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Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Beginners Guide to Growing Cut Flowers

Growing flowers in your garden can be as appealing as growing food, because not only are flowers beautiful, but they’re pollinator magnets. Let’s get into the basics of growing cut flowers. 

This blog is inspired by Episode 128 of Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, where host Maria Failla interviewed Brooklyn Sherri, owner of Petal and Herb Farm.

Why Are Seed Packets Important? 

Seed packets can be crucial in helping you understand all the components that go into growing your cut flower garden. They provide information on when to plant, how long until germination, plant description, growing habits, how deep the seed should be planted, and helpful details on growth and harvesting. Make sure you do your homework on the seed company of your choosing to make sure they fit your needs. 

What Is My Growing Zone? 

Your growing zone helps you determine how long your frost-free growing season is. If you’re in the U.S., you can find your USDA plant hardiness zone by entering your zip code. 

Once you find your hardiness zone, you can also search for the last frost date in your zip code. Your first and last frost dates will show you how many frost-free growing days you have in a season. This can help you figure out when to plant each of your cut flower varieties. 

What Growing Conditions Do Flowers Need? 

Most flowers prefer well-draining soil. If you’re starting with clay soil that tends to hold water, you want to amend it with compost or peat moss to provide more drainage. Additionally, you can mix in bagged garden soil, like Espoma’s Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil to add structure and drainage. 

Sun needs will also vary by flower, but a general rule is 6 hours of direct sun for flowers. Whether you’re direct sowing seeds outdoors or transplanting plants, make sure each variety is in a location with enough sun. 

Water requirements for annual flowers may be higher during Summer months, but in general, deep, infrequent watering is best. About one inch of water per week is enough. 

Fertilizing requirements will depend on the specific flower you’re growing. If you notice foliage yellowing, it can often mean your plant is low in nitrogen. Or if you have lots of green foliage but no blooms, that could indicate you have a phosphorous problem. Try Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer to get large, healthy blooms. 

 

Now that you know basic care for growing cut flowers, check out our list of the 7 best flowers to grow from seed as a beginner

1) Sunflowers

Sunflowers are some of the easiest annual flowers to grow from seed. You can directly sow them outdoors in full sun with minimal effort. They come in so many sizes and colors too! 

2) Zinnias

Zinnias are another easy annual flower to grow from seed in full sun. They only take about 60-70 days to bloom from seed, and there are tons of varieties like double flowered, dwarfs, cactus, and giant zinnias. They also come in a wide range of stunning colors! 

3) Daisies

Unlike sunflowers and zinnias, daisies are a perennial flower that will come back year after year. You can start them from seed outdoors as long as you keep them moist for up to twenty days. Otherwise, they grow great from transplants and continue to spread every year. They come in whites, yellows, pinks, and reds.

4) Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are an annual flower that can deal with cooler temperatures. Plant them in very early Spring and you’ll have beautiful pastel bouquets in a couple of months. Since they are vining plants, give them something to climb like a trellis.

5) Snapdragons

While snapdragons will need to be started from seed indoors 2-3 months before your last frost, the payoff in blooms will be worth it. Pay attention to the seed packet for best germination methods. The more you cut snapdragon blooms and create branching, the more blooms you’ll get. And snapdragons come in so many different colors that you’ll be creating gorgeous bouquets for weeks! 

6) Cosmos

Cosmos are another easy-to-grow annual that produce tons of Summer blooms. They come in a variety of heights and colors, and their long, slender stems make for an easy addition to any cut flower bouquet.

7) Strawflower

And finally we have the humble, yet unmistakable strawflower. This annual is another easy-to-grow flower from seed that can handle any soil quality you have. Its textured petals feel similar to straw and make gorgeous cut or dried flower bouquets. 

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To give your cut flowers a healthy start, try using Espoma’s Flower-Tone Fertilizer during the growing season for larger, more abundant blooms. 

About Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast

 Bloom & Grow Radio Podcast helps people care for plants successfully and cultivate more joy in their lives. Host Maria Failla, a former plant killer turned happy plant lady, interviews experts on various aspects of plant care, and encourages listeners to not only care for plants, but learn to care for themselves along the way.

About Our Interviewee

Brooklyn Sherri is a flower farmer with many skills. She runs her own flower farm, Petal & Herb, where they produce flowers, vegetables, berries, herbs, and microgreens all on 5 acres of land in Colorado. Brooklyn also hosts Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse and teaches horticulture at The Cool Choice to improve the opportunities for children and families in her neighborhood. 

​​Follow Brooklyn:

Instagram

Petal and Herb Farm

Ya Grandma’s Garden & Houseplants on Clubhouse

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Cutting Flowers and Planting Fall Crops with Garden Answer

Follow along as Laura from @Garden Answer cuts some especially beautiful flowers for some friends! Stick around as she provides some helpful tips for cutting flowers and to see which Espoma products she uses while planting fall crops!

