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Seasonal Maintenance

Annual Cutting Garden

May 30, 2017 by Anna Saemisch, Account Manager

Once the temperatures warm up here in the Midwest, everyone is anxious for the chance to get outdoors and explore. Adding a cutting garden to your space provides a new way to experience your garden and outdoor living areas. You can bring the outdoors in and place fresh flowers throughout your home, adding texture, color and fragrance to brighten any space. Fresh cut flowers make a perfect gift to share with others too! Cutting gardens can be customized to your growing conditions, tending time, and flower preferences. For this post, I’m going to discuss four of my favorite annuals for cutting. Curious about perennials that work great in a cutting garden? You can read my previous post on my favorite perennials here.

 

Stock

The very fragrant stock flower makes a great annual for cutting gardens. Commonly referred to as the gillyflower, they are related to the cabbage family. There are several varieties, including single and double bloom. Stock comes in a broad range of colors, including white, cream, yellow, peach, lavender, pink, purple and burgundy. It is important to grow stock in moist, well-draining soil, placed in full sun or part shade. Blooming season is from spring through late summer.

When cutting stock to bring indoors, take note of the following:

  • Harvest when one-third to half of the florets are open.
  • Remove foliage that will be below the water line once placed in the vase.
  • Place cut stems in water with floral preservative immediately.
  • They can last up to a week in a vase, but make sure to change the water out daily as they are susceptible to mildew.

 

Snapdragons

The snapdragon is a tender perennial that is grown as an annual in most areas. Available in about every shade but true blue, snapdragons are a fun addition to a cutting garden. They bloom from the bottom of the stock upward on tall spikes, producing brightly colored blooms. Snapdragons come in both tall and dwarf varieties and bloom abundantly in cooler temps. To make it through the heat of the summer, it is best to place in partial shade and provide adequate water.

When cutting snapdragons to bring indoors, take note of the following:

  • Harvest when just the bottom three to five flowers are open.
  • Remove foliage that will be below the water line once placed in the vase.
  • Place cut stems in water with floral preservative immediately.
  • They can last up to two weeks in a vase.

 

Zinnia

Originally discovered as a wildflower, the zinnia has since been hybridized into several varieties. They are easy to grow in any soil, require little maintenance, shade out weeds and do not require much fertilizing. You can buy ready-to-go plants from a local nursery, but these flowers are best grown from seed, as they do not always transplant well. The daisy-like flower heads are quick growers and heavy bloomers. The more you cut from your zinnia patch, the more they will produce. The wonderful zinnia comes in about every shade but true blue and is an amazing butterfly attractor, making it all the more appealing as an addition to your cutting garden.

When cutting zinnias to bring indoors, take note of the following:

  • Cut stems at an angle, just above a bud joint.
  • Remove foliage that will be below the water line once placed in the vase.
  • Place cut stems in water with floral preservative immediately.

 

Ageratum

Also known as the floss flower, ageratum is a low maintenance choice for your cutting garden. The deer and rabbit resistant flower is low maintenance when it is properly watered and has well-drained soil. It is best to plant ageratum in full sun, but it can tolerate light shade in hot summers. Various varieties of ageratum come in different heights, making it perfect for beds, edging and mass plantings. For your cutting garden, make sure to plant a taller variety. Blooms last from mid-summer to late fall and bloom nonstop, attracting butterflies all the while. Blue is the most popular hue, but it does come in shades of purple, pink and white as well.

When cutting ageratum to bring indoors, take note of the following:

  • Harvest when the first two-three small flowers open that make up the flower head.
  • Cut at the base of the stem near the base of the plant. When cut at ground level, the plant will produce blooms longer.
  • Remove foliage that will be below the water line once placed in the vase.
  • Place cut stems in water with floral preservative immediately.

 

Fresh flowers add color, dimension and texture to any space. If you have questions about planting a cutting garden, feel free to drop me a note. I love to talk flowers and plants! We also offer a blooming rotation program if you want a no-fuss way to bring blooms indoors.

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