10 Of The Easiest Cut Flowers To Grow From Seed For Beginners
Nothing says flower farmer vibes more than holding a giant, multicoloured bouquet of homegrown flowers…in front of your face. It’s a serious vibe! And actually easy to do in your own backyard garden. This post will walk you through the 10 easiest cut flowers to grow from seed for beginners. You CAN be a flower farm even if you’re new to gardening.
In this post, I’ll walk you through:
- The 10 easiest cut flowers to grow from seed
- Detailed growing info on each flower
- Links to my favourite varieties of each flower for you to try.
Before you read any further I want you to know, you can 100% trust me on these cut flowers being easy to grow.
I still consider myself a rookie when it comes to growing flowers. Yet I’ve had great success with all these cut flower varieties. So you’ll have no problem!
This post may contain affiliate links to products for your convenience. From Soil to Soul gains a small commission from purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you.
Growing Flowers Is Easier Than Growing Veggies – Truly!
I used to have this perception that growing organic flowers was much harder than growing food. But I’ve found that couldn’t be further from the truth. I almost want to argue it’s the opposite.
Most cut flower varieties are easy to grow because;
- They can be started indoors or direct seeded in the garden.
- They require little fertilizing throughout the growing season.
- They are heat loving and will bloom for most of the summer.
Of course the queen of growing cut flowers is Floret Flower — a family farm based in Washington that has blown up over the last few years for their unique, heirloom flower varieties.
Image courtesy of Floret Flowers.
Be sure to go and check out the Floret Flower blog if you want to get serious about cut flower gardening and/or turn it into a business.
Why Start A Cut Flower Garden
Aside from the very obvious reason that growing cut flowers means bouquets (!!), there’s at least a dozen more reasons why you should start a cut flower garden.
First, back to the bouquet point…you will fall in love (trust me) with sharing homegrown cut flower bouquets all season long with your family and friends. It’s a special feeling to gift a gift you’ve grown.
The other main reason to grow your own cut flowers is…
The mainstream cut flower industry is NOT environmentally friendly.
In fact, it is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, considering the majority of the “popular” cutting flowers, like roses and tulips, are imported to North America from over seas.
On top of that, mainstream florists are selling flowers that have been treated with a range of heavy-duty fungicides to preserve them in transport.
All the more reason why you should grow your own homegrown, organic flowers in your backyard.
If growing cut flowers in your garden isn’t a possibility, please choose to support your local, organic flower farmer. There are incredible flower farms across Canada (and the U.S.) growing flowers in a sustainable way.
But the reason that tops my list for why to start a cut flower garden is that flowers attract pollinators to your garden, which will fertilize your vegetables and in turn give you greater yields on your food crops.
A few other reasons why you should grow flowers in your garden:
Adds plant diversity to your garden and maintains a healthy micro-ecosystem.
Offers a potential side income by selling your cut flower bouquets.
Reduces your carbon footprint as you won’t need to buy imported flowers from a florist or the grocery store.
Uses more of your garden space by tucking flowers between rows of vegetables.
Suppresses weeds by using flowers as a ground cover.
Are you convinced you should grow cut flowers yet?
10 Of The Easiest Cut Flowers To Grow From Seed For Beginners
Here is my top 10 list of easy-to-grow cut flowers for beginners. I’d still consider myself a “rookie” flower grower, and I’ve had success growing these 10 cut flowers in my Zone 3 Manitoba garden. So I know you will too!
P.S. This list includes annual flowers only, so keep in mind they are all flowers that grow for only one season.
10 Best Flowers To Grow For A Home Cutting Garden
Keep reading for more growing info on each flower!
8. Sweet Peas
9. Bachelor Buttons
For more specific info on how to successfully grow a cutting flower garden in Canadian grow zones, we have two fantastic episodes of The Grow Guide Podcast on the topic!
