Delve into the world of cut flower gardening and discover 7 profound lessons that will enrich your gardening experience. Don’t make the same mistakes I did nurturing a flower patch. Here are 7 lessons I learned from growing a cut flower garden this year.

Although I’m an experienced gardener, cut flower gardening is a more recent venture for me.

Through the years, I’ve grown and maintained low-maintenance, easy-care flowers that I kept in the flower beds instead of bringing indoors.

Sure I could have cut more and brought them inside. But I enjoy seeing them in my borders and with some plants, cutting more doesn’t necessarily yield more flowers.

In recent years, I’ve wanted to bring more of my flower garden inside, so I was inspired to grow a cut flower patch.

With cut flower gardens, the more you cut the more blooms you’ll have. It started with trying out dahlias last year.

And I was hooked!

Because I enjoyed them so much both indoors and out, I decided to start seeds indoors and grow a cut flower garden from seed.

And there are few things learned that I will apply next year to organize myself and the garden a little better. From seed starting through harvesting flowers, here’s what I learned from growing a cut flower patch.

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close up of pink celosia book header

About My Cut Flower Garden

To give you a little context as well as a quick backstory, when I started growing a cut flower patch several years ago, I created an adorable garden outside our backyard shed. It was a small garden that was a great starting point for learning how to grow a cutting garden.

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve got a whole new home with lots of new gardening space. It has lots of garden rooms and outdoor living spaces with lots of room to grow flowers.

Most recently, I transformed the potager garden into a beautiful kitchen garden that shares some space with raised beds filled with cut flowers.

And through my experience, I’ve learned the easiest cut flowers to grow as well as tips for creating a flower patch that’s bountiful.

Here are the cut and come again flowers that I’ve been growing for the last few years and will continue to grow in the future:

While my list of what I love to grow in my cutting garden can go on and on, I’ve learned so much from growing one that will help you make the most of your own cut flower garden.

Here’s what you need to know!

snapdragons and larkspur flowers in cottage garden that are deer resistant flowers
Snapdragons and Larkspur

7 Lessons I Learned From Growing a Cut Flower Patch from Seed

While growing a cutting garden is easy to do, it is a little more work than caring for a low-maintenance perennial garden.

Here are some takeaways to help you avoid making the same mistakes I did when I started growing my cut flower garden.

1. Take Lots of Notes

For starters, I would write it all down in a garden journal or take notes during the growing season. It’s one of those things that I have every intention of doing but get busy as well as lazy and tell myself, I’ll remember.

But you know what? I don’t remember. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s forgetfulness. But all those mental notes I make about how things grew, performed, or what I’d do next year are never remembered.

So do yourself a favor and write it all down! It will make it so much easier to remember next year and the garden will be that much better.

Taking Notes before starting seeds indoors- How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse
Taking notes before starting seeds indoors

2. Save Seeds You Don’t Use

I would sow fewer flowers for garden bouquets and save more seeds for future use. You don’t have to grow it all in that first year of obtaining the seed packet!

Some seed packets have more seeds than a 72-cell tray allowed and I originally sowed all of them in additional trays because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of saving (and it is not a hassle btw, I just got it in my head).

Let me be the first to tell you that I grew a lot of flowers as a result and I did not have the space for all of them. So it wasn’t necessary to sow every single seed. And looking back, I’d rather save those extras for the next season.

Oh, and while we are on the topic, I also purchased way more seeds than I could grow too. In fact, I had a few seed packets I didn’t even open!

As an aside, when you purchase seeds from a reputable grower, those seeds are all really good quality and they’ll more than likely sprout. So, if you purchase from a quality grower like Floret or Johnny’s, assume those seeds will germinate and you’ll have all those plants.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to be realistic about what you really need. Our eyes tend to be a little bigger than our stomach if you know what I mean. Because of this, it is a good idea to set up a location where you will save and store seeds for the following season.

For storage, they will need a cool, dry place. I keep mine in a card catalog in our small home library but you can also file them in a folder and keep them in a cold refrigerator.

stacy ling cutting strawflowers for a peach tablescape idea in the potager garden

3. Plan the Flower Patch Garden

When I purchased all of my seeds, my eyes were a lot bigger than my gardens. I knew I was overhauling the garden shed border that first year wasn’t sure how I’d lay it all out or what it would look like.

