Love is best expressed with flowers. But this symbol of love shouldn’t be used to justify the unsustainable billion dollar global floriculture market. The beautiful and delicate blooms in the cut flower trade usually undergo importing and re-exporting, travelling from continent to continent through the cold-chain management system at top speed to preserve freshness. Fast fashion, fast food, and now, fast flowers.
Although the world’s demand for flowers may have dropped since the pandemic hit, the trade has pivoted and people still want flowers. Whatever the reasons are – whether it’s for decor, producing skin care products, harnessing its healing powers or to simply spread joy and love – people are still buying them by the bouquet.
The global cut flower trade poses a serious threat to the environment, producing a lot of greenhouse gases for something extremely perishable seems foolish. If you have space at home, you can simply grow your very own cut garden and not only is this more sustainable, but it’ll also save you money too.
Related Post: Top 10 Perennial Flowers for Your Cut Flower Garden
And you don’t need as much space to grow them as you might think. You can grow one flower variety in containers on your patio, or sow a handful of your favourites in a small row next to your vegetable garden.
All you need for a basic cutting garden is good quality potting soil, a drip irrigation system and some flower seeds, preferably organic and heirloom if you can source them. You’ll also need to place them in an area where the plant gets enough sunlight, most flower varieties need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
New to growing flowers and want to start with varieties that are easy to grow? Below is a list of the best unfussy cut flowers to grow:
I once climbed a mountain where the trail was embellished with fields of these lovely flowers. It made the hike a breeze. When we reached the summit, the locals of an indigenous group called the Dumagat tribe served us cosmos flower tea for refreshment. From that moment, a deep connection to the land was formed. I was on top of mountain, drinking tea made from a flower that was plucked from the Earth.
Particular varieties of cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus, bipinnatus, caudatus) can also be eaten raw or cooked and have also been used for healing in other parts of the world. Cosmos come in different colors – white, pink, yellow and even burgundy.
Direct sowing the seeds will provide you with abundant cosmos that will keep blooming for weeks from just one planting. And they are a cut and come again flower meaning that when you harvest, more will bloom in its place. Make sure to harvest the flowers as soon as you see the petals beginning to unfurl. This will give you about a week of vase life.
The healing energy that zinnias radiate allows you to shift your stressful and heavy vibe into a lighter and happier mood. They are the perfect blooms for special occasions such as weddings as it symbolizes happiness and purity.
Just like cosmos, zinnias prefer to be direct sown, and just like cosmos, the more they are cut, the more they grow. Deep cutting them makes them produce more flowers. Make sure to plant them when the weather is warm.
If you want these gorgeous flowers to grow successfully, you need to sow their seeds deep so they can produce a long tap-root system. Once the seedlings have grown to about five centimeters, harden them off first then plant them out. They will grow best in cool conditions and to stimulate flower production, cut them once the flowers open.
After an intense workout, I apply a generous amount of oil infused marigold as it is known to soothe muscle pain. I wake up feeling rejuvenated and not sore at all. They are also used for healing cuts and wounds. Plus, they act as a great companion plant for vegetable garden, meaning they will attract the bad bugs so they’ll (hopefully) leave your crops alone. They are that magical.
Once sown, they germinate quickly and will blossom in roughly eight to ten weeks. They need full sun and a soil that drains well. When cutting, cut close to the base of the plant to stimulate growth.
Similar to marigold, calendulas are unfussy flowering plants that germinate quickly and bloom in a couple of months. Regular deadheading enables the plant to direct energy to flowering and the pollinators love them. These flowers are also edible so you can add them to your salads or make some tea. A note on harvesting: they are sticky so make sure to wear gloves.
Sunflowers never fail to lift our spirits and put a smile on our faces. Everybody loves sunflowers and their seeds too as they are edible. Animals such as birds and deer also enjoy eating sunflower seeds. These tall sunny blooms prefer direct sown and you’ll need to stake around your plants or net them to keep the animals at bay.
Sunflowers need direct sun, prefer warmer temperatures and need regular watering. They grow quickly during the heat of summer and are ready to be harvested when the first petal starts to unfurl from their face.
Snapdragons can grow quite slowly when you plant them from seed but they’re well worth the wait. They can tolerate a part shady area but will grow best in rich, well-draining soil in a sunny location. You need to keep the seedlings moist during the first few weeks but once they are established, let the top soil dry first before watering again. They are also famous for being ‘cool flowers’ meaning they can withstand very cool temperatures. Regular deadheading will make them bloom longer.
These stunning vibrant blooms love the heat and are super easy to grow. Plant the seeds on top of the soil and use vermiculite to cover it lightly which will help in keeping the soil moist during germination. They grow best in full sun, in moist and well-drained soil. Comes in stunning colours of pink, red and yellow.
Dainty yet powerful, these enchanting flowers are used to treat lung problems and nosebleeds. They are a no-fuss plant that require little maintenance. They need full sun but not too much heat and watch out for humidity as it can easily kill them. If you live in a zone where temperatures can soar, best to plant them in a spot where they can get morning sun but afternoon shade.
Strawflowers are super easy to grow from seed and when sowing, just press lightly into the potting mix and do not cover as light is required for germination. They need full sun and a soil that is slightly acidic, rich in nutrients and drains well. As soon as about two-three petals have unfurled, that is the time to cut. Strawflowers also make delightful dried flowers as they retain their overall structure and colour very well.
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Cover image by TOMOKO UJI.