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Grow Your Own Bouquets: The Best Flowers for Your Cutting Garden

Having a bouquet of fresh flowers on your counter, desk, or kitchen table brings positive energy and vibrant color into your home. Catching a glimpse from the corner of your eye as you pass by, or taking in a deep breath of their fresh scents will make you smile and help you relax. However, buying a fresh bouquet every week is a big expense! Cutting flowers from your garden and creating your own arrangements is affordable, rewarding, and easy to personalize. You get to pick your favorite blooms while they’re still fresh, their scents are much stronger than store-bought flowers, and you can enjoy the tactile experience of arranging them yourself. You’ll also get to update your vases whenever you want to feature the freshest blooms in your garden. Better yet, regularly harvesting your flowers for fresh-cut bouquets encourages many plants to produce even more blooms!

Plan your planting this summer so that you can have beautiful bouquets all season long from your cutting garden of Iowa annuals and perennials! You’ll be able to enjoy fresh, gorgeous arrangements in every room of the house.

Here are our top plant picks for a gorgeous cutting garden: 

 

Hardy Perennials

Incrediball Hydrangea is a stunner all on its own, even without other flowers around it. It has giant flowerheads loaded with tiny white blooms. The flowerheads can reach up to 12″ wide! This perfectly-named plant is an excellent hedging perennial that blooms on new wood.

Lilies are a reliable and elegant perennial choice. Both Asiatic & Oriental lilies are hardy for Iowa and available in many colors. Most lilies bloom quite profusely, and their bold blooms stand out in any bouquet.

Peonies are an early-blooming perennial favorite that are powerful on their own or in an arrangement. The large, almost dinnerplate-sized blossoms feature seemingly endless layers of petals and are available in a range of shades, including reds, pinks, whites, and even purples.

Coreopsis, also known as tickseed, is an easy-care prairie-native perennial. They bloom in bursts throughout the summer and well into the fall. Their tall blooms, in shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, and white, can add height and texture to bouquets.

Black-Eyed Susan is another native perennial prairie dweller. It’s available in a variety of shades like orange, red, yellow, and white, with single or double blooms. They bloom for months and are super easy to grow. 

Garden Phlox is a profusely blooming perennial, often producing from summer until well into the fall. Available in shades of white, pink, and purple, and some gorgeous variegated options, Phlox fills out the midlevel of a bouquet, helping the whole arrangement make a statement.

Yarrow is an incredibly easy perennial to grow. Its clusters of tiny blossoms are around all summer long and can have a similar effect to baby’s breath in a bouquet. Yarrow is available in a wide range of colors, including white, pink, red, orange, and yellow. The delicate frond-type leaves of yarrow also make an excellent greenery addition to arrangements.

Shasta Daisies are a classic cutting garden perennial. Whether you use them in bouquets, or to make daisy crowns, they’re a cutting garden must-have! They bloom all summer, and cutting the flowers will encourage more blooms. 

 

Bulbs

Dahlias have a strong personality (in the best way!) and are available in every color you can imagine—from rich, deep shades to pale pastels, and everything in between. Single or double-blossom, every dahlia is striking and makes every bouquet a joy to look at it. 

Gladiolus are easy to grow and exude drama, confidence, and stamina. If you cut gladiolus just as its first blossom is starting to open and keep their water fresh, they’ll last for weeks in a vase. They’re an excellent statement flower that adds height to a bouquet.

 

Annuals from Seeds

Zinnias are annuals that are nearly foolproof to grow from seed and will bloom all summer long. They’re available in almost any shade and variegation and also come in specialty varieties with unique petal shapes.  

Cosmos are also easy to grow from seed and are likely to self-seed and come back every year. Their pretty pink, white, or purple daisy-like blossoms add a delicate note to fresh-cut bouquets.

Sunflowers are a diverse family of annuals. There are small ones designed for cutting that fit perfectly into a full garden bouquet, and there are much larger ones that act as a dramatic feature for a themed arrangement. The leaves of sunflowers are great for adding greenery to your cutting bouquets.

