Getting the best from cut flowers – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

This year was my second year growing flowers for cutting (I used Rocket Gardens’ plug plants this summer, but grew from seed last year), and I have a few learnings to share.

First up… it is really hard to harvest the flowers! As soon as I see the beautiful colours and watch the bees buzzing from flower to flower, I feel so guilty to cut them! The only way I can manage it is to only cut a small posy for an equally small vase – anything more than that feels just too much! I don’t think I’ll be the only one finding this part hard, so thought I would share!

With that point out of the way, here are the more useful things that I’ve learnt. When it comes to harvesting the flowers, it is much better to cut them early in the morning, while the temperature is still cool. When I’ve cut them in midday or in the afternoon heat, they have wilted badly, even if I’ve put them straight into water, and taken a good day or two to recover. On that note, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a small bucket of water with me as I harvest, so that I can put them straight into it while I’m cutting – it takes a little while to gather even a small posy, and it’s better for the flowers to have access to water, especially on a sunny day.

When it comes to putting the flowers into vases, I’ve been careful to strip the lower leaves off and cut the stem at an angle so that it doesn’t sit flat on the bottom of the vase. This means that the flowers last a bit longer, because they can get more water up, and because (I think) there are no rotting leaves sitting in the water. I’ve tried adding a teaspoon of sugar to the water too because I read that somewhere, but to be honest I don’t know if that helps or not!

One last thing that I have found with my cut flowers, which is very obvious really, is that they look so attractive in the vegetable garden and attract a lot of pollinators and generally cheer the place up. I’ve planted them into their own individual bed this year, but I’m thinking I might gather the seeds and scatter into other beds so that they can grow in amongst the vegetables next year. I imagine, the more flowers added to the veg garden, the better, for a more rounded eco-system. Perhaps I will report back on this next summer!

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