If you have a bit of a yard and love cut flower arrangements, here are some of the best cutting garden plants to get you started.
As tempting as it is to buy flats of inexpensive annuals, you want to invest in some high-quality perennials if you want to create a productive cutting garden. You don't need much to get your first year started – a single mature hydrangea bush can keep you in colorful blooms all summer!
Survey the spot in your yard where you want to plant, and make sure it gets sufficient sunlight. When you're planning out where everything goes, check the growth habit notes and plant everything with the tallest in the back. Keep in mind, some perennials die back all the way to the ground (like peonies) so garden markers are helpful to keep everything straight.
Prickly roses are worth the hassle when you start to pick your own for beautiful, fragrant arrangements. Climbing roses need supports and often have short stems, so stick to floribunda or tea roses if you can find them. "Queen Elizabeth" is a classic pale pink rose that is very hardy in our growing zone.
Normally seen in blue or pink (it depends on the acidity of your soil), hydrangeas can also be found in white, lime green, and variations of pink and purple. These showy blooms appear every summer like clockwork on big, woody bushes that are easy to propagate. Start with "Endless Summer" or "Snowball" for show-stopping flowers.
Friendly daisies are great for filling in flower arrangements or simply bunched together on their own. They grow in clumps and can easily spread in a single season so keep an eye on them! Once the blooms are spent, you can dig up and divide the clumps to spread them out across the yard.
Every garden should have lavender, in my opinion. Not only does it attract bees, but it serves as a fragrant groundcover for the front of your row. Spiky stalks make dramatic statements when scattered throughout a summer arrangement.
Also known as coneflower, this medicinal herb has beautiful blossoms. Use them as you would daisies – they last a while once cut. Bonus, bees love them, too!
Even though the season is over for peonies (they bloom in late spring), it's worth it to plant some now for next year. Nothing beats the masses of elegant, long-stemmed flowers you'll get next May.
When looking for new garden plants, make sure you get ones with plenty of buds and not just fully-formed flowers. Leaves should be green and plentiful – avoid the scraggly clearance plants with sunburnt leaves and withered stems. Remember, these perennials will come back year after year, so make the investment and get unique varieties. Everything has separate bloom times, so with a little trial and error, you could have fresh flower arrangements from spring until fall if you plan it right!
In addition to your local hardware stores and nurseries, there are many reputable online plant vendors. Jackson and Perkins is well-known for carrying named varieties and healthy plants. Hirt's Gardens does a great job of packaging and shipping quickly, but their starter plants are on the small side. If you've got the patience to let a smaller plant grow, Hirt's is definitely the more affordable option.
**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Pexels.
Do you have a cutting garden at home? What are some of your favorite flowers for cut arrangements? Let us know in the comments!