Who doesn’t love fresh cut flowers in their home or office? Flowers just add such a fresh and cheery element to a space. I’ve always gone through my gardens and clipped flowers for indoor bouquets, but I’ve decided this year I’m going to plant a flower garden just for cutting. Follow along and you too can get some inspiration and tips for planning and planting your own cut flower garden.
Cutting Garden Plans
This year, I’m going to sacrifice one of my raised 4′ x 4′ vegetable beds for a small cut flower garden. For this specific bed, I’m only planting annuals, because I have tons of perennials in other flower beds to choose from. However, further down you’ll find a list of the best perennial flowers for cutting too.
To make planning, planting and harvesting easier, I’m using more of a grid style of design, much like square foot gardening. Once the planting is done, this will be a fairly low maintenance garden. The plants will be packed in tight to maximize the space and to minimize weeding. Providing water and fertilizer will pretty much be all that will need to be done to maintain the cutting garden.
Feel free to pop over to the Gardening Resources Library to print off a Garden Plan sheet, so you can plan out your own cutting garden. When you’ve sketched out your plan, add it to your Garden Journal or Planner so you can refer back to it later. Be sure to keep notes on what worked and what didn’t work.
How to Design a Cut Flower Garden
Unlike a regular flower garden, design in a cut flower bed isn’t really necessary. That being said, it is important to position the flowers so the taller ones don’t shade the shorter flowers. So before you start planning, figure out the position of your flower bed in conjunction with the sun. For instance, in my plan, I’m placing the taller flowers on the north side of my raised bed, so they don’t shade the shorter flowers and everyone can get the sunshine they need.
If you’re new to flower gardening, Flower Gardening 101 will give you all the instruction you need to plan and plant your first flower garden.
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Supplies for Your Cutting Garden
Tips for Selecting the Best Flowers for Your Cutting Garden
When choosing which flowers to grow for a cutting garden, select varieties that have long stems. Short stemmed flowers will also work, but they work best in single variety bouquet. Case in point, this little bouquet of lily-of-the-valley.
Some perennials (Salvia, Shasta Daisies and Coreopsis, to name a few) will send up a new set of blooms if they are cut back after flowering. However, annual flowers have the longest flowering season and will bloom continuously for 3 or months if blooms are removed. In other words, cutting annual flowers encourages the plant to keep producing more flowers.
Need a reminder of this How to Grow a Cutting Garden post.
Here’s a pin you can save to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.
There are more pins at the bottom of the page.
I have put together a free printable list of the Best Flowers for Cutting Gardens and it’s available to you in the Gardening Resources Library. The list includes the best annual and perennial flowers for cutting, as well as bulbs for cutting. The flowers are listed by season, so you can plan to have cut flowers for 3 seasons of enjoyment. Here is a sampling of the flowers that are included on the free printable list.
The Best Annual Flowers for a Cutting Garden
- Gladioli (bulbs)
- Dahlias (tubers)
- Marigolds (tall varieties)
- Lisianthus (plants are hard to find, but last 2+ weeks as a cut flower)
Lisianthus is one of my favorites annual flowers. They take lots of patience to grow from seed, so most nurseries don’t have them. I’ve been fortunate enough to find a local grower that sells lisianthus at a farmer’s market. They make wonderful cut flowers and last 2 weeks or more in a vase.
The Best Perennial Flowers for a Cutting Garden
- Shasta Daisies
- Black-eyed Susan
Tall garden phlox is a wonderful fragrant perennial that comes in a variety of colors and they’re a perfect flower for cutting.
Fragrant Cut Flowers
Bulb Cutting Garden
- Lilies (Get some great tips for growing and caring for Lilies here.)
Don’t overlook shrubs in your yard when you’re cutting flowers, especially hydrangeas, lilacs and roses. The greenery from shrubs and perennial grasses also add an interesting element to bouquets.
How to Plant a Cutting Garden
After you’ve planned your Cutting Garden, selected your flowers and gathered your supplies, it’s time to dig in the dirt. I take my plan and arrange my flowers in the garden so I can get a picture of how it’s going to work. My initial plan was a little over-zealous, so I paired it way back.
Next, comes the actual planting. For the beginners, you basically dig a hole, mix a little Osmocote into the soil, plop the plant in and push the soil back in around the roots.
Here’s my little cutting garden all planted. I ended up planting: zinnias, white marigolds, lisianthus, tall snapdragons, cosmos and teddy bear sunflowers. In a month or so I’ll be cutting flowers from my garden. If you don’t get adequate rain, be sure to water your little baby flowers.
Tips for Gathering Your Flowers From The Cutting Garden
- Mixed bouquets are beautiful, but bouquets will all the same flower are beautiful too.
- It’s best to clip your flowers in the morning or evening when the temps are cool.
- Carry a bucket of lukewarm water with you to the garden, along with a pair of sharp garden scissors (these are my favorites) or pruners.
- When choosing which flowers to snip, look for stems that just have a few flowers that have just popped out, along with a few buds. If you clip off just stems of full flowers, they won’t last as long in a vase.
- As soon as you cut the stem, place the flowers in the bucket of water.
This is me – daisies in a mason jar and the gingham tablecloth. Love it!
How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
Once you have chosen your flowers and you’re ready to place them in a vase or container, strip all the leaves off the part of the stem that will go in water and clip the stems again at an angle.
To insure that your flowers last for a week or more, I highly recommend adding Cut Flower Food to the water (this is a florist trick), and change the water every day or as soon as it looks murky. Also be sure to watch the water level especially the first day or so, as fresh cut flowers will drink up lots of water. When you change the water, you can also re-clip the ends of the stems again and add more cut flower food.
Keep your arrangement tidy looking by weeding out the flowers that are looking weary. If need be, change up the vase to accommodate a smaller bouquet.
More Cutting Garden Goodness
I recently purchased the book – Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden and I highly recommend it! It’s ideal for beginners and seasoned gardeners too. I call it my relaxing book and keep it by my favorite chair in the living room. Here’s a description from Amazon:
“A stunning flower book: This beautiful gardening book and guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round provides readers with vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms and cut flowers to create show-stopping arrangements. It makes a beautiful gift for any occasion, for friends, loved ones and gardening lovers alike!”
Here are some other articles I think you’ll enjoy:
How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden
14 Plants You Don’t Want In Your Garden – Even If They Are Free
Essential Gardening Tools
Creating & Caring for a Low Maintenance Flower Garden
How to Grow & Care For Lilies
Tips for the Aging Gardener
I’m so happy you stopped by Gingham Gardens today! Do you have a cutting garden, or do you simply cut flowers from your existing gardens. What are your favorite flowers for cutting? Please leave a comment below and let me know. As always, if you have a gardening question, just ask. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and come back soon!
p.s. Go ahead and feel free to “pin” these pictures. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away. There are also pins to share at the bottom of the page. Thanks a bunch!
p.p.s I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of flower garden eye candy for you.
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