It was requested by a couple of my online allotment buddies that I write a blog about growing cut flowers. That makes me sound like an expert, I can assure you I’m not, but I have been growing them for a few years now and I started off not knowing a single thing about it.
Most will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get hold of a few seed catalogues but I’m going to tell you to stop right there!!
The first thing you need to do is think about your arrangements, obviously that’s the point of growing cut flowers to begin with, so you can display them proudly and loudly within your home. So it’s no good flicking through a seed catalogue buying what individually catches your eye. Seriously, I wish someone had told me this, it would have saved me a penny or two! Not only will it save you some pennies, you will avoid growing lots of flowers that don’t complement each other. You wouldn’t put a bird of paradise with a foxglove would you?
So look at some of the many beautiful arrangements out there either by florists, or on pinterest or instagram. Look at how they put them together, what foliage do they use, what colours have they gone with, textures, seasonal, what statement flowers and what backdrop flowers, simple or extravagant?
Once you have an idea of how you want to arrange your blooms then you are ready to get the seed catalogues out! My personal favourites are Higgledy Garden (whose seed packets and ethics are amazing), Sarah Raven, Plants of Distinction and Good Old Mr Fothergill (a trusty fave).
You want to pick plants that aren’t going to cost you the earth, so go with seeds. Annuals may be short-lived but give great yields and the more you pick the more blooms you get for your buck. Bulbs are great, but they get pricey if you are using them for cutting. If you insist on a few bulbs for cutting I’d suggest Allium, Tulips and Lillies. Tubers however like Dahlias are fantastic and just like annuals they will continue to bloom once cut and really add the wow factor to an arrangement. I also recommend growing some perennials too. Make sure you’ve also chosen plants/seed for the seasons as well. If you are growing in this country then you’re not going to be teaming a dahlia with an Allium. When selecting your flowers for arrangements make sure they also bloom at the same time, to avoid disappointment.
How to grow them? This is the easy part, sow them according to the packet instructions. Us up north usually have to add a week or two to the recommended time just to be safe, nothing worse than failed seedlings or worse killed ones!! So start them off in trays and modules, this usually to give them a head start against the slugs and other nasties and they will establish a good root system too.You want to prepare a bed, size is entirely yours and how adventurous you want to be, my first bed was 2ft x 2ft and I got about 5 good strong plants in there, my second was 4ft x 10ft and I must have had over 30 plants in there.
Once you’ve allocated your space and got your seeds sown, get that patch ready for your new babies. Just like a veg bed really, it will need digging over, removing of any weeds and roots, feeding with either well-rotted manure or blood, fish and bone, a good sprinkle of grit and a little sand too if you have really heavy clay soil and a top dress of compost. Give it all a good mix and wallah you’re ready to plant up!
Once your plants have been in the patch a few weeks and are spitting out those blooms get cutting, be mean (they love it). You’re not growing these as a garden decorative so cut…… cut, cut, cut and they will give you more more more!!
Thanks for reading. In case you were wondering and this has tickled you to get going and you want to know what I love to grow for cut flowers then stay tuned. Next week I will give you my ‘Cut Flowers Can’t Live Without’ list! Until then give me a likey and if you have any questions or want to share your experience with cut flowers then comment below.
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