Best way to start a cut flower garden from seed and watch it flourish.
Growing veggies is one of my favorite things to do, but I also have a cut flower garden because it's fun to have an endless supply of gorgeous blooms to pick for my own bouquets of flowers that I've produced at home. And while many plants are cultivated for their flowers, including perennials, biennials, bulbs, and even consumables, annual flowers such as zinnias and sunflowers are among the most popular types of cut flowers grown by gardeners. Other types of flowers that are grown for their flowers include foods. They are attractive, productive, and simple to cultivate, and they may be produced in either gardens or containers.
Gain the knowledge necessary to plan successfully, plant, cultivate, and harvest cut flowers in your garden.
If you are new to gardening, you need to begin by selecting the appropriate location. Flowers require a lot of sunlight and soil that is both rich and has good drainage. Before you start planting, you should prepare the area by breaking up the ground, then working in some compost and a flower fertilizer that has a gradual release. Gardeners who desire an organized and easy-to-maintain garden often opt for raised beds as their planting medium of choice. No room for a garden dedicated to cut flowers? No worries! If you are a casual cut flower gardener like I am, you can insert annual flowers anywhere you have space, including between veggies, among your perennials and shrubs, or even in pots and planters if you have enough room.
Zinnias and sunflowers are two examples of annual flowers that are simple to cultivate and are good choices for beginners. Carefully read the descriptions provided in seed catalogs as well as those on the plant tags available at the nursery. It is recommended that you arrange the plants in your cut flower garden with the tallest ones at the back of the bed, the ones with a medium height in the middle, and the ones with a low altitude in the front of the bed. Also, pay attention to whether or not certain cut flowers, such as sweet peas or climbing nasturtiums, grow on vining plants. To mount these, you will need to use netting or a trellis. Growing tall annuals, such as certain species of zinnia and sunflower, may require the use of stakes or other types of support to keep them from tumbling over as the plants mature.
Planting seedlings gives you a head start on the season. Although many annual flowers develop quickly and can be directly placed in the garden in the spring, planting seedlings offer you a charge start on the season. Around six to eight weeks before the last frost of the season is forecasted, I bring my annual cut flowers indoors and start them off under my grow lights. You can find increasing information that is specific to a variety by reading the seed packaging or the catalog.
You can also purchase annual flowers such as cosmos and phlox at your neighborhood nursery; however, it may be challenging to track down the types that have been cultivated specifically for use in the creation of cut flowers. And these are the varieties you should grow if you want your cut flowers to be of high quality. They provide exceptional benefits such as a longer vase life, longer stems, and larger flowers than their competitors. Once more, it is essential to read seed catalogs thoroughly.
Planting flowers in succession is the best way to ensure an endless supply of gorgeous blooms. Farmers of cut flowers typically do not plant a single crop of zinnias, for example. Why? The number of flowers produced by many annuals gradually decreases, or the size of the blooms decreases after a few weeks of solid flowering. Planting new seedlings approximately once every two to three weeks gives a consistent supply of huge flowers suitable for use in floristry. Despite the limited length of my growing season, I always ensure that I have three plantings of zinnias so that I have plenty of large, lovely blooms for my bouquets.
As the growing season continues, there are a few responsibilities that need to be kept on top of. Pinching is beneficial for several types of plants, including zinnias and celosias. Young plants can be "pinched" to encourage the development of branching and the production of longer stems for use in bouquets. When the plants are from 10 to 12 inches tall, this is the typical height at which they are pinched. You can remove the growing tip of the plant by pinching back to a healthy set of leaves using either your fingers or a clean pair of pruners.
Water-stressed plants produce fewer and smaller blossoms, so it is essential to pay attention to how often you water them. The application of a mulch on the soil's surface, such as straw, crushed leaves, or black landscape cloth, helps the soil to retain its moisture. Additionally, mulch inhibits the development of weeds, and if it is covered with black landscaping cloth, it will warm the soil and encourage growth, particularly in the late spring and early summer months.
A liquid organic flower fertilizer should be applied to the plants every two to three weeks if you want to maintain a high level of bloom production. Under no circumstances should you leave dead blooms on the plants. If they are generating more flowers than you need, harvest them as soon as they open and give them to your friends, family, neighbors, or nursing home in the area. In case they are producing more flowers than you need, pick them all. If you wish to maximize your harvest, you should remove spent flowers from the plant as soon as possible and select all newly opened blooms many times every week.
Fresh cut flower
Did you know that picking flowers at the right time can increase the amount of time they last in a vase? The following are some pointers on how to cut:
In a garden intended for cut flowers, sunflowers are an absolute necessity. Not only are they simple to cultivate, but the blooms they produce are bright and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Sunflowers can be broken down into two primary categories: single-stemmed and branching. Sunflowers with a single stem do precisely what you would expect them to do: they produce a single stalk that is capped with a single flower. You can put the seeds closer together (about 6 to 7 inches apart) when growing single stem varieties like the Pro Cut series to get more out of the space you have available for farming, but the flowers will be smaller as a result. Those that are planted at a grid spacing of one foot will produce blooms that are larger. Sunflowers with a single stem can survive in water for up to two weeks.
