A cutting garden is a perfect garden to start this year! Here are 10 flowers to grow in a cutting garden this year (that are easy even for a first time gardener)
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the flower seeds and bulbs to choose from to create a cut flower garden! There are thousands of varieties out there…where do you even start?? I’ll give you a quick guide for 10 easy flowers you can grow…even if you have never gardened before,
Grow With Me Gardening Series
This is part of the Grow With Me Gardening Series here at Cottage On Bunker Hill. I want to teach you ways of starting, maintaining, and enjoying gardening. I will share all the tips & tricks that I have learned over the years growing both vegetable and flower gardens here in the Northeast.
Easy Flowers To Grow
•If I could only grow one flower in my garden it would be zinnias! Last year I planted 8 different varieties and they brought me so much joy.
•Although you could start your zinnia seeds indoors, it’s really easy to just direct-sown them. One thing to note is that zinnias love warm soil…so don’t be in a rush to plant your seeds on your last frost date! Wait a week or two.
•Looking back at my pictures from last year, I planted my seeds on June 10 and by July 14 I had flower buds. Memorial Day weekend is when I usually plant the tender annuals and vegetables around here.
•Zinnias will continue producing blooms until late in the season…I had flowers right until we had a hard freeze at the end of October.
Here’s one of my ice-covered blooms…sad!!
A Few of My Favorite Varieties of Zinnias:
- Queen Lime w/ Blush (Johnny’s)
- Benary’s Giant Carmine Rose (Johnny’s)
- Cupcakes Series (Select Seeds)
- Mazurkia (Select Seeds)
• What can I say about dahlias…it was love at first sight!! I’m not sure why in all my years of gardening I haven’t grown dahlias.
• Dahlias are available in a huge variety of colors and sizes. Even the blooms range from a small flower to dinner plate dahlias which are enormous!
• Plant the dahlia tubers after your last frost date.
• Dahlias are winter hardy in zones 8-11 but for 3-7, you will have to dig up the tubers after the first frost and bring them in for winter storage.
• They are late-season bloomers but it’s worth the wait! Dahlias will continue flowering until your first frost.
dahlias to look for:
- Jowey WInnie (White Flower Farm)
- Cafe Au Lait (White Flower Farm)
- Crème de Cassis (White Flower Farm)
- Penhill Watermelon (White Flower Farm)
• An old-fashioned garden favorite!
• Snapdragons should be started indoors 8-10 weeks before your last frost date. The seeds need light for germination which means that you do not cover the seeds just press them lightly into the seed-starter mix.
• Snapdragons are available in some stunning colors and look amazing in cut flower arrangements!
Amazing Snapdragons To Try:
- University of California Mix (Select Seeds)
- Madame Butterfly Mix (Johnny’s)
- Potomac Orange (Select Seeds)
- Potomac Early Sunrise Mix (Johnny’s)
•Cosmos are carefree plants! They are pretty easygoing and don’t require special care. I basically plant my seeds and forget about them. They are also will reseed themselves if you leave the spent flowers on the stalks.
•I like to sow tall Cosmos seeds near the edge of my garden fence (in the space between my raised beds and the fence) and just let them grow. They are such happy-looking flowers that resemble daisies.
•Be on the lookout for some of the different varieties of Cosmos. There are the basic pink and red ones like in my photo, but also some varieties that have such interesting petals like the Seashell variety (which has ruffled tubular petals), Doubleclick (which has double bloomed flowers…so pretty!!), and a beautiful variety called Cupcake that resembles a cupcake wrapper!
• You can usually find a few different Cosmos seeds on the seed displays at the big home stores.
cosmos varieties i’m growing:
- Cupcakes Blush (Johnny’s)
- Apricot Lemonade (Select Seeds)
- Seashells Mix (Select Seeds)
• I added strawflowers to my cutting garden so I could dry out the flowers…but I just fell in love with these last year! They were one of my favorite flowers to photograph because of all the texture on each one.
• It is recommended that you start strawflower seeds indoors about 6 weeks before your last frost date. The seeds need light to germinate so just gently pat them onto the surface of the grow pot. I did start seeds directly in the garden but since they need light to germinate you have more worries like the rain washing seeds away or a bird eating them.
• Strawflowers are heat tolerant and drought tolerant once they are established too.
Strawflowers To Try:
- Silvery Rose (Select Seeds)
- Scarlet (Select Seeds)
- Sultane Mix (Select Seeds)
6. Sweet Peas
- Sweet Peas are a climbing flower so you will need some sort of trellis or fence for them to grab on to as they grow. You don’t need anything fancy…a netting trellis works great.
- They are known for their sweet fragrant scent.
- To grow sweet peas you should either start them indoor about 6 weeks before your last frost date for early blooms or start the seeds outdoors in late winter/early Spring once your soil is workable. They thrive in the cooler temps.
- I started them indoors last year and didn’t have great luck transplanting them (mostly because we had a whacky Spring in New Hampshire) and then a baby bunny finished them off… so this year I am going to direct sow the seeds as soon as I can.
