EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO Grow your own cut flower garden IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Cut flower gardens have really grown in popularity and people everywhere are discovering the joys of having their own homegrown fresh flowers. A bouquet of flowers can transform a space, bring a smile to someone’s day, and spread joy for those who grow and also receive them.
“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies, but never grows to the enduring happiness that the love of gardening gives.” – Gertrude Jekyll
Why You Should Have A Cut Flower Garden
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and have space in your yard (big or small) then you too can grow your own cut flower garden. Cut flower gardens can be as small as a few containers on your patio or as big as a field of flowers in your backyard. Growing flowers can be addicting though and you may find yourself buying more and more seeds and starts as the years go on.
Whether you’re intrigued with the idea of having your own cut flowers or just getting started with gardening, read on to learn how to get started with growing your own cut flower garden. My goal is to help you be equipped with the basics to start your own flower garden.
Beginner Friendly Cut Flowers To Grow
Once you decide that you are ready to take the leap and start your own cutting garden, here is a list of some of my favorite easy-to-grow flowers. These flowers require little effort to grow and will reward you with gorgeous blooms all summer long.
My Favorite Beginner Flowers To Grow For A Home Cutting Garden:
- Bachelor Buttons
You can read more about each of these easy to grow cut-flowers by clicking here to read my blog post about these cut flowers. Once you get comfortable growing your own flowers, you will find that there are hundreds of varieties of flowers you can grow. Some of my favorite cut flowers also include dahlias and sweet peas. Both of these flowers produce an abundance of blooms, but are more difficult to grow than the flowers listed above.
Where to Buy Seeds & Starts For Your Cut Flower Garden
You have probably seen flower seeds for sale everywhere from your local grocery store or home improvement store to your local nursery. While it can be tempting to buy the first seed packets you see, starting with quality seeds and plants starts is essential for the health of your plant. Quality seeds and starts are grown by reputable growers, are free of pesticides and diseases, and have proven success for cut flower gardens.
My Favorite Flower Seed Suppliers:
Flower Bulbs, Perennials, and Roses:
Deciding Where To Plant Your Cut Flower Garden
You have your seed packets and now you need to decide where to plant your flowers. Probably the most important part of growing beautiful blooms lies in your soil health. Before identifying a place to plant your flowers, you need to know your soil. Do you have rock soil? Do you have poor drainage?
Most flower seed packets will tell you the type of growing conditions they need. When planting seeds, you want an area that has good drainage and healthy soil. Some people perform a soil test before planting to see what amendments they need to add to the ground. You can buy a cheap soil test kit. Or in some areas you have a local garden resource center that will test your soil conditions for you. Most first year growers will skip this step and realize later how important soil health is.
Besides determining your soil conditions, you need to make sure your flowers receive the right amount of sunlight each day. Some flowers require full sun whereas others need shade. The back of your seed packet should outline these growing requirements.
Importance of Knowing Your Region’s Hardiness and Growing Zone
On the first warm sunny day of winter it can be tempting to put a few seeds in the ground. However, it’s important to know your area’s hardiness zone for growing. Hardiness zones are determined by your area’s 30-year average last frost and are used as guidance for when it’s safe to plant. In the U.S. you can check your Hardiness Zone by using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Some annuals like Bells of Ireland and Larkspur are considered “hardy annuals.” These hardly annuals can often be direct seeded before your average last frost date. Most seed packets will have directions for when you should plant. They will often say direct seed after all dangers of frost have passed OR direct seed 4 to 6 weeks prior to your last average frost date. If you are fortunate enough to have a heated greenhouse or grow lights, you can start your seeds as early as 8-10 weeks prior to your last frost date. Starting your seeds indoors allows you to get a jump start on the growing season and have blooms earlier and longer. Who doesn’t want more weeks of fresh cut flowers?
Tips For Caring Your Cutting Garden
To have a successful and abundant cutting garden, you will need to tend to your plants on a regular basis. There are many environmental factors that will impact your plants’ ability to grow. Plants need regular water and it’s important to make sure you don’t over or under water. Ideally your flower garden should be watered in the morning hours so that they have time for the roots to soak up the water before the heat of the day.
