As rewarding as it is to care for a houseplant and watch it change and grow, there’s something special about how a bouquet of fresh flowers brightens a room. And while arrangements of cut flowers are typically given for special occasions, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to one with some of your favorite blooms. Making a habit of it, however, can get really expensive, really quickly.
One way to (eventually) reduce the cost of having constant bouquets, is to grow your own cutting garden. Like any type of garden, the initial setup is an investment and takes some effort, but once it’s up and running, you’ll have your own supply of your favorite flowers.
Oh—and did we mention that this is the type of gardening that can be done in containers? So even if you don’t have a spacious yard (or any yard at all), it’s an option. Here’s what to know about creating a cutting garden, courtesy of Emma Loewe, in an article she wrote for mindbodygreen.
How to create a cutting garden
If you have some outdoor space to use as a garden, start by picking a spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight (at least six hours each day), and then prepare the area by removing weeds and putting in soil that promotes drainage. New gardeners may want to start with a smaller patch, to help them get a hang of the process.
Those without a yard can use large containers with drainage holes, and must also pay close attention to the amount of direct sunlight the planters get (the more the better). For this reason, it’s best to find spots that face south, east, or west, Loewe explains.
How to select flowers to plant in a cutting garden
While you can start with seedlings and watch them grow, it’s definitely cheaper to begin with seeds instead. If you do, Loewe says that it’s best to start planting them in late winter or early spring, a few weeks before the last frost hits your area.
As far as what to plant, that depends on your personal preferences—although it may be helpful to consider the flowers’ schedules, Loewe explains:
Consider planting things that have different growing schedules so that there’s always something to look at, prioritizing flowers that bloom more than once a year and can grow well into fall.
Plants that are in the same plot should have similar water and sunlight needs. Prolific growers like mint (also a flowering plant!) should be placed away from the group in their own containers so their roots don’t overtake the rest of the plot.
According to organic gardener Allison Vallin Kostovick, the following flowers are relatively low-maintenance, quick to germinate and grow, and have long stems perfect for bouquets:
- Cornflowers (aka Bachelor’s Buttons)
From here, it comes down to regular maintenance—which includes pruning often, harvesting the flowers when they’re ready, and watering the plants frequently. Loewe provides additional tips and details in the article.