Vegetables feed our bodies, and flowers feed our souls.
At Good Heart, we focus mainly on veggies when it comes to production, but we plant a small plot of pick-your-own flowers for our CSA members (and ourselves, of course!).
Since the flower field is only about 30’x40’ every year I need to make hard choices. There are always more flowers I want to plant than there is space to plant them!
Because the flowers get less attention than the vegetables, they need to be low-maintenance. They also need to be great as cut-flowers, with long stems and a variety of colors.
With that in mind, I find myself coming back year after year to these 5 flowers below. They’re beautiful and reliable, and each one can stand alone in a simple bouquet, or be mixed together for a gorgeous display.
5 Easy to Grow, Must-Have Flowers for the Cut Flower Garden
The sign of summer! Sunflowers offer such a huge variety of blooms, with many different heights, bloom size, and colors.
Soraya is my hands-down favorite. If I only grew one sunflower, this would be it. The more you cut, the more blooms shoot up. The stems are long, slender and easy to bunch, and the blooms hold well in the vase.
Goldy Double is a close second to soraya. It almost looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, and makes a beautiful pairing with pink and white cosmos.
Zinnias can be direct-seeded or transplanted. Because our flower field is on the wet side, I opt for transplanting, which allows me to harden them off and give the seedlings the best chance for survival against slugs and snails.
Coral and Purple zinnias are my personal favorite colors, but this crop has tons of variety, and I strongly suggest getting lost in the choices. If nothing else, perusing zinnia varieties will brighten your winter day.
Cosmos are amazing. They grow like a weed, and can flourish in poor soil, drought, and put out bloom after bloom even when completely ignored. (They’re kind of like mothers in that way—just showering you with love despite your teenage years).
Sensation is a classic standard variety, with loads of pinks, whites, and magentas.
I planted Double-Click for the first time last year, and absolutely loved it. It’s double and semi-double flowers are akin to dahlias, and add beautiful texture to bouquets.
Yarrow is the perfect delicate compliment to big bouquets. It’s tiny, clustered blooms can act as a filler, and can stand alone, too.
A perennial, it will come back year after year, and like Cosmos, it’s really low-maintenance.
Yarrow is also a native wildflower in many regions, and is magic when it comes to healing wounds. The white flower variety, achillea millefolium, is the best one for medicinal purposes. It’s particularly useful if you get cut while harvesting flowers: garble up some of the leaves, put it on your cut, and it will almost instantly stop bleeding.
For cut flowers, I love Colorado Mix, which comes with shades of pink, yellow, orange, and red.
Many bouquets benefit from a touch of white, another reason I love White Yarrow.
I love the way Anise Hyssop adds height and dimension to bouquets. I also love the taste of the leaves, and if you like licorice, you will too.
Anise Hyssop flowers can be used for bouquets, edible decoration, and the leaves can be steeped for tea. This is a favorite of our CSA members for pick-your-own flowers, and we get requests to plant it year after year.
Tips for cut flowers
The first year I grew zinnias for cutting, I waited and waited for their stems to grow tall. Finally, feeling like I was missing something, I read up on them. The trick to producing long stems for zinnias—and any cut flower—is to snip the first bloom down low on the stem, just above a leaf node. This will encourage branching and longer stems on subsequent blooms.
If you need to irrigate flowers, it’s best to use a soaker hose or drip tape for bottom watering. This will protect the blooms and decrease chances for diseases like powdery mildew.
Harvest flowers in the early morning or evening, and place directly into water. I bring a 5 gallon bucket, partially filled with water, into the field with me. Harvesting during the cooler times of day, out of direct sunlight, will decrease shock and help the blooms bounce back faster after cutting. It’s best to let the blooms rest for an hour in the shade before arranging.
What are your favorite flowers to grow? Let me know in the comments below! Like having too many books to read, having too many flowers to choose from is one of my favorite problems 🙂