Growing your own cut flower patch can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. From sowing to harvest, many gardeners find themselves dreaming of vibrant and colorful vases filled with freshly cut flowers. Keep reading for tips on cut flower harvesting.
Harvesting Flowers from Cutting Gardens
While these types of specialty gardens are popular with market growers, hobbyists also find considerable joy in the creation of their own flower arrangements. Success in arranging your own cut flowers will require knowledge and consideration for the harvesting process, as well as the conditioning needs for various types of blooms.
When to pick cut flowers and how to harvest cut flowers can be one of the most difficult aspects of growing your own. While harvesting cut flowers may seem simple in theory, gardeners quickly find that the delicate blooms will often need special care in order to truly look their best. Plant type, growth habit, and even weather conditions at harvest time can all influence the overall presentation of cut flowers.
How to Harvest Cut Flowers
The first step in harvesting flowers from cutting gardens is the proper preparation of tools. Those harvesting cut flowers should thoroughly clean their garden shears, as well as the buckets that will be used to store the cut flowers. This will help ensure that bacteria is not introduced into the plant stems and, therefore, prolong the vase life of blooms.
Though certain varieties of flower will have special requirements, most will require the bucket to be filled with cool water in preparation for harvest.
Learning how to harvest cut flowers will also require familiarity with the optimal bloom stage. While some flowers should be picked early, others may perform best when allowed to open and mature in the garden. Knowing when to harvest will vary greatly from one flower type to the next. Harvesting flowers from cutting gardens prematurely or past their prime may cause a noticeable decrease in vase life or even cause the entire stem to wilt.
Cut flower harvesting is best done when temperatures are cool. For many gardeners, this means early in the morning. Mild, early morning temperatures help ensure that the flower stems are hydrated when snipped from the plant.
To cut the flower stem, simply make a cut on a 45-degree angle at the desired stem length. When harvesting cut flowers, place the blooms into the water bucket directly after cutting. At this time, remove all leaves from the stem that will sit below the water level of the bucket.
After cut flower harvesting has completed, many farmers suggest placing the stems in another bucket of clean warm water, with the addition of a floral preservative. This will aid the flowers as they continue to draw water and rehydrate. After several hours, flowers will then be ready to be used in vases, bouquets, and arrangements.