The problem with cut flowers
The environmental impact of imported cut flowers is something that is rarely given the attention that it deserves. There is a huge carbon footprint because the majority of flowers that are imported into the UK are flown in. This is to keep them extra fresh, ready for you to take home and pop in a vase for a week or so.
There are so many great British growers and some fantastic florists that use a mixture of home grown and British flowers that are doing their bit to help reduce the impact of cut flowers. Bramble & Wild in Frome are definitely my favourite for sustainable blooms.
Grow your own at home
The way that I get my cut flower fix in the late spring, summer and early autumn is to grow my own.
I started growing my own cut flowers 2 years ago and have officially got the bug. I find it so satisfying, mindful, cost effective and joyful to grow my own cut flowers. I love heading out into my garden in the morning and cutting a handful of stems for the house all in the knowledge the carbon footprint of those stems is so, so so small, but the blooms are still as amazing as shop bought.
Growing your own cut flowers really isn’t as hard as you might think. By focusing in on a just a few flowers, you can create gorgeous vases full of pretty, colourful blooms all summer.
Here are my top 5 cut flowers to grow for jugs full of flowers all summer long!
1. Sweet Peas
Sweet peas are a fantastic cut flower to grow. You can grow them on a windowsill, in a pot, in the ground and up a trellis. They are super easy to grow and will keep giving you bloom after bloom right up until the end of summer. The best thing about sweet peas has to be their gorgeous scent, it fills the room and lasts for days and days. The more you cut, the more flowers you’ll get too!
How to grow
You can sow sweet peas in autumn to overwinter in the greenhouse or you can sow them as late as March. They prefer very little root disturbance and need lots of room to grow, so sowing in loo rolls or root trainers is perfect! Pinch out the tops after 3 sets of leaves are open to give you nice sturdy, multi stemmed plants that will give you plenty of blooms.
Also known as Gentleman’s Buttons, these bright wild flowers are fantastic for pollinators and are so easy to grow. Their open petal structure makes it easy for bees and other pollinators to dive in and fill their boots with nectar. With a vase life of 10 days they are the perfect sustainable cut flower to grow.
How to grow
These can be sown where they are to flower from March – May and you’ll have flowers all the way through from June – September. They like a sunny spot and if you sow in swathes it will give it more of a natural planting feel. Keep cutting regularly and you’ll be rewarded with more and more flowers all the way through until the end of summer.
These showy cut flowers have been a firm favourite of mine for the last few years. They come in all sorts of colours shapes and sizes so there will definitely be one for you. My favourite is this peachy Cafe O’Lait.
Dahlias are a bit more of an effort to grow, but you will be rewarded with buckets and buckets of flowers. Once again, the more your cut the more flowers you’ll get so are great value. They are grown from tubers that get more and more established each year and can be left in the ground with a good layer of mulch to protect from frost, or lifted and stored in a cool dry place like shed and re-potted in spring. So once you’ve invested in a tuber, you’ll be able to have fabulous blooms year after year.
How to grow
When you get your tuber you need to pop them into a roomy pot filled with compost, give them a good water and put them somewhere sheltered like a green house or even a windowsill inside will do. You don’t want them to be water logged, but don’t let the pot get bone dry either. After a few weeks you’ll start to see little buds called ‘eyes’ start to sprout. These ‘eyes’ will develop into the stems that will carry your flowers and you want to limit these to no more than 5. You can plant out your Dahlias after the last chance of frost has passed in a nice sunny spot. You’ll be cutting blooms from late summer right up until the first frost!
Sunflowers never fail to put a smile on my face, I just love their sunny blooms! You can get sunflowers in all kinds of colours and sizes. My favourite variety to grow is Sunburst as they are a multi stem variety that have a range of colours on the same plant. They are the real stars of the show in late summer and are really easy to grow if you’ve never grown flowers from seed before and are prefect to grow with kids too.
You can sow them where they are to flower from March – May and you’ll have flowers from June all the way through to September. They tend to grow pretty high so may need some stakes to support them from snapping in the wind.
These daisy faced ditsy blooms are an absolute firm favourite when it comes to my cut flower patch. They work the hardest of all flowers giving bloom after bloom after bloom. You’ll becoming in with vases full of flowers every week all summer long with these lovelies. They come in shades of pink, yellow, orange, fuchsia and white so there is bound to be one that suits your taste. They will attract butterflies, bees and all other kinds of pollinators into your garden and when picked will last up to about a week in the vase! They really are a fantastic flower to grow.
How to grow
Sow cosmos seeds in pots or trays of compost in March and keep potting them on as they grow. You need to pinch out the plants when they are a few inches tall to make sure you have plenty of stems to carry your flowers as the plant grows. You need to wait until the risk of frost has passed before planting out in a nice sunny spot.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try growing some of your own cut flowers at home. I’d love to know if you are going to give any of these a try and please ask any questons in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,