On the other side, branching sunflower types create plants that produce flowers over a more extended period of time during the growing season. In general, the stems are not as robust as those of single-stemmed sunflowers, and it takes several weeks longer for the flowers to appear in these varieties. Personally, I find it most beneficial to plant a small amount of each kind so that I have a more extended harvest season and more options overall.
One last thing you should know about sunflowers is that certain hybrids do not produce pollen, and therefore they do not leave behind pollen that can stain items like tablecloths and clothing. It is possible that you would like to cultivate these in your garden of cut flowers.
Growing your own cut flowers in raised beds or pots is simple and straightforward.
I absolutely adore sunflowers! And from the end of spring to the middle of summer, I plant new seeds around once every two to three weeks so that I may take advantage of the blossoms' extended season.
The velvety, long-lasting flowers of Celosia, which are available in an enticing array of colors, are one of my very favorite types of flowers. Some species have plumes made of feathers, while others have combs that are rounded and folded and are sometimes referred to as cockscombs. All of them make lovely cut flowers for bouquets made from homegrown flowers.
Because it takes Celosia a little bit longer to travel from seed to harvest than it would in my zone 5 garden, I grow them from seedlings instead of directly seeding them. You can either cultivate the seedlings yourself or purchase them from a nursery in the neighborhood. If, on the other hand, you have your heart set on a specific type, you should start your seeds inside about eight weeks before the last date that frost is expected in the spring. Chief Mix is an excellent combination of cockscomb strains that come in vibrant colors like as dark red, fuchsia, carmine, and gold.
Celosia is a plant that thrives in warm temperatures and likes to be grown in soil that has been amended with compost. After planting, it is a good idea to put horizontal netting over the bed to encourage tall, straight stems. The plants can grow to be between two and four feet tall and are top-heavy, so they benefit from having robust support.
Celosia is an attractive cut flower that is simple to cultivate and produces huge velvety blossoms.
The Chief Mix-Up Celosia is known for producing giant, velvety cockscomb flowers that are held atop plants that are between 36 and 40 inches tall.
Zinnias are the cut flower that I would choose to plant if I could only cultivate one type. In my vegetable garden each summer, I tend to at least a dozen different varieties and several different species. Zinnias offer an astonishing variety of flower sizes and colors, bloom continuously throughout the summer, and don't take much attention from the gardener. In addition to this, the time from seed to flower is concise. Despite this, my top choice for how to begin them is still indoors because it reduces the amount of time I have to wait before the event starts.
If you want to plant a bed of zinnias for cutting, you should leave about ten inches of spacing between the seedlings, and you should install horizontal netting one foot above the ground. The plants, as they mature, will push their way up through the netting, preventing them from toppling over in stormy weather or strong winds.
The size of the blooms on zinnias begins to decrease after the plants have been blossoming for a few weeks. Planting new seedlings at regular intervals ensures a continuous supply of huge, high-quality blooms throughout the growing season. Zinnia plants grown for cut flowers are frequently subjected to pinching in order to promote the growth of longer stems. When zinnias are around one foot tall, you should tweak them to encourage bushier growth. Remove the top few inches of the plant using clean pruners, then cut back until you reach a new set of leaves.
Zinnias are one of the most straightforward annuals to cultivate into cut blooms.
Zinnias can be used to create a rainbow in your landscape. After the danger of frost has gone, this beloved plant of cottage gardens is among the simplest cut flowers to cultivate and can be started from either direct seeding or transplanting. Huge, multicolored blossoms with a diameter of up to six inches can be produced by the Benary's Giant Mixed variety.
Rudbeckias can be divided into two categories: those that are hardy perennials and those that are grown as annuals. One example of the latter is Rudbeckia hirta. This busy cut flower starts blooming by the middle of July and keeps doing so throughout the entire summer if it is started indoors and then planted outside after the last spring frost.
These are pretty simple to cultivate, just like zinnias; however, in contrast to zinnias, they do not need to have their stems pinched in order to produce a large number of flowers. The Cherokee Sunset mix produces enormous flowers with a diameter of between four and five inches, with hues of rusty red, orange, bronze, yellow, and gold. A good number of the flowers are doubled, but there are also single and semi-doubled blooms present; the overall effect is one of a beautiful variety of floral colors and shapes.
There is a wide variety of annual flowers that can be cultivated in garden beds for use as cut flowers.
When you cultivate annual Rudbeckias like Cherokee Sunset, you'll be rewarded with enormous flowers that have a diameter of four to five inches and are colored in earthy tones of red, orange, gold, and chocolate.
Phlox, unlike the majority of the annual flowers that I've highlighted, do not transplant well and are typically direct seeded in the middle of spring or as soon as the soil can be prepared. This is because phlox does not enjoy being disturbed. If you decide to go ahead and start the seeds indoors, make sure to be very careful when you move the seedlings outside and try not to disrupt the roots of the plants.