SPONSORED: The 411 on Cultivating a Cutting Garden

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There are so many plants that work well in cut arrangements. Notice the word “flower” was left out there, as some of the most interesting additions to an arrangement are greenery or stems. Consider where you have room to add plants. How much space is available, and how much sun does that area get? Is the goal to have year-round arrangements or mostly late spring to fall? Once you have these details figured out, it’s time to visit the garden center.

Annuals are the workhorse of a summer-into-fall cutting garden, however, some of the varieties typically used as bedding plants tend to be a bit short. Look for taller growing varieties and be prepared to start some by seed. A few of the best annuals for cut flowers include zinnias, sunflowers, amaranth, celosia and cosmos.

Many of the perennials, shrubs and trees in your landscape can also make great cut flowers. Oftentimes, summer blooming perennials will rebloom when deadheaded, which is basically what you are doing as you collect for your arrangements. A few perennials to consider include coneflower, agastache, shasta daisy, gaillardia, tall phlox, veronica, coreopsis and yarrow. Just like the difference between bedding annuals and cut flowers, the mature growing size is key.

Baptisia has dramatic spikes of pea-shaped blooms ranging from blue, white, yellow or bicolored, and can have a vase life of seven to 10 days when cut early and given floral preserves. It also provides foliage for the whole season, and if seed pods are allowed to develop, they make wonderful additions to fall arrangements. Lemon meringue is especially striking — the yellow is so bright and clear, it almost appears to glow.

Credit: The Good Earth Garden Center

Last, but not least is the O.G. of cut flower gardens. Peonies are a dramatic must-have for cutting gardens with the right amount of sun. They may not rebloom all season, but that just makes them even more special. Plus, they’re perennials.

While many annual cut flowers want a lot of sun, there are plenty of shade lovers for the vase, including a number of shrubs. Perennial hostas and ferns bring great texture. Astilbe has wonderful flowers, as do a number of different hydrangeas. Utilize bleeding hearts for flowers and foliage. A few others include columbine, Solomon’s seal, sea oats and anemone.

For the best visual interest, mix and match shapes — disks, spikes and airy forms all show nicely — and get creative. Consider fatsia leaves, variegated abelia, plumosa fern and herbaceous hibiscus leaves.

Make clean cuts with a clean utensil, and make careful cuts that won’t affect the shape negatively. This is especially true on trees and shrubs, where you should cut at branching if possible. Keep arrangements out of direct sun and away from heat sources for best preservation.

For plants whose blooms will be harvested, fertilize well and often at the appropriate times. Watch for water and pest stress and treat as needed.

Happy growing! 


For more information about creating a year-round cutting garden, visit The Good Earth Garden Center website.

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