I had a vague idea but decided to wing it. Don’t wing it and create a cut flower garden plan instead. While you can fly by the seat of your pants, it is much easier and more economical to make a cut flower garden plan before you purchase seeds and lay out your garden.

As my garden visions come to life, I usually decide to plan things out much differently next year. And this is where a good garden journal comes in handy. Because you won’t remember all of the changes you want to make!

Cut flower garden in front of garden shed with Sunflower 'Panache' in the cut flower garden
Sunflowers ‘Panache’ in the cut flower garden by the shed

Some Real World Examples

To give you a few examples of things I learned about growing a cut flower patch from experience include the following.

For starters, I’ve decided I prefer growing a patch of sunflowers instead of trying to make a border. The border didn’t all grow and it looks a little odd. The small sunflower patch I planted did better and I love the look of them planted en masse, so I’ll do that again next year.

Because I had some issues with several groundhogs in the past, all of my dahlias will be planted better protected in my gardens moving forward.

I’ve also learned that I prefer certain flowers like zinnias in the back of the garden and with snapdragons and larkspur towards the front.

Not to mention, I would stake each of those better. (More on that next.)

Gardener stacy ling Cutting zinnias - Cut flower gardening is so fun! Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling
Cut Flower Gardening For Beginners

4. Stake Cutting Garden Flowers Early

Start staking plants when they are small and first put them in the ground. It’s much easier to do at that time than waiting to do it when they are full grown, mature, and start to fall over.

And before you know it, those cutting garden flowers will grow big and need it.

If you stake too late, plants will fall over onto each other and will be tough to recover. Other plants like snapdragons and gladiolas won’t grow upright if not staked early enough.

So read up on what plants you are growing and if they require staking, do it while the plants are young.

'queen lime orange' zinnias in my gardening zone 6a cottage garden
Queen Lime Orange Zinnias

5. Stake Cutting Garden Flowers Well

In addition to staking early, it’s SO IMPORTANT to stake them well. I made the mistake of trying a few things to see if they’d work and…they didn’t. And I wound up spending all season long trying to hold several cut flower species upright in my gardens.

Because we spent so much energy on creating new gardens early on in the season, I had less energy to put into supporting the cut flower species that needed it the most.

I got a little lazy and did some green garden stakes around each of the flower patch quads and then used twine to help hold up the sections.

This worked for a little while but as the flowers grew, the blooms got REALLY HEAVY and weighed them down as they leaned over.

As a result, I started using a GRID TRELLIS LIKE THIS for some of the flowers and driving stakes into the ground. But even with trellis netting, you need two layers of it to support the really tall, heavy flowers.

Lesson learned.

I also recommend these plant supports too and use them on my peonies, dahlias, snapdragons, zinnias, and other cut flower species.

close up of snapdragons and larkspur in small cottage garden near stone wall
Close up of Sunflowers 'panache' in the cut flower patch
Sunflowers ‘Panache’

6. Always Follow the Seed Packet Directions

Whether you are growing flowers, herbs, or vegetables, follow the directions on the seed packets.

The grower knows their plants better than we do. They know more than what a Google search will tell you. And they have the experience of what works best for the seed variety they cultivated.

So follow ALL of the directions for sowing, spacing, and growing! If the seed packet says to space them 9″ apart.

Do it.

For the most part, I followed all the directions. But because I had so many seedlings with nowhere to put them, some that required full sun were grown in part sun.

As a result, there was a significant growth and bloom difference. They still grew and bloomed, but not at the same vigorous rate as the others planted in the proper location.

If a seed packet says full sun, that plant needs at least 6-8 hours of sun. Planting those cut flowers in less than full sun locations could impact the amount of blooms.

Queen Lime Orange Zinnia in the Flower Patch. This is a cut flower garden favorite for me!
Queen Lime Orange Zinnias

7. Label ALL Your Plants

I labeled my seed starts for the flower patch with a few labels in each tray. And I thought it was plenty. But it was not nearly enough.