For practical growing advice, I’d suggest listening to Growing A Cut Flower Garden With Lynsey Sable or try the episode Keeping Your Cut Flowers Blooming All Season Long.
How To Grow 10 Easy Annual Flowers For A Home Cutting Garden
Sunflowers are a must-grow in a beginner cut flower garden. I almost want to tell you they are fail-proof because they are so incredible easy to grow.
Sunflowers will grow in just about any soil type and can withstand drought-like conditions. They’re also the flower I find puts a smile on anyone’s face who visits my garden. Sunflowers are just a feel good flower.
How To Grow Sunflowers For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Very easy, rookie-friendly for beginner gardeners.
SUN: Requires full sun, minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
PLANTING: Direct sow Sunflowers in the garden outside after all risk of frost is gone. In Zone 3 in Manitoba, this is typically any time after May 27. Sow seeds about a 1/2″ deep and water consistently until germination.
Pro-Tip: Avoid starting sunflowers indoors, they do not transplant well and their growth will likely be stunted.
GROWING: Amend the soil where you’re going to plant your Sunflowers with an all-purpose organic compost. Mix it into the top layer of soil. Once seedlings have emerged, keep well watered. I apply a liquid kelp-based fertilizer called Sea Magic to my sunflowers every month or so to encourage blooming, however this isn’t necessary. Sunflowers will do well with simply consistent water and sunlight.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: For cut flowers, select branching Sunflower varieties rather than single stem as they will give you more cut flowers from a single plant. My fav varieties are Sunrich Lemon, Italian White and Solar Power (bright orange blooms!).
Poppies also top the list as one of the easiest cut flowers for beginners to grow for two key reasons:
1. Poppies are one of the very first flowers that can be seeded in the garden even before your last frost. They will actually germinate better in cold soil.
2. Poppies must be direct seeded for best results, meaning no indoor seed starting required!
I used to think Poppies were kind of an old lady flower and never really grew them. That is until I discovered the hundreds of gorgeous varieties available, like these frilly Double Pink Poppies pictured above.
I also love cutting some of the unopened seed heads from the stem to add to bouquets. It adds really cool texture when placed among colourful flowers.
How To Grow Poppies For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Very easy, rookie-friendly for beginner gardeners.
SUN: Full sun to partial shade. Plant in an area that gets the most morning light. Shade throughout the hottest hours of the afternoon is a benefit.
PLANTING: Direct sow Poppies early in the Spring even before your last frost. In my Zone 3 garden in southern-Manitoba, this is typically around the first week of May, but I have seeded poppies as early as mid-April. Sow seeds on the surface of the soil and gently cover with a thin layer of soil. Seeds are very tiny and fine, so you do not want to plant them deep. Water well so they stick to the soil and keep from blowing away.
GROWING: Poppies are very easy to maintain. Water regularly during germination so soil is consistently wet. You may need to thin seedlings slightly if many seedlings appear close together. However, you can simply let Poppies grow and they are still likely to bloom. They really are that easy!
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: There are two main categories of Poppies — California Poppies and Meconopsis Poppies. In my experience, California Poppies are much easier to germinate and grow. A few of my favourite varieties include Purple Peony Poppy (frilly and delicate!), Mission Bells and Thai Silk.
Zinnias were the very first cut flower I ever grew in my veggie garden, and I immediately fell in love with their long stems and layers of petals. They have a special place in my heart.
Though I would consider Zinnias slightly more challenging to grow than Sunflowers and Poppies, they are definitely still a beginner-friendly, easy cut flower to grow.
What I love most about Zinnias is that they produce blooms throughout the entire Summer and well into Fall. They are a cut and come again flower that you’ll be adding to bouquets for months.
How To Grow Zinnias For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but requires regular care throughout the growing season.
SUN: Full sun. Plant in an area of your garden that gets minimum 8 hours of direct sunlight.
