Nothing brings more color and cheer to your home than a freshly cut bouquet of flowers. I try to have one on the counter at all times throughout the spring and summer. And while I love buying the gorgeous bouquets available at my local farmer’s market, it’s not always the most convenient (or budget-friendly!) way to bring a bunch of flowers into all the rooms of my home. Thankfully, there’s a great solution to get fresh-cut flowers in your home without ever leaving it: start a cut flower garden!
This is a great way to ensure you have a non-stop supply of beautiful flowers to cut into bouquets you can display in your home or share with family and friends. Growing cut flowers will save you time and money, and it also gives you complete control over what type and color of flowers you grow and your bouquet arrangements. And it’s easy to start cut flower gardening. Just follow these steps for how to start a cut flower garden.
Step 1: Plan the Layout for Your Cut Flower Garden
The first thing you will need to do is design your cut flower garden layout. Spend time determining the right location for growing your flowers. Proper planning will ensure your flowers grow in an ideal location where you can easily tend and harvest them.
Questions and Considerations for a Cut Flower Bed
- How much sun does your location get? Most flowers will need plenty of sunlight to grow to their full beauty, and taller varieties can cast shade for any smaller shade-loving flowers you want to grow. We have some great ideas for shade-loving perennials for you to consider if your yard is lacking a good full sun garden location.
- Do you have a dedicated space for a cut flower garden? Many people have a room in their garden or a raised bed dedicated explicitly to their cut flowers. However, if you are short on space, you can also consider growing varieties that incorporate well into your landscape. Check out our post on fantastic flower bed designs for inspiration!
- It will sometimes be a bit of an eyesore. Remember that while the flowers are beautiful, a cut flower garden is not meant to be decorative (that’s the fun part that comes when you are creating your bouquets!), and it won’t look pretty all the time.
With these considerations in mind, we situated our own garden on the side of the house (seen above). This area is not super visible, yet convenient to access. While I do sometimes wish I could look out the window and see my flowers all the time, it makes maintenance a whole lot less stressful. If I ever slack and let diseases creep in or things get overgrown, I’m not super pressured to get it cleaned up. And honestly, that makes gardening feel less like work and more like a hobby.
Step 2: Choose Which Cut Flower Varieties to Grow
Now the real fun begins: it’s time to choose what varieties of flowers you want to grow! This might be my favorite part of the whole process. There are so many beautiful flowers to choose from!
You should consider when/what time of year you want to be cutting flowers. Do you want them to bloom all at once during one season, or will you create bouquets from early spring to late summer? Maybe you just want lots of fall-planted bulbs for spring bouquets? Research which flower varieties will be both stunning and meet your growing needs.
If you are new to growing cut flowers, here are a few easier varieties to start with:
Why we love them: Zinnias win the prize for best cut flower in my book. First off, they’re incredibly easy flowers to grow. The hard part is actually just keeping them cut. Second, they bloom all summer long. Literally. Until the cold or a disease wipes them out, they will continue to give you beautiful flowers. Lastly, pollinators love them! They will attract lots of butterflies, moths, and bees to your garden. And when they are dead and dried out, their seeds provide food for beautiful little birds (so long as you leave the plants to die off in the garden during your fall cleanup).
Who doesn’t love sunflowers? They are so cheery and bright, and they make for beautiful bouquets. Sunflowers can provide food for birds and insects as well, helping to promote a healthy ecosystem in your garden. If you think most sunflowers are massive and tall, think again! I thought the same thing until l found Mexican sunflowers in the garden center and planted some. These were such a great spontaneous addition. Since they are much smaller and more delicate than typical sunflowers, they made an excellent addition to bouquets with other flowers.
Here’s another flower for which the hardest aspect is keeping them cut- cosmos! These are so easy to grow they practically care for themselves. I do have a bit of advice, though. Make sure you check the plant height on the growing information for the variety you choose. Some, like the ones in the wildflower packet we scattered one year, grow quite tall. However, once they get overgrown, they will topple over and create a bit of tangled mess, as seen here. So take it from me, check the growing information before planting! Erin at Floret has some great varieties and growing tips- check them out here.
And check out our post on easy flowers to grow for a stunning flower garden for more ideas!
Step 3: Prep Your Cut Flower Garden Beds
Time to get your hands dirty! Good garden prep is essential to making sure your flowers have the ideal conditions and grow to their full beauty. If you establish a new garden bed, you’ll need to lift the turf and prep the soil. If you use raised garden beds, you’ll need to prep those as well (or build them if not already done!).
Weed prevention is essential here. You don’t want anything competing for space and soil nutrients with your gorgeous stems. Dig out any existing weeds (make sure you pull out the entire root!) and use a weed control mat or fabric to prevent them from returning.
Next, rake in new soil and compost, and your garden bed is ready for planting cut flowers or seeds.
Step 4: Planting Your Flowers
When and how to plant your flowers will depend on whether you are planting seeds or transplants.
If you are planting seeds directly into the ground, follow the instructions for what month to plant them according to your zone. You can also start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse to get going early. Plus, you can save the seeds from your flowers to grow the following year, saving you money in the future.
Starting flowers from seed is a great way to save money on your cut flower garden in the future. Read our post on seed saving tips and ideas to learn how.
Whether using transplants you’ve grown from seed or ones you buy from the store, transplanting flower plants is a breeze.
- Wait until after the last frost in your area and get out to the garden early in the day before it gets hot.
- Dig a hole deep enough for your flower transplant to be even with the soil, and gently pull it out of its starter pod.
- Gently loosen the roots, place the flower in the hole, and firm the soil around its base.
- Water your flower with your hose on the flower or garden setting.
Step 5: Maintain and Cut Your Flowers
All that’s left to do is tend to your flowers and cut them when you are ready to enjoy their beautiful blooms. Fertilizing your flowers throughout their growing cycle will help them reach their full potential. As you probably know, I love using homemade organic fertilizers to boost my gardens’ nutrition.
You’ll also want to prevent disease from ruining your precious blooms. This includes proper maintenance of your garden by keeping pruning shears and tools clean, not over-fertilizing, and watering in the early morning so your foliage can dry by nightfall.
No matter how hard you work to prevent them, weeds will make their way into your bed, so continuous weed management is essential. Pull them out from the root when you find them, or make a homemade weed killer that won’t harm your flowers.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Cut Flower Garden!
Growing cut flowers is easy, fun, and a great way to keep vases of fresh flowers decorating your home. Using the tips in the guide above, you will have abundant colorful blooms all season long! If you loved this post, check out some more fun flower-related content of ours. We’ve got tips and tricks for beautiful hanging flower baskets, recommendations for fragrant flowers if you love to stop and smell the flowers, or a big list of blooming perennials for shade if your yard is lacking full sun.