How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Learn how to grow a colorful cut flower garden for bouquets and gorgeous arrangements to fill your home.

How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden: Erin Benzakein with bucket of flowers

Erin Benzakein With Bucket Of Cut Flowers

You don't need a huge garden space to grow your own breathtaking flower garden, says organic flower farmer Erin Benzakein.

Cut Flower Garden Tips from expert grower Erin Benzakein

Cut Flower Garden Tips

In choosing which flowers to plant, expert grower Erin Benzakein considers varieties that grow with vigor in her climate, have a good vase life, some unique characteristic like a pleasing fragrance, unusual shape or color, plus old-fashioned heirloom varieties.

How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden: Erin Benzakein with bucket of flowersCut Flower Garden Tips from expert grower Erin Benzakein


Organic flower grower Erin Benzakein tends acres of beautiful blossoms on Floret Flower Farm outside Mount Vernon, Washington. Follow her tips to grow bright bunches of fresh flowers right outside your back door.

Situate your ­cutting garden in full sun (at least six to eight hours a day) in a spot protected from cold winds. Make sure the soil drains freely to prevent standing water and root rot. Use a balanced  organic fertilizer. ­During the growing season, feed your plants by applying either compost tea or fish emulsion ­directly to the leaves every two to three weeks.

Support your plants with garden trellis netting or bamboo canes to keep stems straight and prevent them from toppling in spring rains. Set stakes and netting when plants are still small.

Water your cut flower garden deeply. If you have a large garden, drip ­irrigation, taking water to the root zone, is ideal. Give plants a soaking once a week for four to six hours.

Deadhead often. The more you cut, the more flowers you’ll get. If you stop snipping, the plants will slow down and ­eventually go to seed.

Erin’s Favorites:  Cut Flowers to Grow at Home

  • Sweet Peas
    These nostalgic vines climb up to 6 feet, blossom for months, come in a rainbow of colors and are ­incredibly fragrant. Grow the heirloom varieties for the best scent. I’m partial to April in Paris sweet peas—creamy white with lilac edges.
  • Snapdragons
    This old-fashioned ­favorite’s a must-have, providing early-season color, texture and a light citrus scent. I adore the open-faced types called Chantilly, with blooms resembling ruffled petticoats in a lovely array of sherbet hues.
  • Black-eyed Susans
    These cheerful midsummer flowers are highly productive and great in mixed ­bouquets. I especially love Indian Summer (yellow with black eyes) and Chim Chiminee (unique quilled flowers in russets, browns and golds).
  • Zinnias
    Festive and candy-colored, these flowers bloom from midsummer to fall. Feed them heavily in the beginning, and you’ll be rewarded with up to 30 blooms per plant! I like the Benary Giant series with large flowers and clear colors.
  • Dahlias
    These beauties bloom for up to three months in later summer. I’m particularly fond of the ball varieties in jewel tones. Dahlia plants get heavy, so stake them with bamboo or use netting for support.

How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden Photography by Michele M. Waite.

Read more about Erin and how she cultivated a successful organic flower business here.

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