PLANTING: Start Zinnias indoors OR direct sow. I personally prefer to start my Zinnias indoors 8 weeks before my last frost date (usually mid-March in my Zone 3 garden). Starting your Zinnias indoors will result in earlier blooms. I also find it easier to transplant started seedlings so I can space them 8-10” apart to ensure they grow big and tall. However if you choose to direct sow, plant after your last frost date and cover seeds with a light layer of soil. Keep consistently wet during germination. Zinnias should germinate within 10-15 days of direct sowing.
GROWING: Harvest your Zinnia flowers regularly to encourage more growth. I’d also suggest pruning your plants to encourage longer stems and more flowers from a single plant. I find this makes a huge difference! To prune, simply take a clean pair of scissors or garden shears and cut off the top few inches of the stem. I typically feed my Zinnias monthly throughout the growing season with my go-to liquid plant-based, organic fertilizer Sea Magic.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: There’s so many great Zinnia varieties to choose from! Queeny Lime Orange is an all time fav of mine for the gorgeous peach coloured blooms, but I also love Giant Blue Point Formula and Orange Cupcake.
Marigolds were another flower I wasn’t all that excited about when I first started gardening. When I finally did grow them, it wasn’t with the intention of using for cut flower bouquets but because of the nostalgia it brought from my travels through India.
Marigolds are huge in Indian culture and used for decorations at weddings and events. I think back to the first day I arrived in India in 2016 and was greeted by my host family with a crown of orange Marigold flowers. Such a special moment.
Needless to say, that first year of growing Marigolds made me actually love the texture and bright pop of colour they added to a bouquet. And I’ve been hooked ever since!
How To Grow Marigolds For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Easy, resilient flowers that can withstand difficult growing conditions.
SUN: Full sun, however Marigolds will still bloom in partial shade.
PLANTING: For best results, I suggest starting Marigolds indoors under grow lights 8 weeks before your last frost. This ensures you have blooms early in the season. If you do choose to direct sow, Marigolds can germinate in cold soil and can be planted 1-2 weeks before your last frost. Plants will germinate quickly.
GROWING: Transplant started Marigolds in the garden after your last frost (anytime after May 27 in my Zone 3 Manitoba garden, but wait until the first week of June to be safe). First amend your soil with an all-purpose organic compost, mixing it into your soil. Once plants are 6-8” tall, prune them by cutting back the first few inches of growth. This will encourage more blooms. If I remember, I will fertilize my Marigolds with Sea Magic but they really don’t need it. They’ll bloom all season long regardless!
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: For your classic-looking yellow Marigolds, try Sugar and Spice. If you’re looking for something a little more funky, try Sparky Mix — the petals have layers of different shades of orange.
If you’re a listener of The Grow Guide podcast, you know how much I talked about my Cosmos last season. They easily won for my best-performing cut flower AND bloomed well into October! I love Cosmos. They are lady-like, delicate and productive.
But here’s what you’ll love best of all about growing Cosmos for cut flowers — they actually do better in poor soil. Yes, strange but true! I plant my Cosmos along my garden pathway where the soil is more depleted of nutrients and doesn’t get as much water or fertilizer. And believe it or not, that’s where my Cosmos grow best!
How To Grow Cosmos For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Easy, take a “less is more” approach with Cosmos.
SUN: Full sun, select a site in your garden that receives 8 hours of direct sunlight.
PLANTING: You can either direct sow your cosmos or start them indoors. I have always chosen to direct sow as I find it’s easier. Sow Cosmo seeds after your last frost (usually last week of May in Zone 3). I sow my seeds densely just on top of the soil surface and cover with a light layer of soil to keep in place. Keep seeds consistently wet during germination and you will see seedlings emerge within 10-15 days.
GROWING: Your Cosmos will get big and bushy if you give them the space to. This is ideal for cut flowers as it will encourage longer stems. Aside from regular watering, Cosmos require very little care throughout the growing season. You can deadhead the dead flower heads from your plants to encourage new growth, but it is not necessary.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: I like growing a blended seed mix of Cosmos, so I can have a variety of bloom colours. Try the Sensation Mix for pink and purple blooms. A beautiful white variety is Snow Puff.
