Throughout the summer season in the garden, I find myself busy as a bee caring for my sunflowers. They need constant care with watering and tending.

From one day to the next I find a new challenge comes along. The seedling are leaning towards the light and are fragile before hardening off, then they get leggy and droop on transplanting and need a little help standing tall.

My mature plants are given good solid stakes to lean on, but are not ‘strangle held’ as to stop heliotropism – which you can find out about here. The freshly cut flowers I have around my home are regularly treated to fresh water and a homemade cocktail of soluble food, to prolong their lives.

So why are my sunflowers drooping? First of all make sure all developing plants are well drained and have been watered. Seedlings are usually floppy and will soon get stronger when hardened off. Mature plants have heavy drooping heads and need staking, while cut wilting flowers might need a change of water and a bit more care.

Below are the reasons I’ve found for drooping or wilting sunflowers. But, on experience and a little research I have come across a few more factors that I’d like to expand on and share with you.

So let us see how we can help hold our sunflower heads up high.

Contents

Sunflower Seedlings Falling Over

Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants, so it’s not surprising that they get tall and floppy really fast. Not just sunflower seedlings, but all seedlings that are grown indoors can get leggy and even fall over as they strain towards the natural sunlight. If you’re growing seedlings indoors then place them in the most sunny place as you can, A south facing windowsill is ideal.

Make sure the seedling trays, or pots have good drainage so they’re not sitting in soggy soil. I also turn my seedlings daily and gently brush my hands over them a few times a day. This gives them the feeling that they’re fighting against the wind and they grow stronger.

If all else fails. bend a pipe cleaner or stiff garden wire and make a support. Gently prop your sunflower seedling against the supports until it is time to harden them off.

Sunflower Seedlings Wilting After Transplanting

‘Hardening off’ means that you gradually introduce your sunflower seedlings to their new outdoor life. This is done a few weeks before you transplant them into their summer growing site. It takes a bit of dedication and care, but it will ensure better sunflower results.

How to Harden off Sunflowers

  1. Place your seedling trays and pots in a sunny, but sheltered place on firm ground for a few hours every day
  2. Make sure you bring them in at night
  3. Gradually increase the hours each day
  4. Continue until the last of the harsh weather has gone
  5. Plant your sunflowers in the ground.

Sunflowers grow fast, and to grow strong they need a lot of sun to do this. So make sure you plant your sunflower seedlings in as sunny a place as you can. Six hours of sunlight is ideal.

If your seedlings start to wilt, this is usually known as ‘transplanting shock’. Make sure they are gently watered and if you need to use wire supports then do so. Be patient, they will soon get strength from being outside in their new ground and the natural sunlight from above.

A sunflower in need of a little support.

Maturing Sunflowers Bending Over

Now your sunflowers are growing fast and tall in their growing sites. If you’re lucky they will soon gain the strength to hold themselves up. If not and your giant beauties are leaning and bending over, then a helping hand is required.

Strong stakes and canes are ideal. Push them into the ground next to each sunflower plant and gently prop the stem against them. Next wrap twine or plastic coated garden wire tightly around the canes and loosely around the stem of the plant.

Do not tie the plant in a ‘strangle hold’ against the canes as it will prevent the sunflower from following the sun, this is an important part of the sunflowers growth.

Having grown sunflowers for many years, I use a support cane system! They’re so easy to use, durable and year after year they haven’t let me down – or my sunflowers.

Sunflowers Supports

It’s been several years since I needed to buy new ones, but if you’re planning on growing sunflowers for many years to come, or have any other tall plants that need support, I found similar ones that are perfect here on amazon.

If you’d like more in depth ideas of how to make supports for your sunflower I’ve written it all in helpful detail here.

Building a framework around your sunflowers out of canes, stakes poles or garden treated wood is a big help to them too. It takes time and can be a little awkward to get in amongst your maturing plants, so maybe a bit of forward planning is needed.

Nonetheless, if you’ve got this far and your plants need support then a bit of time working on a frame or erecting trellis will go a long way to help them.

Why Sunflower Heads Droop Over

There are a few reasons why sunflower heads droop over. First of all, make sure your plants are fully hydrated. It’s important to water your sunflowers often as they grow so quickly and can dry out fast. There have been days I’ve had to water my sunflowers in the morning and evening to stop their blooms drooping.

When a sunflowers head has completely bloomed, when it’s been pollinated and becomes heavy with seeds, then it’s perfectly normal for the head to bend over and droop down.

