If you love fresh flowers as much as I do, you might want to consider planting a cutting garden, so you can have gorgeous flowers whenever you want. A cutting garden is unlike a regular flower because you do not have to worry about the design of the garden. With a cutting garden your focus is on the production of flowers with nominal maintenance. Your reward will be all of your beautiful vases full of flowers.
Things To Consider For Your Cutting Garden
When selecting your flowers and plants for your cutting garden, look to have a mix of annuals, perennials, bulbs and foliage. With all of these plants make sure they have long stems, since you will be cutting them. Another important factor for your garden is bloom time. Since we want to have arrangements throughout the season, make sure you pick plants with different bloom times. Longfield Gardens has a handy bloom time chart for spring and summer bulbs that you might want to utilize.
Some other things to consider for your garden are:
Fragrance - if you love it include flowers and plants with scents you like.
Foliage – there are many plants with beautiful leaves that can be a great accent or filler for your arrangements
Dried Flowers – adding plants that make nice dry flowers could help extend your floral arrangements throughout the year.
Color Theme – select a main color and then look for other plants that have colors that go well with it. This is especially helpful if you have a small area for your cutting garden.
Combinations – pick flowers that come in different sizes and shapes. This will make your arrangement more interesting. You will need some smaller flowers like baby’s breath to act as fillers in the display.
Flowers To Grow For Your Cutting Garden
Here are some of our favorite flowers and plants to grow in a cutting garden:
Ageratum – this beautiful flower would be a great filler flower in your arrangement. Grow this plant in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. Too much shade will cause the plant not to bloom as much. Ageratum is an old-fashion annual with some of the bluest flowers you can have in a garden. This plant is a tough plant and once established, it tolerates drought fairly well and is also deer resistant. Take note parts of this plant are poisonous.
Celosia – Celosia can be a real show-stopper in any arrangement because of their unusual shapes and velvety texture. They are available in many colors and can add great interest in texture to your arrangement. This flower performs best in full sun and dry conditions. These flowers can also be dried if hung upside down you will be able to have some added color in a winter arrangement. Learn more about this flower here.
Cosmos – Cosmos are making a comeback in the garden. They are easy to grow. The flower stays in blooms for months and the bright cheerful colors will be a great addition to any floral arrangement. The flowers are found on top of long stems and go along with many flowers. The flowers are daisy-like with beautiful petals and center disc. They are available in an array of colors and grow well in most soils. They love full sun. They do not need to be watered unless there is an extended drought. Learn more about growing Cosmos here.
Gypsophila - Gypsophila is beautiful white wildflower and is also known as Baby’s Breath. It is an annual but there are varieties that are perennials. Many people are familiar with them in bridal bouquets; these tiny white flowers also look great in floral arrangements. They are part of the carnation family. These flowers have a long bloom season and are found in pink and white. They prefer alkaline soil that is well drained and the full sun. These flowers are deer resistant, drought tolerant, low-maintenance, and hardy for zones 4-9.
Strawflowers – Strawflowers may be the quintessential dried flower but it is attractive in fresh flower arrangements too. They have long stems and retain their bright colors even after being dried. Seedlings are not generally available in garden centers so you will have to start by planting seeds. They prefer soil that is well-drained with a sandy texture. It prefers full sun and is quite tolerant of hot, dry conditions. They require no staking and are generally free from pests or diseases. They grow 1 to 3 feet tall and come in a wide array of colors.
Zinnia – this annual flower has a long bloom time brining you flowers from spring through autumn. The variety of colors and fullness of the flowers look great in floral arrangements. When growing these flowers they will last under hot conditions. Plant your zinnias in full sun in moist and well-drained soil. These flowers are heat and drought tolerant and do not need to be deadheaded.
Bee Balm - Bee Balm is a perennial summer flower that is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. The most commonly known color of bee balm is red but there are also purple, pink and white varieties. It is somewhat unique in that it does best in areas that get full sun but the soil must be kept moist to maximize its flowering potential. As its name suggests the plant is highly attractive to bees which is beneficial to every garden. It is also a favorite of hummingbirds. If you have a problem with deer in your garden; this may be a good plant for you as the deer tend to leave it alone. While there are varieties of the plant that are less than 2 feet tall most varieties will grow 3 to 6 feet in height. This makes them a good plant for the rear of your border and if they are grown with plants that can support their stems bee balm generally will not require any additional staking. During the summer if you look down the stem below the flowers you can see side shoots develop. If you remove the spent flowers another wave of smaller blooms will follow. Read more about this Bee Balm here.
Delphinium – these flowers are mainly grown for their beautiful blue tall spikes and will add some vertical drama to any floral arrangement. They are available in other colors if you don’t like blue. Delphiniums prefer cool and moist summers, and will struggle in hot, dry summer weather. When growing Delphinium plant them in full sun to light shade and in well-drained soil. Protect them from strong wind as they might blow over because of their height.
Iris – Irises are growth throughout the world, so there is an Iris for you no matter where you live. Bearded Irises are the most popular but there are many others to choose from for your garden. Irises are tall and beautiful and named after a Greek goddess. Irises can also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Most Irises flower in early summer but there are some that flower again later in the summer. For Irises to bloom plant them in full sun, but they can tolerant some shade. Without light, they will not bloom. Bearded Irises must not be shaded by other plants, so consider planting them in an area by themselves. They prefer fertile, neutral to slightly acidic soil. Drainage is very important. They like to have their “wet feet, but dry knees”. Read more about Irises here.
Liatris - also known as Gayfeather this perennial plant is a native wildflower from the Midwest. It is a unique plant in that the flowers open from the top down rather than from the bottom up. It prefers full sun conditions with soil that drains well. If they are planted in exposed areas that are subject to high winds they may need staking. Liatris can survive in garden zones 3 through 9 but may need a winter mulch in zones 3 through 6. The flower typically has lavender to pink tone and adds some much needed color to the garden in the middle of the summer through the fall. Find out more about Liatris here!
Peony – Peonies are known for their fragrances. They have beautiful full flowers suspended above glossy green foliage. Peonies are considered to be relatively pest free. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless. Once they're established, they're as hardy and dependable as oaks, creating a fantastic season of bloom in your yard year after year. They make a great early season rear of the border candidate and while the flowers do need staking their beauty makes that task worthwhile. Peonies are an old-fashioned favorite that never go out of style! Hardiness zones 3 – 8. Read more about the Peony Plant in this article.
Rudbeckia Hirta – Rudbeckia Hirta is the scientific name for Black-Eyed Susan, a popular Wildflower. This plant is native to North America and is in the Sunflower family. These flowers come in many colors and some are fragrant. The plants can grow to over 3 feet tall, with leaves of 6 inches, stalks over 8 inches long and flower diameter of 2 to 3 inches. The flower blooms June – October and prefers the full-sun. These flowers will re-seed themselves prolifically and are also deer-resistant.
Yarrow - this flower is also known as Achillea. It is easy to grow and requires very little maintenance. The flower comes in a several colors including orange, pink, red, yellow, and white and is commonly used in wildflower and cottage gardens. It loves the sun but does not do well in damp soil. Yarrow is hardy for zones 3 – 10 and new varieties of this flower with richer colors have been introduced in the last several years. Learn more about Yarrow here.
Next week, we will let you know about our favorite bulbs and foliage for your cutting garden!