I originally started growing Calendula in my garden to use as an edible flower. Calendula has incredible medicinal properties and can be used for tea or in tinctures. It also makes a great companion plant for most veggie crops.
However, I quickly realized Calendula also made a great addition to cut flower bouquets. They are one of the easiest flowers to grow and productive for a long time. We have calendula blooms from Spring until Fall in our Zone 3 garden.
How To Grow Calendula For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Very easy, great for all skill levels.
SUN: Full sun to partial shade. Calendula will still bloom in a shade environment as long as it receive 4-6 hours of direct sun daily.
PLANTING: Direct sow Calendula seeds 1 week or so before your last frost in the Spring as soon as the soil is workable. Calendula will germinate better in cool soil temperatures. Plant seeds about 1/4” deep and keep soil consistently wet during germination.
GROWING: Calendula grows well in a wide range of soil types. You can amend your soil with compost, but it is not necessary. Water Calendula consistently throughout the season and deadhead as needed. No need to fertilize! Blooms will continue regardless.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: Zeolights Calendula has been my go-to variety for the last few years (pictured above). I also like Indian Prince for bright orange blooms.
Strawflowers are the wow flower in a cut flower bouquet. The first time I grew Strawflowers I was like “wait, what?!” The papery texture, the dozens of layers of petals, the tiny flower heads, the variation of colours…the wow factor is serious with Strawflowers. As the name suggests, the petals really do have a dry, straw-like feeling to them.
On top of all that, they are by far my favourite flower for drying. So you can enjoy Strawflowers in fresh cut flower bouquets or dried. Have I convinced you to grow Strawflowers? Hope so!
How To Grow Strawflowers For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but do best when started early indoors under grow lights so requires some pre-planning.
SUN: Full sun is best for continuous blooms.
PLANTING: Start indoors 8-10 weeks before your last frost date. In Zone 3, I typically start my Strawflowers indoors in mid-March. I sow the seeds just on the soil surface as they need light to germinate. I then water from below using a second tray underneath my cells that I fill with water.
GROWING: Transplant Strawflowers in the garden after your last frost in the Spring. They need warm soil above 10°C/50°F in order to survive. I feed my strawflowers with Sea Magic once or twice throughout the growing season, but do not have a consistent fertilizing schedule for them. I’m convinced they’d do great without fertilizer too.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: It can sometimes be difficult to source Strawflower seed, but I have grown Sultane Strawflowers, over the last few years and really enjoyed them.
8. Sweet Peas
You may be surprised to see Sweet Peas on an “easy to grow” cut flower list as I know they come with challenges for many gardeners. But hear me out…
Sweet Peas can and do grow great in a Zone 3 garden if you do these three key things:
1. Direct sow. Do NOT start indoors. I think this is where most growers go wrong. Sweet Peas do not transplant well.
2. Sow BEFORE your last frost. Sweet Peas germinate really well in cold soil.
3. Provide a netting or trellis for your Sweet Peas to grow up. Otherwise, their growth will be stunted and you won’t get long enough stems for cut flowers.
And there you go! Just like that, Sweet Peas are now an easy-to-grow cut flower.
How To Grow Sweet Peas For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Moderately easy, but does require attention and care.
SUN: Full sun, however plants can tolerate some shade.
PLANTING: As mentioned, direct sow Sweet Peas only. Do NOT start indoors as they will not transplant well. Sow Sweet Pea seeds 1/2” deep into soil that has been amended with compost. I sow my Sweet Peas the first week of May in my Zone 3 Manitoba garden. Keep soil wet during germination. Seedlings will start to emerge after 15-20 days.
