In this blog I'm sharing five of the best annual flowers for cutting that are simple to grow and look beautiful in farmhouse-style arrangements. Vases and pitchers overflowing with fresh cut flowers are perfect for creating a rustic farmhouse vibe and there's nothing better than the satisfaction of growing your own. It's so much cheaper than buying flowers from the florist, and they're right there waiting for you outside your back door.
For most it's spring and summer that herald new life in the garden but if you're lucky to live in a subtropical climate like me, fresh cut flowers are one of life's simple pleasures that can be enjoyed almost year-round.
Recently, I planted a cut flower garden of annuals I grew from seed, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. We've been enjoying posies of fresh flowers around the house and have had lots to give away to family and friends.
I sourced the seeds from my local flower farm, IndeeStone Flowers and started them in trays in my mini greenhouse before moving them into the garden bed. I learnt you can sew them directly in the garden as well.
In fact many of the varieties in this blog are self-seeding, meaning you'll have a new lot of flowers popping up with virtually no effort!
In this blog I'm sharing my favourite five annual flowers that are easy to grow and make beautiful cut flowers. Let's dive in.
But first, what exaclty is an annual?
An annual is a type of plant that grows for one season only. The lifecycle of an annual begins with a seed which grows into a flowering plant and ends with new seeds being produced before the plant finally withers away, usually as the temperate begins to cool.
Five best annual flowers for cutting
My five favourite annual flowers for cutting are Zinnia, Sunflower, Cosmos, Marigold and Celosia.
I chose these varieties because they're easy to grow, inexpensive to buy as seeds or seedlings and are well suited to my climate. They are prolific bloomers and have long stems; perfect for cutting.
Zinnias are great because they're easy to grown, tolerate a bit of neglect once established and have nice long sturdy stems, perfect for cutting. They come in a variety of colours and forms too.
Sunflowers look amazing in a farmhouse-style flower arrangement. There are lots of different varieties of Sunflowers and the best type for cutting are those that produce a long stem with multiple flower heads towards the ends.
Cosmos are great because they are grow well with hardly any care at all, have nice long stems for cutting, and come in a wide variety of colours. Cosmos self seed which means new plants will grow in the garden as the older plants start to die off, and I love when my garden takes care of itself like that!
The key to growing Marigolds for cut flowers is to choose a tall variety such as Cracker Jack. These beautiful fluffy blooms as a gorgeous pop of colour to arrangements.
Celosia Spicata Pink Flamingo Feather
Celosia Spicata Pink Flamingo Feather are prolific bloomers and have nice long straight stems making them perfect for cut flowers. I love their long fluffy blooms.
How to grow annual flowers for cutting
Starting flowers from seed is by far the cheapest and most satisfying way to grow cut flowers. I like to start my seeds in a greenhouse, but you can also sow seeds directly in the garden bed.
To start seeds in a greenhouse I use cardboard toilet paper tubes cut in half and filled with seed raising mix. To each tube I add a couple of seeds, and lightly cover them with a sprinkle of soil. Then I pop them in a tray and water them regularly to keep them moist until they sprout.
Once sprouted I let them grow for another couple of weeks or until they have developed a couple of sets of leafs before planting them out into the garden bed. The cardboard breaks down naturally, so you can just plant them directly in the garden bed.
Tips for growing annual flowers for cutting
- Check your growing zone to find out which varieties will do best in your garden.
- Add some garden soil or compost to your garden bed prior to planting.
- Top the garden bed with mulch to keep weeds at bay and retain moisture in the soil. I like to use organic sugar cane mulch.
- Water regularly.
- Remove or 'dead head' wilted flowers to encourage new growth.
- The best time to cut flowers for arrangements is in the morning before they're exposed to the heat of the day.
- Pick your favourite and most productive plants to dry and save seeds for the next season.
Looking for more gardening tips and ideas? Check out my blog How to make a veg patch.
Thanks for following along!