Looking back, I should have labeled each and every cell or at least close to them all. Why? I know it sounds like overkill.

But if you do what I did and grow so many flowers you don’t know what to do with them all, you’ll wind up throwing them in anywhere and have no idea what you planted until they bloom.

And guess what?

In some spots, I’m not sure what I planted because I didn’t write it all down. There were just too many and it would have taken me too long to do it.

Don’t be lazy and get all of your labeling done before you sow those seeds.

Close up of benary giant wine zinnia, limelight hydrangea and rudbekia flowers -7 Lessons I Learned From Growing a Flower Patch
Benary’s Giant Wine Zinnia with Rudbekia and limeline hydrangea
Backyard Flower Patch by garden shed
Cut flower patch in summer by garden shed

So I wish I had a few more labels to drop in the ground when I randomly threw them in around the other flower gardens.

Oh and while we’re on the subject of labels, be sure to put the labels in the ground where you’ll see them when the plant grows.

I planted several dahlias with tags near the base of the plant and I can’t see them at all to know which variety it is.

I wound up doing this in later years and I was grateful I did it every singe time. Some growers send labels with their dahlia tubers, so I just use those. But when they don’t? I make those labels for the garden.

garrdening zone 6a backyard garden
Backyard cottage garden in summer

Can You Grow a Cut Flower Garden in Containers?

Yes! If you lack garden space and wish to grow a cut flower garden in containers, it is possible to do so.

Should you decide to grow a cut flower patch in containers, I recommend using oversized or large planters. And make sure you site them in full sun.

Thin out the seedlings by following the recommendations on the seed packet for spacing guidelines.

And it’s a really good idea to run a drip irrigation system so they get evenly watered all season long.

Senora Zinnias in cut flower patch

More About Lessons Learned Nurturing a Cut Flower Patch

Did you learn anything in your garden this year that you would do differently next year? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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Stacy Ling with her book the bricks n blooms guide to a beauitful and easy care flower garden

If you’ve always dreamed of bringing country charm to your home while creating a beautiful, relaxing space, I got you! Learn how to grow flowers in even the smallest of spaces with my easy-care, low-maintenance approach.

close up of creme caramel coreopsis

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

To Learn How to Start a Garden From Seed, Check Out These Posts

Close up of Benary's Giant Wime Zimnia- 7 lessons I learned from growing a cut flower patch
Benary’s Giant Wine Zinnia

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close up of garden bouquet in the cut flower patch
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Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed

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sunset in the small cottage garden in zone 6a new jersey garden
cut flower patch with cosmos, zinnias and tall phlox
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close up of cut flowers
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Backyard cottage garden in front of garden shed -cut flower garden in my gardening zone 6a backyard border. This is my favorite cottage garden in the landscape in front of the garden shed
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14 Comments

  1. Stacy,
    I had only minimal success starting from seeds. I probably spent more than I gained but these tips really help. Thanks! I’m sharing on tomorrow’s post.

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  3. You definitely brought up some of my biggest lessons too Stacy! I still don’t label as well as I should. And I need to be a better notetaker. I’m glad you’re going to try the netting next year. I love using it!

    1. I totally should have done your netting – it would have been so much better. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I created this bed. I’m going to have to think about adding stakes into the ground to use that netting. Thanks for the inspo!

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  5. Stacy, I love to be able to cut flowers from my own garden for bouquets and like you have planted way to many seeds. With the price of these it is much better to plant fewer seeds and save the rest for next year. I keep mine in a small cooler bag in an old fridge out in our garage.
    Next y.ear I will keep my seedlings growing inside till large enough to avoid being eaten by little slugs. I lost over half my zinnias this spring.
    Always something to learn no matter how many years of gardening!

  6. Stacy,
    I’ve saved this information because I’d love to have a more successful cutting garden. Thanks for your meticulous details!

  7. I love these tips, Stacy! I’ve been thinking about starting a cut garden next summer, so this post is very timely. I saved it to my gardening board so I can remember it later. I’m also going to share it with my readers this weekend for my week in rewind post. I know they’ll love it too!