When I speak to new cut flower gardeners, I often hear that they want blooms as long as possible, and, honestly, getting cut flowers through spring, summer, and fall is very difficult. Instead, if you’re a beginner gardener, it’s better to start with a plan like this one, where everything will bloom from August to the first frost. You will have armfuls of gorgeous cut flower bouquets, and, except for baby’s breath, Zohar sunflowers, and Chinese forget-me-nots, all of the flowers on this list are cut and come again! (You probably won’t have time to cut the eucalyptus, so it comes again, but know that you could pot it up at the end of the season and bring it indoors if you want to!)
You can plant these beginner-friendly flowers in raised beds, in traditional rows, with the square-foot gardening method, or in any way that suits you best! However you decide to do it, everything should bloom at the same time and look absolutely gorgeous. Ready to create a beautiful cut flower garden (for under $100!)? Then keep on reading!
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best flowers for a beginner cutting garden
Below is a mix of greens, heroes, and supporting flowers to make sure your bouquet has a lot of interest in it! There are, unfortunately, no spikes (though the amaranth sort of counts — it droops), but this list is full of variety! Check out my ebook, Bouquets Made Beautiful, to learn more about the types of flowers in bouquets and how to arrange them perfectly every time!
Ok, now on to the list!
Apricotta cosmos are the perfect way to embrace Pantone’s colour of the year for 2024: Peach Fuzz! I always use my cosmos for both flowers and greenery, so it’s like getting two for the price of one!
The Autumn Beauty is one of my favourite sunflowers because you get a lot of variations between yellows, oranges and reds in this mix. It does have pollen, so just be aware of that when you’re making your arrangements. I like the branching nature of these flowers because I feel like you get a lot of flowers from one plant!
In this cut flower plan, we are growing the poppy for the seed head, not the flowers. Though the flower is really striking, it will only bloom for a day or two, but the beautiful seed head that remains is a welcome surprise in your bouquet!
The West Coast Seed variety of baby’s breath is the best I have planted and the easiest to get proper stem length with! Everyone loves baby breath, and it brings something special to your bouquets. Since we want everything to be ready at the same time in this garden plan, you’re going to either direct sow or even start it 2-3 weeks later after you plant everything else!
Note: This is an annual variety of baby’s breath that is not illegal to plant (perennial varieties are illegal in many places).
5. Bouquet Dill
Bouquet dill is a lovely addition to any bouquet. The smell is always a surprise, and they work well both in fresh arrangements and dried when they’ve gone to seed.
This is my favourite shade of blue in the flower garden. The varieties from West Coast Seeds are really reliable for stem length Since we’re trying to have everything ready at the same time, you’re going to plant these ones about 3-4 weeks later than everything else!
Double Click cosmos are my favourite type of cosmos. They seem to have a longer vase life than the single types, and they’re so beautiful and fluffy and really take up space in a bouquet! The bees also love cosmos, so don’t be surprised if you see one or two sleeping between their petals.
In every garden, there must be some drama, and Green Tails amaranth brings it! This is one of the most unique greens that you can plant in your cut flower garden.
Everyone loves the smell of sweet peas, and they transport many to happy childhood memories. I usually don’t make bouquets full of sweet peas, but I often like to slip one or two in just for the classic scent, so that’s why they have been included in this list!
10. Holy Basil
I have tried to grow a lot of basils on the acreage, most of which have been an epic failure. However, holy basil is the one basil that seems to like my growing conditions. It also has a pleasant lemony scent, which I enjoy and can be used for tinctures and natural medicine, as well as in cut flower arrangements. It’s the holy grail of basil!
I planted honeywort for the first time last year and will never be without them again. They are cut-and-come-again, and the purple blooms at the end are so unique. They are very easy to save seeds from, so leave a plant or two behind!
A garden just isn’t complete without marigolds, and even though this orange shade might not be everyone’s cup of tea, for me, I need that nostalgic, bright punch of colour for the juicier colour palettes I arrange with. If you aren’t a fan of the orange, marigolds make excellent greenery for bouquets! I’ve not actually tried this variety yet, but they remind me of Crackerjack, pictured below.
