Flowers for Cutting

Flowers for Cutting

If you're someone who walks straight towards the tent of blooming bouquets at the farmers market or finds themself staring longingly at the artfully-arranged sprays of flowers and foliage in florist shop windows, you already know the joy of bringing freshly-cut flowers into your home. But there's nothing quite like going out into your garden to create a bouquet of your own that will have pride of place on your kitchen table. While most any garden can supply a sporadic bouquet here-and-there, with a little planning, you can keep coming back to your garden throughout the year for freshly cut bouquets.

Starting a Cutting Garden

One way way to keep a steady supply of flowers coming from your garden for use in floral arrangements is to create a dedicated cutting garden. In the traditional sense, a cutting garden is a utilitarian space more akin to a vegetable garden, with flowers planted in rows and staked with supports. These gardens are great for generating blooms, but they aren't always the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, as the traditional elements of garden design are often sacrificed in the name of production. But we think that you can plant a cutting garden that is beautiful in-and-of itself — one that can even be a design feature!

One thing to keep in mind when designing any garden space — but especially a cutting garden — is to include paths every four feet or so. In a typical garden, this will help immensely with maintenance, but in a cutting garden, these paths are necessary to actually reach the flowers you want to cut without otherwise disturbing your beds.

Even if you don't necessarily want to dedicate a large garden to growing cut flowers, there are other ways to incorporate flower production into your garden. You might consider dotting a few areas dedicated to the cause throughout your garden, or simply choosing plants for your perennial borders that respond well to cutting. Below, you will find a few of our go-to plants that we particularly appreciate for their floriferous performance in — and out of — the cutting garden.


Cut Flowers for Sun:

Cut Flowers for Shade:

Cut and Come Again

Clearly, there are more cut flowers out there than just the ones on the list above! When trying to discern if a plant will be good for cut flowers, flower power is obviously key. The ideal cutting garden plant is one that produces an abundance of flowers over a long period of time, allowing you to "cut and come again." Dahlias are one classic perennial that fits the bill. Cosmos, zinnias, and gomphrena are annuals that fall into the same category, and they are easy to grow from seed. Interestingly, cutting the blooms off of these plants can actually trigger them to repeat bloom!

Looking at a plant's growth habit will also tell you a lot about how it will work as both a cut flower and general garden subject. Plants that send up multiple flower stalks will allow you to take a few flowers without severely diminishing their garden display, making them great dual-purpose plants. Poppies, geums, and others fall into this category. Many annual sunflowers also fall into this category; look for branched varieties that produce multiple flowers on a single plant for the biggest "bang for your buck."

Some perennials send will only send up a single, terminal flower stem in a given year, but are still worth growing for their amazing flowers. Lilies, as well as many irises and iris relatives like crocosmias and gladiolus, fall into this category. Because of this, they are best grown in clumps or groups so that you can cut some and still leave a few for your garden. Try to look for varieties with longer flower stems that rise above the foliage, which can be more easily cut without taking too many of the leaves that the plant needs to photosynthesize. This will help to ensure that the plants have enough energy to return with a beautiful display year-after-year. (Long stems are also extremely useful for virtually any flower when it comes time to arrange a vase full of blooms!)

At Cornell Farm, we have a wide selection of plants that work well as cut flowers. Our knowledgeable team members would be happy to assist you in picking out the perfect variety for your home and are always available to answer any questions about their care.