 

 

Featured Products:

 

Meet the Team: Q&A with Bonnie Satterthwaite

Here at Espoma, our products are only as great as the team behind them. That’s why we’re excited to begin our Q&A series where you’ll get to learn a bit more about the talented folks behind the brand. We want you to see for yourself just how our company is comprised of hard-working people who genuinely care about our customers and everything plant- and garden-related!

First up is our Southeast Territory Sales Manager, Bonnie Satterthwaite. Bonnie has been with us for 14 years! We’d love to tell you about all her and the amazing things she has done for Espoma over the years, but we figured it would be best to hear it straight from the source. So, we sat down with Bonnie and let her put it in her own words.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

A: Developing relationships and often becoming friends with our customers. And, of course, the opportunity to visit all of the fabulous garden centers in my area.

Q: What about your personal life? Any new hobbies helping to pass the time? 

A: I purchased a rowing machine, but have yet to leave the dock…

Q: Tell us about your personal garden, yard, or plants. 

A: I truly love gardening, and I know that passion resonates with my dealers. I maintain a floral cutting garden, a white/night garden, over 150 hydrangeas, and a hydrangea graveyard.

 

Q: What is your top gardening tip? 

A: Never think you are finally finished and get rid of non-performers!

Q: What’s one Espoma product you couldn’t live without?

A: Without hesitation, BioTone Starter Plus. I do not plant without it. I have seen what it does for plants and transplants. I have seen unsolicited “with and without” trials by garden centers who use the “trust and verify” model. It is an amazing product. I am proud to recommend all of the Espoma line, because of our dedication to quality, the environment, and the safety of children and pets.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of gardening?

A: My favorite aspect is certainly the seasonal outdoor garden beds — just tending the garden beds and the joy of watching things flourish. There comes, for me, great satisfaction from the hard work — and I find the whole process relaxing.  I love a morning and late evening stroll around the garden.

Q: What made you want to enter the gardening industry? 

A: I was a stay-at-home mom and my sister was a grower for a local garden center. She asked me to come and help her plant 10,000 geraniums during school hours. The owner of both the growing operation and garden center told me I talked too much to be in the greenhouse and asked if I would come to his garden shop during the busy season and talk to customers. And there you go….

Q: Tell us what made you want to work at Espoma and what makes it a special place to work?

A: I met Jeremy Brunner on a garden center bus tour and, unbeknownst to me, my Espoma adventure was about to start. I was very happy at my previous job, but Jeremy’s passion and vision for the growth of the Espoma company was something that was missing from my previous job. I wanted to be a part of something that I could see and feel was going to be spectacular. Espoma cares just as deeply for their work family as they do for their products. So, for me, there was just no question on where I wanted to continue my career.

We were so fortunate to have Bonnie join us when she did — and we hope to keep her around for as long as possible! At Espoma, we definitely pride ourselves on being able to congregate hard-working employees who genuinely enjoy the gardening industry the same way our loyal customers do. Thanks for all you do, Bonnie!

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5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden

Summer weather brings with it new planting projects. If you love having a fresh bouquet of flowers to keep you happy and refreshed while you’re spending more time than usual indoors, it may be time to start your own cutting garden. And the best part about it is that it’s completely customizable to what you like. You can grow roses, shrubs, perennials, and even bulbs. Try growing berry bushes to add an accent to your next bouquet!

If you’ve always thought growing your own flowers isn’t worth the hassle, take a look at these five reasons for why you should definitely reconsider. And don’t forget to stop by your local garden center to find out which plants will work best in your yard.

1. So many blooms

If you love to spend all day staring at your vase of flowers every time there’s a special occasion, you’re going to love having a cutting garden. When all the flowers are in your backyard, you get to enjoy them inside and outside! Plus, there’s no more waiting around for special occasions. When you use Espoma’s Bio-Starter Plus, your flowers will be ready to be freshly picked every week.

2. Health benefits

Gardening really can be a great workout. All the same, it can be incredibly relaxing and meditative. Take a moment to get some fresh air, move around by digging and planting, and reap the benefits later (physical wellbeing and fresh flowers)!

3. Unlimited bouquets

Who says you have to stop at one bouquet a week? Fill your entire home with color-coated bunches of fresh flowers! Once your garden is fully bloomed, you no longer have to run to the store or tip for delivery.

4. Quality bonding time

There’s no better way to teach the kids how to care for living things and to connect with nature — all while spending quality time together. Even if you don’t have room in your yard, taking a family trip to a community garden can also help expand your circle of friends!

5. Curb appeal

If you do have room in your own yard, your cutting garden will instantly boost your curb appeal! Your home will not only be filled with beautiful flowers but will be surrounded by them too. Proper maintenance with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! will help keep your neighbors green with envy and your plants nice and bright.

