Growing a cutting garden is easy and useful for creating your own floral designs.
Cutting gardens can be grown in rows like traditional vegetable gardens, in raised beds, or containers. Most flowering plants need good drainage and at least 6 hours of full sun. Many annuals and perennials are fairly low maintenance. Soaker hoses make watering rows of plants easy during droughts. Apply a pre-plant fertilizer based on the results of a soil analysis. In order to conserve moisture, mulch around plants, using pine straw, bark mulch, or leaves. During the growing season, fertilize every few weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Cutting flowers from your garden encourages more blooms. If not cut, deadheading spent blooms from plants, such as zinnias and marigolds, will be necessary. If left on the plant, flower production slows, and seeds will begin to form.
When planting tall flowers, such as sunflowers (Helianthus annus), orient them so they will not shade out shorter plants. Branching types produce multiple flowers on several stems and come in a wide array of colors such as burgundy, orange, cream, and red. Sunflower seeds mixes offer a variety of bloom times, colors, and heights.
Zinnias (are easy to grow and come in a wide range colors, flower types, and heights. Single-flowered zinnias, giant doubles, “dahlia types,” and spiky cactus-flowered zinnias are available. Zinnias are prone to powdery mildew. Choose resistant varieties and don’t be afraid to remove them at the first sign of disease.
Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) are drought tolerant annuals that reach 3-4 feet tall and are covered with masses of papery globe-shaped flowers in shades of red, white, pink, or purple. The wiry stems hold up beautifully in fresh arrangements, or they may be cut and hung for use as dried flowers.
Be sure to include foliage plants in your cutting garden. Herbs, such as basil (Ocimum basilicum) and mint (Mentha sp.), are edible and can also be used in arrangements. For more information, please see HGIC 1327, Basil. Variegated pineapple mint and apple mint add fragrance, and their vigorous growth means there will be plenty for cutting. Just be sure to keep them in a pot so they don’t take over the garden! Shiso (Perilla frutescens) is an herb used in Asian cooking that also doubles as cut foliage.