- Every part of the sweet pea from the seed to the flowers is poisoness...be careful if you have young children or pets in your garden.
popular sweet peas:
- Heirloom Fragrance Seed Collection (Select Seeds)
- Sweet Pea ‘Old Spice’ (Select Seeds)
- Sweet Pea ‘Streamers Chocolate’ (Johnny’s)
- This is one of the funnest flowers to grow (in my opinion). I just adored the soft, fuzzy flowers!!!
- There are a few different types of celosia: cockscomb(the wavy ones that look like coral), plumes that resemble flames, and a spiked variety. All the different types of celosia are available in a wide assortment of colors. Most garden centers will carry 6 packs of the plumed varety.
- Celosia makes a great dried flower, I just hung them upside down on my peg board.
- One thing that I learned growing them for the first time last year is that they produce enourmous amounts of seed…the seeds resemble poppy seeds. In the Fall I cut a few of the flowers to gather seeds from. What I did was open a paper lunch bag and put the flower in upside down to dry out, then rub my finger along the edge and the seeds fell to the bottom of the paper bag. One flower gave me hundreds of seeds!
try these celosia:
- If you have never seen a live amaranth plant it’s really something to behold. The plants don’t take up much space, the stems grow straight up and the leaves are fairly small compared the flowers.
- The flowers are real drama queens! I grew 2 varieties last season…one reminded me of flowing dreadlocks and the other one reminded me of a big red torch.
- You can start amaranth seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost or direct sow the seeds after your last frost date. I started my amaranth directly in the garden and they thrived and once they got growing they sprouted up so tall so quickly!
- Amaranth add so much visual interest when you add them to your Summer vases of flowers, it’s defintiely one flower I will continue to add to my gardens every year. They are also a great dried flower.
Amaranth that I grew:
- Coral Fountain (Johnny’s)
- Amaranth ‘Opopeo’ (Floret Flowers)
- Who doesn’t love sunflowers?? They are the perfect flower to put your kids in charge of planting because they will love how big the plants get!
- There are so many colors and sizes of sunflowers now…something that works for every garden! From sunflowers with small flower heads to giant fluffy flowers.
- Sunflowers are a favorite of honey bees and I just leave the flower heads on the stems to dry out for the birds to munch on in the Fall.
Fun Sunflowers to grow:
- ‘Giant Sungold’ (Select Seeds)
- ‘Procut Plum’ (Select Seeds)
- ‘Sun-Fill Purple (Johnny’s) (new one for me…can’t wait to see it in bloom!)
- There are different types of poppies: Iceland, Shirley, Breadseed, and Califorinia.
- The Iceland poppies are the most difficult to grow…I can attest that one!! They are beautiful but I think are a fussy flower to try…especially for a new gardenere so I would suggest one of the other varieties.
- Breadseed poppies leave those cool seed pods after they are finished blooming.
- California are long blooming and super easy to grow.
- It’s best to start poppies directly in the garden…they really don’t take well to being transplanted.
beautiful poppies to try:
- Shirley ‘Amazing Grey’ (Select Seeds) (I bought these, so pretty!)
- California ‘Pink Champagne’ (Select Seeds)
- Poppy ‘Drama Queen’ (Select Seeds)
Jennifer, I just came across your column about flowers and how to plant then. I want to plant some cutting flowers in our yard. What do you suggest for zone 9? We live in North Florida (Jacksonville area) I have had luck with a ground cover called Blue my mind I believe. It was a little blue flower that spreads nicely. The soil is tough to plant in, because it is a combination of dead sod and tree roots. We had to use an auger to dig small holes. But we planted hostas. African Iris, society garlic, and the ground cover blue my mind. I’m sure there is a botanical name but that’s what the card said. I wanted high and low flowers to give it interest. What suggestions would you recommend giventhe soil and zone 9 we’re in. It’s also a semi shady spot on the east side of the yard. . Thanks Happy planting Mary Ann Motto orange park FL
Mary Ann, let me check in with some of my warm weather garden girls!! I’ve always lived in zone 5 or 6. You have completely different options than me stuck up here in the cold!!
Jennifer! Wow, the sun’s shinning, the birds are singing, and I happened upon your wonderful website. I’m a happy girl today for sure. I can’t wait to sit down and
digest all the pages. I also can’t wait to share my find with friends today and share
Looking forward to a relaxing evening in my most comfortable chair, a cup of tea, soaking in your blog and dreaming up ideas for my garden
Jennifer, I love that you are doing a Grow With Me Gardening Series. Definitely, I will be following along. I started by flower garden but it is a work in progress. One of my favorites are Zinnia. I think it’s the pinks, yellows and oranges to together that looks like sunshine in a garden.
Love your selections of flowers. Snapdragons remind me of my childhood. We grew these in green houses for florists. You know I have do not have them in my garden. Hmm, I may have to add them.
I cannot wait for your next series.
Well, I can probably send you some snapdragon seeds because I ordered enough flower seeds to start a farm I think!!!
Great post! love zinnias and dahlias! who am I kidding glove them all!
My second order of seeds came…where the heck do I think I’m planting all of this stuff!!!
I would love any seeds you have extra. Starting mine next week. Last yr. Looked great cant wait to see how this yrs. Will come out! THANK YOU!!
2725 Gaston Ave.
Starla, I’ll drop some zinnia seeds in the mail next time I get to the post office…I grew 8 different types so the seeds are mixed together.