The Oklahomas are one of my very favourite zinnias. I think they kind of look like cupcakes, and I love how every pack has its own personality, with some running a little more pink and some running a little more orange. A must-have in the cut flower garden!
The Peppermint Stick zinnia is a bit of a wildcard in this selection of flowers. I wanted one really unique flower that was maybe not as classically pretty as the others. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy this one a lot!
When I first grew this zinnia variety, I thought I didn’t like it. Truthfully, I thought it was kind of ugly. But then I paired it with other flowers in bouquets, and I was sold! The Queeny Lime series really helps blend in other colours. When you have a bouquet that feels like it just isn’t working out, stick in a Queeny Lime Orange, and it just fixes everything!
These are not your ugly grocery store asters! They come in beautiful bougie colours that will elevate your bouquets, featuring Pantone’s colour of the year for 2024: peach fuzz. They are my absolute favourite mix.
Scabiosa looks beautiful in bloom and as a seed head, so use both in your bouquets! They’re really easy to seed start, they’re colourful, and you can’t go wrong with these in a beginner garden!
Silver Dollar is my favourite type of eucalyptus, but if you need to skip something on this list, you could probably skip this. You’ll probably have to start it around Christmas, but it is entirely worth it for how pretty it is. The West Coast Seed varieties are more reliable with germination than others.
I found this sunflower a little bit tricky to grow, but when I’ve gotten it right, it has been so unique and so worth it that I have to include it in this list! You won’t see the centre of this sunflower, but you will appreciate its fuzzy petals.
It’s been a few years since I’ve grown a Zinderella zinnia, and that’s because my first experience with them wasn’t fantastic. I found that if you had a good one, it was so beautiful, but there were so many that were not good! However, I’ve found with West Coast Seeds that the flowers I may have had trouble with from other companies, I usallly don’t have trouble with with their seeds. This one will be my personal wildcard, and we’ll see how it goes! But I trust!
21. Zohar Sunflower
I haven’t grown these yet, but in every plan, there must be a classic flower, and this one is it. This sunflower is designed for florists, so it doesn’t have pollen. Between the three sunflower choices in this plan, you’ll easily know which one you like best: the branching of the Autumn Beauty, the fuzziness of the Teddy Bear, or the florist’s standard, Zohar.
Tips for Making This Garden Work
Before you start your cut flower garden, ensure you have an area with at least 6-8 hours of sun and good soil. By good soil, I mean it is workable, it has maybe some compost added to it, it’s reasonably free of grass and weeds, and if it’s not perfect, you’re at least adding compost amendments, etc., every year to improve it.
Since this plan has beginners in mind, you can use it for both an in-ground garden or in raised beds. All the flowers in raised beds will act as they do in the ground, but you might get to harvest a bit earlier. If you do decide on raised beds, watch out for moisture levels in summer, as raised beds tend to dry out a little faster than in-ground gardens.
To help keep the seeds at bay, I like to put on leaves that I’ve saved from the fall, grass clippings, or woodshavings around my flowers. If you choose to get wood shavings and don’t know someone who does woodworking or you don’t have access to a tree cutter, you can buy bags of wood shavings from your local farm store that are intended as bedding for animals. The bale of wood shavings for my chickens is about $10 and covers a good amount of space!
A note on Seed Starting
While I’ve tried to make this list as seed-starting-free as possible, a few will still need to be seed-started, including…
- cosmos (optional)
- holy basil
- marigold (optional)
- roses china aster mix
To keep things as easy as possible, start all of these about six weeks before your last first date. If you want to learn more about seed starting, start with these posts:
- Complete Seed Starting Setup for Successful Seedlings
- Indoor Seed Starting Schedule for Easy Vegetables & Flowers
- Common Germination Problems & How to Fix Them
- How to Fertilize Your Seedlings for Healthier Plants
Want a step-by-step guide to get started, including videos to guide you along the way? Check out Seed Starting Success!
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READY TO GROW YOUR OWN BEAUTIFUL CUT FLOWER GARDEN WITHOUT THE HASSEL?
I’ve taken all the guesswork out of creating a cut flower garden with my e-book, Cut Flowers Made Simple. Whether you’re a farmer florist, a beginner gardener, or anything in between, you’ll be able to start your own cut flower garden, with or without seed starting, growing annual flowers.