soil. Once found, amend it with organic matter for maximum water retention and drainage capabilities.
As cutting flowers can add color and depth to an existing perennial bed or border, you might consider including them within it or creating an entirely separate cutting garden. If this latter option appeals to you, consider planting rows crop-style and stagger each flower variety according to its bloom cycle – add annuals as fillers to extend picking season further.
Establishing a dedicated cut flower garden may take up valuable space in small gardens. One solution is to incorporate cutting gardens as part of existing borders, choosing flowers that look good in both borders and indoor arrangements.
When deciding on a site for your cut flower garden, select an area with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Certain flowers may require support such as tall annuals like sunflowers or climbing varieties of nasturtiums and sweet peas; it is also wise to create planting beds three to four feet wide so you can easily access all your flowers; follow recommended spacing on seed packets or plant descriptions when planting but first-time growers should reduce recommended spacing by around 30% for more success.
Utilizing a soil testing kit to analyze your garden’s soil quality is helpful, but most often amendment will be needed with compost or slow-release organic fertilizer to improve conditions and increase flowering.
Know that cut flowers only last a short time in their vase; however, perennials, bulbs and annuals may rebloom once spent blooms have been plucked off. Aim for a mix of long-stemmed blooms suited for tall vases as well as shorter stemmed options that look beautiful when placed in old teapots, Mason jars or crocks.
Planning ahead can save time and effort – especially if your area experiences windy conditions – by knowing which plants require support such as staking (dahlias and delphiniums) or grow-through netting for vining types like certain zinnias and sunflowers. Doing this can save both effort and time!
Pruning flower plants to improve their shape for cutting is often beneficial in making them fuller and bushier, producing larger blooms. To accomplish this, pinching early buds on plants such as lilies, tulips, daffodils, zinnias, cosmos and peonies is recommended – doing this encourages rebloom as well as long stemmed blooms suitable for cutting.
Cut flower gardens can be added to an existing vegetable or ornamental garden, or serve as standalone patches in your landscape. A sunny location is best, making weeding, picking and watering easily accessible.
As some flowers may require support as they develop, make sure to plant them close together or add supports nearby. Furthermore, certain plants will require regular pruning, pinching or deadheading when not harvested for cutting.