The cut flower growing year
Want to grow your own cut flowers? This month-by-month guide shows the key jobs through the year, from sowing to bulb planting and collecting seeds.
Growing your own flowers means you can enjoy seasonal posies and bunches of flowers at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought blooms – and of course, it's an eco-friendly way of growing cut flowers, too. It's very rewarding, and you only need a few square metres for blooms for many months of the year.
Discover how to grow cut flowers for every season.
Choose a site that gets a lot of sun – most cut flowers do best with lots of sunshine. Shelter is also important – strong winds can damage young seedlings and cause plants to topple. It also means they'll need watering more often.
Not sure where to start? Here's our yearly plan for growing cut flowers.
Plan your plot – what flowers do you want to grow? Discover 10 cut flowers to grow from seed. It's a good idea to grow a mix of annuals, half-hardy annuals and biennials – these will give you the longest flowering season. Order seeds from your favourite suppliers like Crocus, Sarah Raven, Suttons and Thompson & Morgan.
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Sowing early? You might find that a bit of extra heat and protection is worth the investment if you’re trying to get some cut flower seeds off to a flying start at the beginning of the year. There are three main accessories to consider: Heated propagators provide the perfect growing conditions for some seedlings, while if you’re prepared to add a bit of extra insulation, a cold frame offers protection against wintry weather and can help hardy seeds get off to a flying start. For those of you who have been toying with the idea of a greenhouse, we’ve got handy guides packed with information about how to choose a greenhouse, as well as a roundup of the most useful greenhouse accessories.
Order plug plants – useful if you don't want to sow half-hardy annuals or want to grow flowers that are tricky from seed. Throughout the year online seed companies like Thompson and Morgan, Suttons and Crocus stock seasonal garden ready plug plants. Order dahlia tubers and rooted chrysanthemum cuttings. You could also start to prepare the plot – weed it using a Dutch hoe or a hand weeding tool, dig it over with a garden spade, and spread a mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost.
Discover five cut flowers for February.
Keep preparing the plot – weed, dig, incorporate organic matter and rake to a fine tilth. Pot up chrysanthemum cuttings and dahlia tubers and sow sweet peas. Near the end of the month, sow hardy annuals. Sow in rows – it's easier to spot weeds. Sow sweet peas in pots and start sowing half hardy annuals under cover. Cloches will offer some protection, and warm the soil, too.
Discover flowers to pick in March.
Get on top of weeds. Continue to sow hardy annuals and thin rows of those already sown. Keep them watered. You can also continue to sow half hardy annuals or prick out and pot on any that were sown last month, as well as sow sweet peas in pots. Also, put in plant supports for any plants likely to flop. If you need a bit of inspiration, we've chosen a selection of decorative garden obelisks and plant supports.
Discover flowers to pick in April.
Continue to weed, water, and nurture your hardy annual seedlings, and prick out and pot on half-hardy annual seedlings. Plant out sweet peas, up trellis or a wigwam. Discover how to create a sweet pea wigwam.
Discover flowers to pick in May.
Now that the danger of frost has passed, plant out half-hardy annuals and dahlias – and protect them against slugs. Water, and deadhead annuals that are flowering now – our experts have tested a range of secateurs, so if you need a new pair you can buy in confidence. It's also time to sow biennials, brilliant for providing in spring and early summer next year.
Discover flowers to pick in June.
Continue to water and weed your plot. Deadhead to encourage more blooms. You can also continue to sow biennials. Feed dahlias to encourage lots of flowers later in the season.
Keep deadheading and watering. Continue to feed your dahlias and create earwig traps to protect the flowers.
September is a good month for sowing hardy annuals – the soil is still warm, and plants will flower earlier than spring-sown ones. You can also plant daffodil bulbs and sow sweet peas. If you have lots of bulbs to plant, you might find our guide to tried and tested bulb planters helpful. You could also save seed for sowing next year.
Discover flowers to pick in September.
Some flowers, such as dahlias and cosmos, will keep flowering until the first frosts. Once dahlia foliage has been blackened by frost, cut it off, then dig up the tubers and store in a cool, dry place. October is spring bulb planting month – discover 10 bulbs for cut flowers. You can also sow sweet peas.
Discover flowers to pick in October.
Clear the plot; you could also add a layer of mulch, that the worms will incorporate over winter. Store plant supports for use next year. Plant tulips – choose a mix of early and late-flowering varieties or try parrot and fringed tulips.
Discover flowers to pick in November.
Take stock of your cut flower year – what went well, what would you do differently next year? Make notes. Forage berries, hips and evergreen foliage to make a Christmas decorations. Discover five of the best Christmas wreaths and our favourite Christmas plants.
Discover flowers to pick in December.
Protect from slugs
Be sure to protect young seedlings and newly planted plants from slugs – they can undo all your hard work in a very short space of time.