My Design Tips for a Cut Flower Garden

Flowers are a gorgeous and versatile addition to any garden.

ornamental flowers in a mixed garden bed

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When you think of a cut flower garden, you may immediately picture flowers grown in monocultures in orderly rows. But a cut flower garden certainly does not have to take this form. 

You can create a cut flower garden in a range of different ways, and you can use your garden to produce both food and flowers for your home at the same time. By integrating functions and creating polycultures, you can do all of this while gardening in an organic, eco-friendly, and sustainable way. 

Consider Annuals, Biennials, Perennials 

The first thing to remember is that there are numerous flowering plants that are perfect for cut flower gardens. So, don't limit yourself in terms of the types and varieties that you grow. 

When thinking about which types of flowers you'd like, be sure to consider annuals, biennials, and perennials. Don't forget to think about bulbs, as well as perennials, with other root systems. And remember that foliage plants can be useful for household displays and arrangements.

Consider Bloom Time: Make Sure There Are Flowers to Cut Year-Round

One of the most important things in a cut flower garden is to make sure there are blooms available to cut and display over as much of the year as possible. 

It is a good idea to make plans for your garden, no matter what form it takes, and to understand when you would expect to cut the flowers from each area throughout the year. 

Remember, annual flowers will be grown only over a single season. Biennials have a two-year lifecycle, and perennials will bloom over a number of years. 

Having flowers in bloom over as much of the year as possible helps to draw in pollinators and other beneficial wildlife to your space.

girl smells flower blooms in garden

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Integrate Annual Flowers With Annual Food Production

Consider companion planting annual flowers such as sunflowers, amaranth, cosmos, calendula, marigold, and sweet peas, for example, in garden beds alongside food crops. Remember, many annual flowers can be edible, too, providing an additional yield in their own right, as well as being attractive and good for arrangements and displays.

Choose flowers not only for cutting, but for the benefits that they can provide to other plants growing nearby.

Add additional raised beds or growing areas for dedicated flower production within your kitchen garden. As with annual fruits and vegetables, annual flowers for cutting can be grown in rows, or in grids in square-foot gardens to maximize the use of space.

But you can also think outside the box and develop attractive growing areas in a range of shapes and forms. Creating a circular mandala garden, for example, is an attractive way to lay out beds for cut flower gardens.

If growing flowers for cutting in separate beds within a kitchen garden, consider how they might be incorporated into a crop rotation scheme

Surround your vegetable beds with a border of annual flowers and herbs, or use plants for cutting as bed edging or path edging. 

arranging cut flowers in a vase

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Create Perennial Cutting Gardens for Sun and Shade

Create a range of habitats for diverse flowers and foliage plants, e.g. forest gardens, woodland gardens, rain gardens, bog gardens, xeriscaping, etc.

Choose the right flowering plants for the right places. Think about things like sun and shade, wind, water, and soil. Consider the wealth of options native to your area. Native plants are often best adapted to your environment and provide more benefits to local wildlife and ecology.

Layer plantings, considering trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous flowering plants. Line paths, beds, and borders with bulbs or shorter ground cover planting. Keep access in mind when designing pathways; make sure you can reach and cut flowers easily.

Consider self-seeding annuals and biennials, too, within a perennial planting scheme. Combine plants for symbiosis (beneficial interactions) as well as aesthetics. Incorporate edible perennials (vegetables and herbs) amid your flowering perennials.

These are just some things to think about if you would like to create a cut flower garden where you live. 

Whether your primary focus is aesthetic or practical, cutting flowers for display within your home, to give away to family and friends or even to sell, this is just one more way to make the most of your outside space.