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Hi, I'm Jennifer, owner and lead designer at Petals a floral design firm in Boulder, Colorado.  Along with my husband and two children, I  grow my own organic blooms using the greenest and most sustainable processes available.  

This blog is where I explore topics from floral design, wedding planning, organic farming and gardening, sustainable living, and our family's quest to find the perfect farm! 

I'm so glad you are here! 

Jennifer

6 seeds to start a Flower Farm or Cut Flower Garden


 

shelves of cut flowers in baskets


Some flower farms grow hundred of varieties, others grow one. Here at Petals Flower Farm we fall somewhere in the middle. Now that the holidays are over we've begun to plan this year's flower garden. (Here's what we do to get the garden ready in January, February, and March.)


But we always grow these 6 seed varieties because they take:


NO ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS & NO TECHNOLOGY

-- just seeds, soil, sun, & water--


These are direct sow, cut-and-come-again flowers, all with good vase life and guaranteed to get your flower bouquets blooming! If you want to start (other seeds) indoors do check out our tips and tricks for indoor seed starting.



 

Zinnia - Cut Flowers


pink cut zinnias on book pages

Zinnia are easy to grow and big producers. The only drawback in my book to these lovelies is that they won't start to produce until the heat of the summer sets in so they are great for your July/August/September bouquets. I recommend the Benary Giants and the Queen/Queenie Lime series. The Liliput are cute for small filler and the cupcakes are a dream but honestly, are finicky and revert to singles at the first sign of stress.


 

Snapdragons - Cut Flowers


snapdragons in a flower field at dusk


The hardest part with snapdragons are deciding which ones to grow! The best part about snapdragons is they can self seed, if you leave heads to go to seed at the end of the season.


I recommend the Potomac and Costa varieties. If you want to get complicated with snapdragons there are four types that basically mean they either bloom in cooler weather (May&June or September&October) or hot weather varieties that bloom June-September. Until you've been doing this a few years or unless snapdragons are your #1 jam, keep it simple and buy what you like.


Butterfly varieties, while lovely, tend to be a bit shorter and don't feed the bees, but if you love em, go for it!


They like to be crowded and start these babies outside while it's still cold for the longest stems.


 

Larkspur - Cut Flowers


a hummingbird mid-flight drinking from a pink larkspur against a beige background of grasses

Larkspur are wild delphinium and self seed with abandon. They come in a variety of colors including white, pink, lavender, pale blue, and dark blue. The dominant colors are the blues so pinks and whites generally become rarer and rarer as the seasons progress. They make great airy spikes for your bouquets and tend to produce well from May to July, petering out when it gets really hot. Sometimes you can get a second flush in the early fall if you are assiduous about deadheading but be sure to leave some seed heads for self seeding.


 

Dara/Ammi (Chocolate Lace) - Cut Flowers


chocolate and white ammi at night against a muddy background

Dara is the gift that keeps on giving...if you like it. These airy umbrella like florals are splendid additions to any bouquet and provide whimsy and movement to arrangements. They are also incredibly easy to grow and come back with a vengeance!

Related to the carrot family they have a faint earthy smell and range in color from white to deep chocolatey mauve.

Keep harvesting and you'll have flowers from June through September with the first flush coming in as large as a spread palm and the final flush as small as a quarter.

I cannot recommend these lovelies enough unless you don't like flowers that spread.


 

Cosmos - Cut Flowers


a woman's hand runs through a field of pink and white cosmos

Do not grow these batboys if you are very short on space as they get bushy. Do grow these if you want to feel like a magic-hippie-flower-fairy.


I recommend all the kinds. The pink mix pictured here are the most common but there are also some deep burgundy and some orange and yellow ones that are amazing. The cupcake variety are also super fun.


As cut flowers they can be difficult to get long enough stems unless you are willing to be ruthless and cut deep but I still recommend them, if harvested at the right time (early in the morning) and hydrated properly they have a long vase life.


This year I'm growing a chocolate scented black cosmo that I'm super excited about but don't recommend as the seeds tend not to be fertile, I won't tell you what I spent on 4 seeds but I will post pictures if any of them grow!


 

Sunflowers - Cut Flowers


close-up of sunflowers in a basket

Sunflowers are tried and true and add important mass to a bouquet. When growing for a cut flower garden or flower farm you want to get pro-cut varieties which will mean they do not produce pollen.


I also recommend always looking for branching varieties as the single stem type take a lot of space and time for a single bloom and we simply don't have time or space for that!



 

And that concludes my direct sow seed suggestions, if I were to add more I'd probably put calendula on the list. How about you? What are your must-grow, direct-sow flower recommendations for cut flower gardens? Comment below!

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