You can actually check your soil moisture with a Soil Moisture tool that you insert into the ground to test the moisture levels. Most plants also benefit from irrigation systems versus overhead watering. Having an irrigation system is time consuming to set-up, but will save you hours in the long run from having to hand water. It’s important to note that Zinnias are very susceptible to powdery mildew. If your zinnias get powdery mildew, it’s often the result of evening and/or overhead watering.
Cut Flower Gardens Need Food To Help Them Grow
Your plants also need food while they are growing. There are many types of fertilizers available for plants. I prefer to feed my plants a compost tea (a mixture of earthworm casings) that I spray on once per week during the growing season. I spray the plants in the early morning so that the compost tea does not burn the leaves in the heat of the day. You can also mix in earth worm castings into your soil to add extra nutrients for your plants. Remember though that you should always refer back to your soil test to know what nutrients your soil needs.
Recommendations For Keeping Unwanted Pests Out of Your Cut Flower Garden
You may be surprised at how many pests show up to feast on your cut flower garden. Keeping pests out of your cut flower garden will be one of the biggest tasks you will face. For me, I personally avoid any harsh chemicals and follow an organic approach to keeping my garden pest free. My favorite organic spray for controlling pests and also disease is Neem Oil. When using Neem Oil though, it’s important that you do not spray on any bees that are active in your garden. This is because Neem Oil is extremely toxic to the bees. Neem Oil is great at controlling aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, blackspot, and powdery mildew.
Ladybugs For Natural Pest Control
Ladybugs are also a great organic way to keep pests out of your cut flower garden. They love to eat aphids and each ladybug will devour thousands of aphids. Each year we release thousands of ladybugs into our garden (click here to watch us release 18,000 ladybugs). Ladybugs also lay their eggs in your garden. Several weeks after releasing the ladybugs, you’ll find a new emergence of hungry ladybugs waiting to eat the bugs in your garden. Click here to read my blog post about keeping your garden pest free using ladybugs.
Identifying Bugs & Pests In The Garden
If you are curious about the different bugs lurking in your garden, I recommend the book “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” This helpful book identifies the common pests and beneficial insects in your garden. It also provides great recommendations for organically controlling the pests listed in the book.
How To Cut And Arrange Your Cut Flowers For Beautiful Home Grown Bouquets
Once your garden is producing blooms, it’s time to start cutting and arranging your flowers for beautiful bouquets. At first it may seem hard to cut your beautiful blooming plants, but remember this is a cutting garden and the more you cut, the more blooms you will have.
Best Time of Day To Cut Flowers
Make sure you cut your flowers either in the early morning or late evening to prevent wilting. Be sure to have a clean, sharp pair of garden shears to cut your stems. Take a clean bucket of water into the garden with you as well. This will allow you to immediately put your fresh cut stems in water. When you are ready to make your first cut, be sure to cut deep to encourage longer stems. Once you cut a stem, strip the leaves so that only the stem is touching water.
Fill your bucket with as many cut flowers as you want. Then bring them inside to a cool, dark place to rehydrate before arranging. *Do not store your cut flowers in a fridge that also has fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables release toxins that will cause your flowers to wilt.
Arranging Your Cut Flowers
After your flowers have had several hours to rehydrate, you can begin arranging them. Have fun arranging your flowers! Try different size and shape vases for different looks. Sometimes a single flower can make a great statement by itself. Even a bunch of cosmos can look great in a stand-alone bouquet.
To prolong the life of your cut flowers, you should change out the water every few days. Some people also prefer to add floral preservatives such as FloraLife or Chrysal Flower Food. You can also make your own homemade flower preservative with this recipe from House Beautiful.
Ready To Grow Your Own Cut Flower Garden
Now you are ready to start your own cut flower garden. The very best way to truly learn how to grow your own flowers is to simply planting them and get your hands dirty. There’s something so rewarding about watching your own flower garden grow from seed. And as a bonus, you will also enjoy beautiful, fresh cut flowers in your house all summer long!