Love in a Mist, also known as Nigella, is unique, almost strange, and yet delicate and ethereal. They’re a self-seeder and are great for multi-season arrangements. Of course, the fresh blooms are beautiful, and the delicate fennel-like leaves add elegant texture. When the growing season comes to an end, the dried seed heads look fantastic in fall or winter arrangements. 

Start planning your cutting garden now so that you can fill your home, your office, and your friends’ homes with gorgeous arrangements from spring to late fall! Pop by our garden center for some more inspiration or tips from our expert staff. 

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Orchids: Care & Reblooming

Orchid Care and Reblooming

There’s nothing quite like the appeal of an exotic orchid. Their captivating colors and symmetry bring energy to the home like no other houseplant, however, it’s normal to feel some apprehension around the care of such a delicate-looking plant. Don’t worry, their long spikes and precious petals may look dainty, but indoor orchids are much tougher than they look!

Orchid Care Tips:

There are well over 30,000 species of orchids covering the planet, dwelling on every continent except for the ice of Antarctica, which we certainly can’t blame them for. With such a diverse plant family, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what your orchid needs. However, once you have the basics down, their care can actually be surprisingly simple!

Light: While many try to replicate the dim light of tropical forests, orchids actually enjoy a moderate amount of sunlight, and will prefer a space with bright, but indirect light in your home. Direct sunlight will burn their beautiful leaves. If they’re near the intense brightness of a south or west-facing window, make sure they’re a foot or two from the glass or break up the light with a set of sheers.

Temperature: As an exotic species, many orchid species would thrive in the humid heat of an Iowa summer. However, the moth orchid, one of the most common houseplant varieties, is better suited for life indoors, as it prefers common household temperatures. They’re most comfortable in 70-75℉ during the day and 60-65℉ at night.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

When to Water: Overwatering is very much a problem when it comes to orchid care. The key to orchid care is to let the soil dry out almost completely before watering it again. If you stick your finger into the soil and feel moisture, it’s not time yet! While the size of the pot, light levels, and soil type all play a significant factor, the general rule of watering it about once a week, and slightly less in the winter, is a safe estimate.

How to Water: When you do water your plant, it’s very important to water it well with room temperature water until it’s flowing freely from the drainage holes of the pot. While it’s important to water thoroughly, it’s also important not to let the roots sit in a pool of water, as orchids are not fans of having wet feet. Let the excess water drain into the sink or dump the basin soon after watering.

Fertilizer: As long as you provide the ideal light and water conditions, your orchid should bloom beautifully without the need for fertilizers. In their native habitat, they can actually be found growing on trees, so they can get by just fine without the richness of soil. However, you can fertilize monthly if you want to encourage extra blooms. Use a balanced fertilizer at half of the recommended dose, or a blend specifically made for orchids.

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How to Rebloom Orchids:

If we’re being honest, orchids aren’t typically grown for their foliage – it’s their vibrant, uniquely-shaped blossoms that trap both our gazes and our hearts. That being said, when their flowers fade, it can be upsetting to see them go. With a little encouragement, though, you can have the blooms returning in no time.

The first step to re-blooming your orchids actually goes back to orchid care. Fostering a healthy plant with strong roots is essential for it to re-bloom, so continuing the growth with adequate light and consistent, deep watering is crucial.

Reblooming orchids should also be exposed to a slightly greater range of daytime vs. nighttime temperatures. Inch them a little closer to their nearest window, where they’ll get more heat during the day and a cool draft at night.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

While having a healthy plant is necessary for all orchids, the method of re-blooming can vary. For the moth orchid, we recommend not to cut off the flower spike entirely. Instead, cut just above the highest node on the spike, allowing a new, blooming branch to grow off of the existing spike.

If the spike has already turned brown and there’s evidence of a new leaf, it may be too late for your orchid to reflower during this season. In this case, cut the old, dying spike off completely so your plant puts all of its energy into creating a spectacular show next year!

Orchids make the perfect potted plant, with spikes emerging so strong and tall that even just a few blossoms sitting on top provides enough charm for an entire room. Utterly hypnotizing and truly transcendent, they are a sure way to captivate your houseguests and bring a smile to your face every day!