The idea of cutting the blooms off of plants in your landscape seems counter productive. That’s why a designated cutting garden is gaining popularity in many home gardens. You can create a beautiful cutting garden using these tips and some of our favorite plants so you can enjoy fresh blooms indoors all season.
Before You Plant
Choosing A Site
Many of the most popular cutting flowers will prefer at least part sun, so it’s best to choose a site that gets at least four to six hours of direct sunlight during the day. Knowing how much sun exposure the new planting bed will get can help you choose the right plant varieties for your cutting garden. If you’re short on space, you can still incorporate flowers into existing beds that will be specifically for fresh cut arrangements.
Recipe for Great Soil
The soil in our area has significant amounts of clay and is often compacted from subdivision construction. Compacted clay soils do not allow the water to drain away properly or allow for enough air around the roots, so it’s important to amend new planting beds to create ideal conditions for the right amount of water and air. Here’s what you’ll need for a new bed approximately 4ft x 6ft:
- 1 bag Growing Place Choice Garden Mix
- 1 bag Leaf Mulch
- 1 bag Blended Compost
- 1/4 bad Espoma Bio-tone Starter Plus
Creating a Design
When choosing plants, think about their bloom times. Incorporating early, mid and late blooming varieties in your cutting garden will provide a constant variety of blooms to enjoy indoors. Of course, you want the big showy flowers, but remember to incorporate some smaller blooms and foliage as they make great fillers to a fresh cut arrangement. Don’t forget to leave a pathway in your design so you can easily access your plants when harvesting.
Our Favorite Cutting Garden Plants
Roses are an obvious must-have for a cutting garden with an array of color choices and fragrant blooms. From miniatures to hybrid teas to shrubs varieties, there are so many to choose from you could create a cutting garden with just roses. It’s important to know the type of roses you are planting as some varieties need extra winter protection in our area. Our experts are there to help guide you in making the right choice for your garden. Whichever variety you choose, make certain they get adequate sun, regular fertilizer and consistent water during dry spells to keep these plants blooming.
There is a phlox for almost any garden but it’s the summer phlox that is best for cutting gardens as they are usually taller, more upright and clump forming that look stunning in an arrangement. While most summer varieties prefer full sun, they will still perform well with light shade. Keep these plants well-irrigated during hot, humid spells. Overhead watering should be avoided and plants should be well spaced to allow for good air circulation.
Lilium & Hemerocallis
Lilium is a large group of summer blooming flowers that are great for cutting with a wide range of colors that grow from bulbs. Their narrow root system makes these a great choice to plant next to phlox or roses. These lilies are easy to grow and can grow in part shade to full sun. Some varieties can reach up to six feet tall and may require staking, while others stay small growing only a couple feet high.
Hemerocallis or Daylilies are another great choice for a cutting garden as they are hardy, reliable and come in a variety of heights, colors and bloom times. With careful selection, you can have daylilies blooming from late May until early September.
This family of plants is very easy to care for and good looking throughout the season. These are great for a cutting garden as they make a great accent to an arrangement in both fresh and dried form. These plants are rabbit repellent so they are great to plant in groups throughout your cutting garden to deter the rabbits from nibbling on your other plants.
Coreopsis are a great choice for a cutting garden as many varieties have long bloom times lasting nearly all summer. Their yellow daisy like flowers are sure to brighten any arrangement. With several dwarf and compact varieties, these are a great choice to tuck into small spaces. These plants bloom best in full sun with well drained soil.
A cutting-garden favorite, these daisy-like flowers come in a rainbow of colors and the seed heads are excellent for dried flower arrangements too. These flowers prefer full sun but can handle light shade and are drought tolerant.
Asters are a great choice for a cutting garden to keep blooms going into the fall. Taller varieties can be pinched back in July to maintain a shorter mounded form. They prefer full sun but will perform well with light shade.
Another great choice for a fall display in a cutting garden is Sedum. These plants are known for their thick succulent foliage with late summer to early fall blooms. They’re known for their easy-care and thrive in sunny, well drained soil. These are drought tolerant plants and overwatering is the most common mistake with these plants.
Fillers, Foliage & Annuals
One of our favorite fillers for a cutting garden would have to be the Calamintha Montrose White because its sprays of pure white flowers bloom from mid summer to mid fall and stay in a neat mound without getting floppy. Baptisia is also a great choice for a cutting garden that offers sweet pea-like blooms in the spring, but once they’re done blooming, their blue-green foliage and dark seed pods make a great accent to a floral arrangement.
Annuals offer a wide variety of great cutting flowers that can help bridge the seasons in your cutting garden. Some of our favorites include Dahlias, Zinnias, Cosmos, Snapdragons and Celosia. You can find some great foliage with Cannas, Colocasia and Alocacia. These large leaves look great in a glass vase as an elegant way to hide the stems.
Our Landscape Design Services
Do you want to create a cutting garden but not sure how to pull it all together? Do you need some design help for an area in your yard? We can match your personal style with the right plants in the right place so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces more.
Visit our Landscape Design page for more information and to request and appointment.