There are many hardy and half-hardy annuals that can be grown for cut flowers. Many attract bees and butterflies and some species can be dried, for use in long-lasting displays.
Sow hardy and half-hardy annuals between March and April in small pots or modular trays. Once the risk of frost has passed (usually around the end of May) they will be ready to plant out. Use them to fill gaps in summer borders or grow larger quantities in rows on the allotment or veg plot. And don’t forget to stagger sowings by a few weeks to give you a regular supply of blooms.
You Will Need
- Watering can
- A sunny corner of the garden
If you have raised cut flowers from seed, by late May, they should be ready to go outside. Acclimatise them to outdoor conditions by placing trays outside during the day, and bringing them indoors at night.
Plant seedlings into well prepared soil, about 20-25cm apart (check seed packet for spacings of larger flowers). Once planted, firm the soil around the rootball.
Water well to ensure the roots are moist, and that the soil is settled around the rootball.
Flowers sown in March or April will be in bloom by July. Sow a new tray every two weeks until mid-May, to ensure your display will last right through the summer. Start cutting flowers as soon as they show colour, so that they last longer indoors.
Don’t harvest all the flowers, as simple blooms provide pollen for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
Towards the end of summer, leave a few flowers to ripen and develop seed heads. Once the flowerhead dries out, carefully collect the seeds and store in a cool, dry place, so you won’t have to buy as much seed next year.