Tips for Growing a Cut Flower Garden
If you love endless bouquets of fresh flowers, grow your own cut flower garden! Here are my tips for planning, growing and nurturing your own Cut Flower Garden.
I’ve always enjoyed having a garden, but this past summer I grew my most favourite garden yet, a backyard urban cut flower garden! Last summer I couldn’t get enough of all the gorgeous flower farmer accounts on Instagram. I was glued to their posts and stories, watching as they grew and harvested the most amazing flowers. I was filled with so much inspiration. I have always dreamt of having a huge flower garden of my own, but never really thought it was possible because I live in the city. But I stopped myself and asked, what does that have to do with anything? I may not have acres and acres of land, but I do have a cute little urban yard and lots of planters just waiting for flowers…and not just any flowers…cut flowers. So last summer I dove right in and started my very first cutting garden.
What is a cut flower garden?
So what exactly is a cut flower garden? Well, really simply put it’s a flower garden grown with the sole intent of being able to cut flowers and make bouquets. Bouquets and bouquets of fresh flowers for your home, your friends and loved ones. The best. And anyone can grow one. As an added bonus cut flower gardens are wonderful for inviting pollinators and butterflies to your yard!
Planning an urban cut flower garden
The biggest thing to remember when planning your garden is that flowers need plenty of sun and rich, well-drained soil. Once you have taken that into consideration, the planning is easy. I actually didn’t do much in way of planning for my first cut garden. I just dove right in and chose bulbs, tubers and packets of seeds that I found at my local nursery (and Walmart…yep it’s true). But I was SO happy with my garden this summer, even though some things didn’t grow quite the way I liked, and some of the flowers I didn’t really love, it was all such a great learning experience. And I’m super excited to be planning my cut flower garden for this upcoming season. I learned a lot last summer, so I can’t wait to implement a few new things.
What to consider when planning a cut flower garden:
Consider your space
You don’t have to have acres of land to have a cut flower garden. In fact you can grow plenty of flowers in surprisingly small spaces. Cut flower gardens can be grown in pots, so anyone can have one…balconies, patios, urban yards…they can all be transformed into a garden for cut flowers. My cut flower garden is 100% grown in pots, so I treat is like an annual garden (I don’t reuse any bulbs the following year).
What to know about sunshine
The biggest thing to consider is the amount of sunshine your garden receives over the growing season. If you don’t get a lot of daytime sun, then you don’t want to plant flowers that require a lot of light. All you have to do is make sure you’re purchasing seeds and bulbs that match the sunshine in your yard…there are many options for all different lighting.
Use good soil
Get good potting soil that provides optimum aeration, drainage and nutrients.
All of my pots and planters ready to sow seeds and bulbs!
Planters to use
There are so many options for planters for your cut garden. Raised beds are great because they retain moisture. But don’t think you need to have a full garden to be able to grow flowers, you can absolutely have a complete cut flower garden in pots! I like to use self watering pots because plants stay healthy between waterings. Heavy glazed pots are great too because they hold water well (Terracotta pots looks nice, but they’re the worst for growing flowers because they absorb water). For my garden I bought some self-watering raised planters which I love…I like being able to tend to my flowers without having to bend over all the time. And self watering is great because they’re very forgiving if you forget to water your flowers.
Flowers that are Perfect for a Cut Flower Garden:
Now let’s talk about what kind of flowers to grow…this is my favourite part! In my cut flower garden I grow annuals that I replace every year. I try to grow varieties with different bloom times so I can have flowers from early spring right into fall.
I absolutely LOVE anemones. And for some reason I never considered growing them in my garden, I think I just assumed they were difficult. Boy was I wrong. Anemones are SO easy to grow, and they’re hearty. I had loads of anemones from June right into October. This year, 60% of my garden will be anemones. Tip: I bought my anemone bulbs from Walmart and they were excellent!
Dahlias are also surprisingly easy to grow! They bloom continuously through the summer, they come in the most amazing colours and sizes with long stems…from small to dinner plate size, and the more you cut them, the more they grow, making them perfect for a cut flower garden!
I used to grow many many sweet peas, but as the trees in my yard grew they blocked much of my daytime sun so over the years it became harder to grow them. But if you have great sun in your yard, sweet peas are SO easy to grow and will give you gorgeous scented flowers right into fall which is wonderful. I still do grow them but I’ve chosen to grow them in pots that I can put in direct sunlight.
Sunflowers are easy to grow, are generally quite prolific and they make the most beautiful additions to bouquets. They’re also great because they bloom right into fall, so you can have late summer + fall bouquets and vases filled with blooms.
Zinnias are also really easy to grow, come in a number of colours and sizes, and they’re just gorgeous! This year I’m going to dedicate quite a bit of my garden space to zinnias.
Peonies make THE MOST GORGEOUS bouquets ever. They do however require more planning than the other flowers I’ve mentioned here. Peonies are not a flower you can just plant one season and expect to get flowers from, and they can’t grow in pots. You have to have a dedicated space in your yard for these perennials, and wait at least a year for blooms…but if you plant now, you’ll have peonies next year…they’re worth the wait! They also have the most lovely foliage that looks beautiful in bouquets. I look forward to my peonies every year.
More cut flower varieties:
- Daisy varieties like Shasta Daisies
- Herbs: Mint, parsley, rosemary
Tips for beautiful blooms!
- Pick Pick Pick! The whole idea around a cut flower garden is to have flowers you can pick! Trust me, I know how hard it is to cut off a flower from the plants you worked so hard to grow, but DO IT! You’ll enjoy them so much in bouquets around your home! Also, look at it this way, the more you cut, the more flowers will grow. I harvest my blooms all season long.
- When to pick? The best time to harvest flowers is in the morning, and not in the heat of the day.
- Deadhead! Never leave dead flowers on your plants. Pinch them off so you get new blooms!
- Fertilize! Fertilize your plants for beautiful blooms! I use a complete fertilizer (N:P:K) of 15-30-15 like this Miracle Gro fertilizer. And I fertilize once a week.
- Succession Planting: If your growing season is long, you might want to consider succession planting. This means that if your blooms are spent, grow more! The growing season where I live is VERY short, like 2 months, so I don’t really have time to succession plant, especially directly from seed or bulbs. Succession Planting Tip! If a variety of flower either doesn’t grow, or is done blooming, sometimes I’ll add seedlings/plants from the garden centre.
- Don’t stress if not all your flowers grow. It’s going to happen. I planted a number of ranunculus and freesia but none of the freesia came up and I only got a few spindly ranunculus. No big deal. Once I realized they weren’t going to sprout, I simply replaced them with more anemones.
Cut Flower Bouquet Ideas
Now it’s the fun part, putting together bouquets! I enjoy this part so much! There are no rules…anything goes. If you love it, pick it and put it into a bouquet. Here are some cut flower garden bouquet ideas that I’ve shared.
PIN IT for inspiration later!
– – – – – –
Isn’t is amazing what we can grow in our own backyards?! Have an inspired day!
Hi Jo Anna Starting my first cut flower garden. My husband is going to make me a few garden beds bc the clay soil here is rough. About how tall would you make the bed for cut flowers? Would 12 inches be tall enough for most of the ones you mentioned to have good roots?
Hi Danielle! How exciting to have a cut flower garden! Anywhere from 12-18 inches would be perfect!