7 Tips for Growing a Cut Flower Garden and How to Make Simple Arrangements

 

Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone shares her 7 tips for growing a beautiful cut flower garden and how to make gorgeous arrangements with your harvest!

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If you are not yet familiar or following along with Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone, I am so excited to introduce her to you all. Lisa shares delicious, from scratch recipes, natural living tips, and handmade projects on her blog. She also has an online shop where you can head over to purchase one of her personalized pillow covers, table-runners, and a variety of farmhouse fabrics.

Lisa was so kind to let me share some of her tips for growing a cut flower garden, and how to make beautiful and simple arrangements. I am only sharing her tips on the cut flower garden as I want to encourage you all to head over to her original post to read her advice on flower arranging, and to check out her shop and some of her other blog posts. I will include a link below to her original post so that you can catch the last few tips when you are finished here. 

Over here at our own house, we have some rose bushes and a few different varieties of flowers that are in full bloom, so I was excited to follow her tips for arranging to throw together a beautiful bouquet straight from our backyard. I opted out of putting them in the conventional vase, and instead arranged them in one of my favorite, blue tinted mason jars. I added a few sprigs of mint in for variety, made sure to include some stems that still had buds, and voila! I had a beautiful and simple flower arrangement from our homegrown flowers! I will share my arrangement soon on Instagram, here is Lisa's!

 
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I'm excited to incorporate Lisa's cut flower tips on the flowers that I already have growing, and to be a little more intentional with the seeds that I plant next year. I've never really intentionally planted a cut flower garden, we've just had random flowering plants around our yard. I may plant some that I can harvest late summer this year and I will definitely look into planting my own cut flower garden next spring! I plan on referring back to this post for all of her great advice. I hope you enjoy!

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All of the tips and photos shared in this post are from Lisa at Farmhouse on Boone.


I remember a conversation a few years ago when a friend, who grew a wide variety of cut flowers in a very small space, told me why she didn’t grow tomatoes and herbs. I was curious because, at the time, growing anything but vegetables seemed like efforts wasted.

I mean you can’t actually eat flowers, my practical side reasoned.

She lived in a city condo with a very small yard, and enjoyed flowers so much, that growing vegetables seemed like a waste of space to her.

You can buy vegetables at the store, was her logic.

 
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It only took a few years for me to do a 180 and realize the value in “wasting” a few rows of garden space on some carefully selected cut flower varieties.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily.”

The value of flowers was not lost on the speaker of this proverb.

Flowers are inherently beautiful. The joy gained from walking past fresh flowers is valuable in and of itself.  An end, not a means to an end.

They don’t feed your belly, but they do feed your soul.

They offer a special beauty that is only available for a few months out of the year.

Planting seeds, harvesting flowers and arranging them into beautiful bouquets are all part of the enjoyment for a gardener, knowing that they were planted for no other reason than to admire their beauty.

We certainly waste time and efforts on much more frivolous pleasures.

 

1. The more you cut, the more they produce.

 

Now this isn’t universally true for all flowers, so check the variety you are planning on planting.

For example, I grow peonies in early spring.  They are beautiful, and have the loveliest smell of any flower I have ever beheld, but they are short lived. Basically, they break almost every rule for a good cut flower candidate.  Once you cut them, you better get out the camera, because they last all of one to two days in a jar full of water. My plant produces about five or six large flowers, and that is all.  Cutting them back doesn’t encourage them to make more.

I’m guessing all these facts add up to the reason peonies are so dang expensive to buy in the store.

I find the same to be true for daffodils and gladiolus.

In my summer cut garden, I favor cosmos and zinnias, because they produce from late June through mid to late October, or whenever the first frost happens to be.

The more you cut, the more they produce.

Just two rows of zinnias and cosmos will keep your home in bouquets for all of summer, and most of fall.

Other great varieties are dahlias, sunflowers and lavender.

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2. “Dead head” your flowers.

 

My flower friend I talked about earlier taught me this lesson.

When you are out harvesting flowers, make sure to cut off all the dead , or dying, blooms that you didn’t get to yet.  The plant is wasting extra nutrients and water on a bloom that is already near the end of its life cycle, so relieve the plant of this burden by snipping off all the dead heads.

This will encourage the plant to send more energy on creating and opening new blooms, instead of maintaining the old.

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"They don't feed your belly, but they do feed your soul. 

