Growing Cut Flowers
If you like cut flowers in your home you probably don’t like the cost of buying them. Even in supermarkets, the price tag isn’t cheap, and the cost can add up if you purchase them on a regular basis.
So why not grow your own? With a cutting garden, you can avoid the extra costs that growers in South America pass along to consumers for transporting their flowers great distances. You can avoid the toxic chemicals used in growing acres of mass-produced flowers, and you can provide much-needed nectar and pollen for insects.
But before you rush out to the garden center to add some plants to the yard, consider these tips for growing and harvesting cut flowers:
- Create a dedicated bed for your cutting garden. This allows you to group together plants with the same watering and feeding needs.
- Choose a site that receives the full sun that most cut flowers require for blooming and work in plenty of rich organic matter, such as compost, for providing lots of nutrients.
- Start seeds indoor in late winter for transplanting to the cutting garden in spring.
- Plant in rows rather than groups. This makes your garden easier to maintain when it comes to watering, weeding, fertilizing and cutting.
- Stagger your plantings to achieve continuous bloom throughout the growing season.
- Cut blooms promptly to encourage more re-bloom and cut them before the buds have fully opened since they will continue to open in the vase.
- Make cuts above a node, or dormant bud, to spur new blooms.
- Cut flowers in the cool of early morning rather than the heat of the afternoon and evening.
- Keep plants healthy by using only sharp, clean tools for cutting.
- Place cuttings in a bucket of lukewarm water.
- Once indoors, re-cut stems under running water before submerging them in water and flower preservative.
- Make cuts at an angle for providing more surface for absorbing water and remove any foliage below the water line.
- Change the water in the vase every day or so and recut stems, which seal as they sit in water.
Here are some easy-care plants that make great candidates for a cutting garden: feverfew, ageratum, zinnia, bishop’s lace, phlox, aster, dahlia, foxgloves, bachelor button, sunflower, celosia, cockscomb, rudbeckia, snapdragon and statice.