How To Grow A Flower Cutting Garden With These 17 Gorgeous Varieties

Fresh flowers are a great way to bring the garden indoors and brighten any space.

April 14, 2017
flower garden
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Flowers grown for cutting offer more than beautiful bouquets for your home—they also provide great benefits for the garden. Many of them attract butterflies, they’re much less susceptible to pests and diseases than edibles, and, with annuals, a lot of flowers bloom out of a typically small investment. 

The fussy reputation of roses or peonies may scare some gardeners off, but with few exceptions, the flowers mentioned in this article need only periodic watering and a bit of care when sowing. Otherwise, cut (or leave in the garden) and enjoy!

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Here, all the tasks you need to complete—by season—to grow flower cutting garden of your dreams.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Spring: Select Your Plot And Flowers—Then Sow!

Almost every flower you’ll grow for cutting requires full sun, though gardeners in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and warmer would do well to give them afternoon shade. Average, well-drained soil is also best, and leafier varieties should avoid overly moist soil, which will cause an overgrowth of leaves and leave little room for flowers. When choosing the spot for your flowers, keep all of this in mind.
 
There will be a bit of variation in when your different flowers should be sown, but they all involve the first and last frost date. Frost dates are dependent on your hardiness zone, so check yours before you begin. Here’s a basic guide on when to plant a variety of different flowers, based on your frost date: 
 
1. Sow these plants indoors around 8 weeks before the last frost (keep at moderately warm temperatures, and transplant after the last frost): strawflower, golden drumstick, globe amaranth, bells of Ireland, starflower, flossflower, Mexican sunflower, snow on the mountain, and marigold.

2. Sow these plants outdoors before the first frost, when soil has become workable again: larkspur, love-in-a-mist, and sweet peas.

3. Sow these plants outdoors after the threat of frost is over, covering with a light layer of soil: cosmos, yarrow, globe amaranth, forget-me-nots, starflower, marigolds, and Brazilian vervain.

 

Once the flowers are sown and begin to germinate, pinch buds to encourage branching. Keep plants watered.

Here's a list of each flower mentioned above: 
Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)
Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis)
Cosmos (cosmos bipinnatus)
Flossflower (Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon')
Forget-me-not (Myostis sylvatica)
Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
Golden Drumstick (Craspedia globosa)
Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella spp.)
Marigold (Tagetes erecta)
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
Snow on the mountain (Euphorbia marginata)
Starflower (Scabiosa stellata)
Statice (Limonium sinuatum)
Strawflower (Bracteantha bracteata)
Sweet peas (Lathyrus spp.)
Yarrow (Achillea)

Related: 10 Plants You Need To Grow If You're Suffering From Depression, Stress, Or Anxiety

Summer: Cut Your Flowers, Or Keep Them Blooming 

To enjoy the flowers outdoors, deadhead or remove spent flowers to encourage continued blooms. If you plan on taking them indoors, cut flowers before they have fully bloomed to ensure longer life indoors. Recut stems under a running faucet once indoors, and add a little sugar to vase water to extend blooms.

In hot areas, certain flowers will stop blooming in the dead of summer; continue to water and care for these plants, and the blooms will return when the temperature drops.

Related: 3 Reasons To Never Plant Butterfly Bush Again

Fall: Sow Some Annuals 

Gardeners in Zones 9 and warmer can sow many annuals in the fall before the first frost, including larkspur and yarrow. This promotes early blooms and less work during the busy spring planting season.

 

Related: 9 Flowers You Didn't Know You Could Eat

Winter: Maintain Your Soil

Mulch, mulch, mulch. In order to create the perfect soil for flowers, keep your garden mulched during the winter so the soil will retain nutrients and stay as warm as possible for spring planting.

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