Are you convinced yet? As you can see, there are numerous benefits to starting your own cutting garden, and very few cons! Who wouldn’t want unlimited access to fresh flowers? Even when you have to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, you’re still getting a great workout and great payoff. Find your nearest garden center and get started today.

Top Picks for Growing A Cutting Garden:

5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden

The temperature is only getting warmer, which means it’s time to start a cutting garden! From lilies, to dahlias and zinnias, you can have nonstop blooms.

Cutting gardens can include anything from roses and shrubs to perennials, annuals and even bulbs. Cuttings from berry bushes can even make a great complement to fall bouquets. The fun doesn’t stop with just pretty vases and bouquets, you can also grow flowers for dried arrangements in the cutting garden.

You may be wondering why you would want to spend time in the sun and dirt all day. Trust us! The five reasons below are just a few personal favorites of why growing a cutting garden is worth it.

Stop by your local garden center to find out which plants will work best in your yard for your cutting garden.

5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden:

1. So Many Blooms

Nothing beats a fresh cut flower arrangement. It’s even better when it’s handpicked from your cutting garden. Enjoy blooms both in your garden and your favorite vase. Feed blooms with Espoma’s Bio-Starter Plus when you plant for extra flower power.

2. The Health Benefits

Digging, planting and working in the garden all benefits your physical and mental wellbeing. Gardening gets your body moving. Unplug from electronics for a bit and enjoy the fresh air. It will help clear your mind.

3. Unlimited Bouquets

There’s no reason to never have fresh flowers for bouquets when your cutting garden is in bloom. Those endless bouquets don’t come with a price tag and there’s no need to tip the delivery person.

4. Bring The Family Together

Gardening brings people together. Whether you are trying to get your family involved or are looking for some help, gardeners are open and honest about everything. If you don’t have a place to garden at home, join a community garden and make friends who also like to get their hands dirty.

5. Boost Curb Appeal

Having a cutting garden will help boost curb appeal. Surround your property with beautiful flowers of all kinds for a look that will make your neighbors green with envy. Proper maintenance and Espoma’s liquid Bloom! will have your house looking picture perfect, and boost your real estate values, too!

Think hydrangeas would be perfect for your cutting garden? Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to plant them.

 

Top Picks for Growing A Cutting Garden:

Bloom! Plant Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Never Goes Out of Style – Transition into a Fall Cutting Garden

Seeing all of your hard work and tiny seedlings bloom into amazing plants full of color is the best part about gardening. It’s easy to bring the essence of the outdoors inside. All you need is a cutting garden.

Choose blooms that will make you happy, even if they don’t look particularly pleasing next to each other in the garden. This is your place to be creative and make amazing floral bouquets to brighten your indoor spaces.

Top Autumn Plants for Cutting Gardens

Autumn brings a change of color. This list shows off vibrant fall plants that will keep your bouquets fresh and on trend.

1. Goldenrod

This filler adds a bright pop of color to any arrangement. The mustard yellow flower can vary from short, packed blooms to long, spacious blooms. Goldenrods require minimal care and can grow almost anywhere.

2. Blue Mist Spirea

A reliable performer, blue mist spireas are the perfect addition to any fall cutting garden. Use individual stems or entire branches of this purple-blue flower. Blue mist spirea will grow about 2’ to 3’ tall and wide with 1” clusters of flowers.

3. Sunflower

Since sunflowers come in a variety of colors, keep autumn tones in mind. Seeds are easily germinated and will bloom within 60 days after germination. Pollen-free sunflowers are best for bouquets.

Where to Start:

1. Choose Your Site

Scope out an open, well-drained, sunny spot for your cutting plants. The size of the space depends on how many plants you want to grow. Don’t think you have space? Plant cutting flowers between your vegetables rows. Or add them to containers on your patio or balcony!

2. Plan Your Plants

Check plant tags to see if your site meets the requirements for sun exposure and growing conditions. Be sure to keep the layout of the garden in mind. Leave spaces between the rows to make cutting and collecting easier. Plants that are the same height work better together— for you and the plant.

3. Prepare the Ground

Make sure your soil is clear of any debris and weeds – you don’t want your flowers competing with anything else. Work in several scoops of Espoma’s Bio-Tone Starter Plus in to the soil, to give your plants a good head start.

4. Planting Your Garden

Planting with seeds or seedlings are both great options for this garden. They are planted an inch into loose soil. Fertilize regularly with Espoma’s Liquid Bloom! Plant Food for the best results. Make sure to water flowers at least weekly.

As your plants start to bloom, keep cutting. The more you cut the more flowers you will get! It’s as easy as that.

Looking for more inspiration? Learn how to plant this easy fall flower container with Laura from Garden Answer.