-Lisa, Farmhouse on Boone

 

3. Plant flowers that are especially hardy to drought and weeds.

 

For me, this comes down to three  exceptional varieties, cosmos, zinnias and sunflowers. (This may vary, depending on the zone you are in.)

I have tried growing plenty of other types of flowers, but none have ever done as well as these three.

In fact, they are so easy to grow that I always get “volunteer” plants all over my garden from flowers that dropped seeds the fall before.

I have zinnias growing in my driveway.

They aren’t known to re-seed themselves, per se, but I have it happen in random spots around my garden and home every single year.

If you are a lazy gardener, like myself, you will really only need to weed when the seedlings are small and first coming up.  I usually neglect my weeding duties from June on, and my flower crop is none the worse for it.

I enjoy cut flowers all summer long.  More than I can even use.

Check your zone to find out which flowers grow best in your region.  Some are more suited to heat and humidity while some favor cooler environments and shade.

I live in Missouri, so summers are hot, humid and usually pretty dry.

It is necessary to keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating, but after that they can get by with very little water.

Bear in mind, I did not water the volunteer zinnias growing in my driveway, yet the seeds managed to sprout anyway, so they could probably handle that as well.  But as a general rule of thumb, seeds need to have moisture to germinate.

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4. Use natural weed repellent

 

I love this handy guide for using essential oils to ward off garden pests.

Zinnias are especially prone to beetles that eat little holes in the blooms and make the leaves look like lace. I have actually encountered this issue in my garden this year.

Essential oils like cedarwood, lemongrass, eucalyptus, thyme and peppermint mixed with a little water in a spray bottle can help keep pests away.

According to the doTERRA blog, “Vinegar makes an effective herbicide and weed killer.”

For weed control you can put mulch or grass clippings between the rows, and around established plants.

If you are brand new to gardening, make sure to do a google image search to find out what the seedlings look like for the seeds you are planting.  This way you will be able to differentiate the weeds from the tiny seedlings.

 

5. Long stem varieties that last up to a week after being cut are ideal for cut flowers.

 

Geraniums, the darling of hanging baskets everywhere, are beautiful, but their tiny stems make them terrible candidates for cut flowers.

You want something that can stand tall in a vase or mason jar.

Light blooms with strong stems do well for extended periods of time, after they are cut.

Like I mentioned before, peonies are my favorite flowers of all time, but you better take them in while you can.

The gorgeous top heavy blooms start to wither and fade away just a few days after being cut.

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Flowers are inherently beautiful. The joy gained from walking past fresh flowers is valuable in and of itself.  An end, not a means to an end.

-Lisa, Farmhouse on Boone

 

6. Choose plants that produce for several months.

 

For minimal effort and maximum blooms, select flower varieties that keep on producing like a tomato plant does, allllllll summer looooong.

My beloved cosmos continue on so long, that by late summer/early fall, they stand over seven feet tall. They start producing flowers when they are less than two feet tall.  They just keep going and going and going…

The only thing that can get them down, from my experience, is a frost.

And that my friends, in the life of a cut flower gardener, is a sad sad day. That’s when you bring in the pumpkins!

 

7. Choose blooms with colors and shapes that coordinate, and match your home decor style.

 

Be proactive in planting your cut flower garden by thinking ahead several weeks to the end result.

I made the mistake the first couple of years of just throwing seeds out there, without thinking about the bouquets and arrangements I would create with them for the next several months.

Maybe I wasn’t really confident anything would actually come up at all.

But when they did, I had oranges, reds, yellows and speckles, and all kinds of crazy mismatched blooms on my hands.

I planted every color zinnia on the market, and ended up with arrangements that looked tacky, and too vibrant for my home decor style.

Now, I choose flowers with softer shades, like white, pink and green.

 

 
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Be sure to PIN the image above so that you can refer back to these tips when you are planning your cut flower garden next spring. 

If you want to get Lisa's tips for arranging your cut flowers into simple and beautiful arrangements, head over to her original post from last summer here and scroll to the bottom!

In case you missed it, I shared a fun Ebook over on Lisa's blog explaining the, "7 Essentials for a Backyard Chicken Coop" which you can get your copy of through the link on her site! Click here to head over to the post. Be sure to watch her video as well, she explains the seven essentials along with some of the details on their own backyard chickens. Lisa has SO MANY great videos on from-scratch living and a handmade home so make sure to subscribe to her Youtube channel.  

Have any of you grown a cut flower garden before?! Do you have any more tips you would like to share?! Let us all know in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by and thank you to Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone for sharing her tips!