GROWING: Continue to consistently water seedlings throughout the entire season. In early June, plants will start to fall over if they don’t have support. Add a netting behind them to grow up. I secure my netting by stapling it to wooden posts on either end. The netting I use is about 6’ wide and 6’ tall.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: For continuous blooms all season long, I love the Spencer Blend. It comes in a variety of pink, purple and white blooms.
9. Bachelor Buttons
I don’t think Bachelor Buttons (also known as Centaurea or Cornflowers) get nearly enough love! They are super easy to grow and have a fun whimsical feel to them. For me, Bachelor Buttons are that flower I always seem to forget I’ve planted in the Spring and am delighted to see bloom come Summer.
I love growing Bachelor Buttons for cut flower bouquets because they are small flowers that work well as filler amongst larger flower heads. They’re also one of the only blue flowers I’ve ever grown!
How To Grow Bachelor Buttons For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Very easy, a great flower for beginner gardeners.
SUN: Full sun, aim to plant in a location that receives 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
PLANTING: Direct sow Bachelor Buttons a week or so before your last frost in Spring. You want the soil to be workable and warm, but if a nighttime frost comes it will not kill seeds. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil and gently cover with a little bit of soil. Seeds are tiny so do not worry about spacing. You can thin later on as needed.
GROWING: During germination and early stages of seedling growth, be sure to water Bachelor Buttons continuously to keep soil damp. However, once plants are established they are actually quite drought tolerant and can withstand dry soil conditions. You can fertilize your Bachelor Buttons throughout the season but it is not necessary. Instead, focus your efforts on sowing more seeds so you can have blooms at intervals throughout the growing season.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: I’ve had great success growing Blue Boy.
Daisies are that classic flower you probably think of when you imagine a field of flowers. At least I do! Though daisies don’t typically grow big and tall, you can train the stems to grow long enough to be used in cut flower bouquets.
That is one of the reasons why they made this list. The second reason is that Daisies are just really easy to grow in all grow zones. Like so easy. In fact, many Daisies are even hardy to Zone 3 as a perennial, meaning you may see daisies come back again for a second season from self seeding in the Fall or if you prune back and mulch the plant before the snow comes.
How To Grow Daisies For Cut Flowers
DIFFICULTY: Extremely easy for gardeners of all skill levels.
SUN: Full sun with a minimum of 8 hours of daylight for plenty of blooms.
PLANTING: I have experience direct sowing Daisies in the Spring a week or so before my last frost date. This is usually toward the second last week of May in my Zone 3 garden. I simply sprinkle the seeds on the soil surface, gently cover with soil and keep moist during germination. Easy as that.
GROWING: I’ve found Daisies grow best in well drained soil that is not too rich. So I avoid fertilizing and amending my soil where my Daisies are planted. This helps produce more blooms rather than foliage. You can deadhead your plants throughout the season so the plant can focus its energy on creating new blooms.
SUGGESTED VARIETIES: For a fun mix of colours, try Painted Daisies!
And there you have it!
Those are the 10 easiest cut flowers to grow from seed for beginners in a Zone 3 or similar growing region.
Comment below if there’s any other easy-to-grow cut flower varieties you love! And be sure to tag me in your bouquet photos on Instagram this season @fromsoiltosoul.
Happy flower growing!
Just ordered your Cut Flower Plant Set, something to look forward to while looking out at our backyard full of snow!
This is my first year planting a cut flower garden. Hadn’t thought of trying straw flowers but will definitely be trying them now!
Love the new website and very happy to hear the new podcast episode last week.
Thanks for your great list and information. My daughter wants to start a little cut flower side hustle to keep her busy on summer break. Do you have any recommendations for greenery to add to the bouquets as well?
Ou great question! I love growing cosmos for all the great foliage they provide. Additionally dahlias have really nice foliage too for filler plants. I’d recommend she also check out Shifting Roots blog https://shiftingroots.com/ as she has tons of great info for cut flower farmers.