Home » Gardening » How to Grow A Cutting Garden

How to Grow A Cutting Garden

 

Who doesn’t love fresh cut flowers in their home or office? Flowers just add such a fresh and cheery element to a space. Plus, fresh flower bouquets (especially from your own garden) make the best and sweetest gifts. If for no other reason than to add cheer to a loved one’s day. I’ve always gone through my perennial flower gardens and clipped flowers for indoor bouquets, but the past few years I’ve been growing annual flowers just for just for cutting. Follow along and you too will gain some inspiration and instruction for planning and planting your own cut flower garden.

Flower Farms are kind of a thing now, but this article is not about growing your own flower farm. This is geared towards the average home gardener that wants to have beautiful cut flowers available in your own backyard. Just a warning though, growing flowers can be very addicting and if you aren’t careful, you just might end up with your own flower farm.

Cut Flower Bouquet 

Cutting Garden Plans

When I initially started a flower garden specifically for cutting, I sacrificed one of my raised 4′ x 4′ vegetable beds for a small cut flower garden. For this bed, I’m only planting annual flowers, 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.

Cutting Garden Graph
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.

Image of Cut Flower Garden BookThere’s a ton of great information in this post!
BUT, would you like to have ready-made plans to take your Cutting Garden up a notch?
To make it easier for you to have the Cutting Garden of your dreams,
I’ve created a PDF printable Guide & Workbook,
Create Your Own Backyard Cut Flower Garden,
which includes all the information in this article.
PLUS, SO MUCH MORE!
It includes ready-made Cut Flower Garden plans for
various shapes and sizes of gardens.
The Guide & Workbook will walk you through
planning, designing and executing your plan in the garden.
As well as, maintaining through harvesting your cut flowers,
and tips for creating long lasting bouquets.
There are beautiful pictures and lists
of the best annual and perennial flowers for a Cutting Garden.
The Create Your Own Backyard Cut Flower Garden Guide & Workbook is
available for the low introductory price of $10.00.
Simply click the button below and follow the instructions.
(Be sure to check the box to receive free updates to the Guide.)

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. Taller flowers need to be placed on the north side of the flower bed, so they don’t shade the shorter flowers and everyone can get the sunshine they need.

Keep in mind that some annual flowers like zinnias, cosmos and dahlias will get huge and need staking. If you have a small space for your cut flower garden, you might want to consider passing on these flowers, or moving planting them in a separate space. 

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.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on
one of the links and make a purchase,

I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
See full disclosure here.

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. 

Cut Flower Bouquet - 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.

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. Also available in the Gardening Resources Library is a printable Garden Plan sheet, so you can plan out your own cutting garden.

Here is a sampling of the flowers that are included on the free printable list.

The Best Annual Flowers for a Cutting Garden

  • Snapdragons
  • Zinnias
  • Gladioli (bulbs)
  • Dahlias (tubers)
  • Marigolds (tall varieties)
  • Lisianthus (plants are hard to find, but last 2+ weeks as a cut flower)
  • Asters
  • Larkspur
  • Cosmos
  • Statice
  • many, many more

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.Lisianthus Flowers

The Best Perennial Flowers for a Cutting Garden

  • Shasta Daisies
  • Yarrow
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Coneflowers
  • Phlox
  • Dianthus
  • Coreopsis
  • Liatris

Don’t leave snapdragons out of the your cut flower garden. They look amazing in fresh cut flower bouquets.

Snapdragons

Fragrant Cut Flowers

  • Roses
  • Lilacs
  • Peonies
  • Phlox
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Lavender

Bulbs for a Cutting Garden

How to Plant a Cutting Garden

First, gather your supplies: plants, Osmocote (a slow release fertilizer), a hand gardening shovel or trowel and gloves.

Cutting Garden Supplies

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.  If your paper plan isn’t quite right, you can adjust it now. 

Cutting Garden Preparation

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.

Planting Flowers in a Cutting Garden

 

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.Flower Cutting Garden

Just a note on the cutting garden design above, I’ve since learned from experience that planting large flowers like zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers in a small bed like this is not a good idea. The larger flowers tend to take over the  smaller flowers don’t do as well. See the guide at the top of the page for a more practical layout.

How to Maintain Your Cut Flower Garden

Cut Flower Gardens are really easy to maintain, but you will get the most blooms for your work if you be sure to water your cut flower beds. If you plant in a small raised bed like I did, the soil will dry out much faster than in an in-ground bed, so you will need to water a lot. During dry spells, you will want to water as much as once a day.

Be sure to stake your flowers. All it takes in a gust of wind or storm to topple your beautiful flowers. I’ve learned this the hard way… more than once.

Cut Flowers will also benefit from fertilizer. I use the time released fertilizer when I’m planting, plus after 4 – 6 weeks, I will fertilize with a Miracle Gro type fertilizer.

Like I mentioned above, the more you cut your annual flowers, the more they will produce. Just a warning, bees and butterflies will love your flowers just as much as you do, so leave a few for the pollinators.

Tips for Gathering Your Flowers From Your Cutting Garden

  • Mixed bouquets are beautiful, but bouquets with 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.

Don’t overlook shrubs in your yard when you’re cutting  flowers, especially hydrangeas, lilacs and roses. The greenery from shrubs, perennial grasses, hosta leaves and ferns also add an interesting element to bouquets. Also consider adding herbs to your bouquets. Take a walk around your yard and be creative.

This is me – daisies in a mason jar and the gingham tablecloth. Love it!

Daisy Bouquet

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.

There’s a ton of great information in this post!
BUT, would you like to have ready-made plans to take your Cutting Garden up a notch?
To make it easier for you to have the Cutting Garden of your dreams,
I’ve created a PDF printable Guide & Workbook,
Create Your Own Backyard Cut Flower Garden,
which includes all the information in this article.
PLUS, SO MUCH MORE!
It includes ready-made Cut Flower Garden plans for
various shapes and sizes of gardens.
The Guide & Workbook will walk you through
planning, designing and executing your plan in the garden.
As well as, maintaining through harvesting your cut flowers,
and tips for creating long lasting bouquets.
There are beautiful pictures and lists
of the best annual and perennial flowers for a Cutting Garden.
The Create Your Own Backyard Cut Flower Garden Guide & Workbook is
available for the low introductory price of $10.00.
Simply click the button below and follow the instructions.
(Be sure to check the box to receive free updates to the Guide.)

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!

Happy gardening,

Joanna

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.

Pins to Share:

Image of Flowers with Text Overlay - Plan & Plant Your Own Cut Flower Garden

 

Image of Flowers with Text Overlay - How to Plan & Plant Your Own Cut Flower Garden