The heaviness is one thing and the reason for it is so the seeds can fall to the ground so they can nestle there and grow the following year.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done, It’s part of the natural life cycle of the sunflower. But don’t be disheartened. This means your sunflower has paid you back for all the care you have given it by producing a high yield of seeds for you. Save some to grow next year, and do this with your seeds!

A sunny bouquet

How to Keep Cut Sunflowers from Drooping

Not only do I love having sunflowers in my garden, I love having the bright blooms displayed in my home too.

Here are a few tips to keeps your sunflowers from wilting, and to make wilting sunflowers perky again. If cared for properly, cut sunflowers can last up to 2 weeks.

Cutting Your Own Sunflowers

I always try and give the sunflowers I cut from my garden, to display in my home a good start to help them last as long as possible. Here are some great tips to care for cut sunflowers.

  • Choose a sunflower that is starting to open up or nearly bloomed
  • Water your sunflower plants thoroughly early in the morning, at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting any bloom off. This will help prevent your cuttings from going into shock.
  • Try and get your cuttings in the morning, a few hours after watering and before the full sun has dehydrated them again.
  • Cut the stem the length you require at an angle. Sunflower stems are thick and need a lot of water, cutting at an angle gives a greater area for more water to draw up the stem.
  • Having a vase that supports the length of stem you’ve cut will help them not to droop.
  • Put the sunflowers in water straight away. This will prevent early wilting.
  • If possible, change the water every day.
  • When placing the flowers back in the clean water, jiggle them about in the water. This will release any air bubbles caught at the bottom of the stem that prevent water from being drawn up and cause wilting.

Remember: If cared for properly, cut sunflowers can last up to 2 weeks.

Buying or Being Gifted a Bouquets of Sunflowers

If you’ve bought, or been given a bunch of sunflowers, here’s a few tips after unwrapping them to give them a welcome to your home, and hopefully stop any further wilting that may be in process from their journey to your house.

  • Try and use a suitable height of vase or pot that will support the stem length.
  • First recut the sunflowers stem at an angle. This will give a large fresh area of healthy stem for them to draw up water
  • Place in water as soon as possible and jiggle the stems to release any pockets of air bubbles. The bubbles give resistance to the flow of water going up the stem, this can cause wilting.
  • Change the water regularly, once a day would be ideal. And again jiggle them.

Sunflowers Drooping in a Vase

After some days, if your vase of sunflowers are starting to wilt, try these ideas to perk them up again

  • Make sure there is water in the vase. It sound crazy but Sunflowers drink a lot and can dehydrate fast, causing them to wilt.
  • Placing your sunflowers in a tall vase or pot might be all they need to add support to their long stems and stop them from drooping.
  • Recut the stem at an angle, this will be a fresh area for water to be drawn up.
  • Put your sunflowers in clean water and jiggle them about to release air bubbles from the stem. That way the water will have no resistance going up the stem.
  • Shop bought bouquets sometimes come with a packet of plant food. If you’ve used it all up then a half a teaspoon of sugar dissolved in the water can sometimes help wilting sunflowers.

Conclusion

I hope some of these tips and hints have helped with your drooping sunflower dilemas. From seedlings falling over, sunflower plants bending, blooms drooping down and vase sunflowers wilting, I’ve seen it all and I hope I’ve given a few ideas to help with these problems.

I also hope I’ve given you the confidence to cut your own sunflowers to enjoy in your home too. If you have any other ideas of how to help with drooping, wilting, and floppy sunflowers I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you.

Related Questions

Sunflower leaves are drooping: This is an indication that the sunflower plant, or vase of sunflowers are dehydrated. Sunflowers don’t need to be over watered, but they do need to be regularly watered. Give them a good watering and they should perk up.

Sunflowers

Care Tips:

With proper care, sunflowers should last from six to twelve days. To maximize the vase life, look for flowers that are just starting to fully open. Choose strong, straight stems with perky flowers that look at you. Once home follow a few simple care tips to extend the life of your blooms:

  1. When you get home, stand the wrapped flowers in water so they can get a good drink while you’re getting the vase ready.
  2. Fill a vase with water and allow it to come to room temperature. If you’re using floral foam, let it soak until it is fully saturated and sinks to the bottom.
  3. Add a packet of flower food to extend bloom life. If you don’t have flower food, dissolve half a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a few drops of bleach in 4 cups of water to create a home-made substitute.
  4. An deal choice as a sentiment and get well gift, sunflowers convey pure and lofty thoughts.
  5. Slant cut the stems to the desired length, cutting at least ½” from the bottom. Flower stems naturally begin to seal their ends, so cutting them helps the flower to take in fresh clean water and extends their vase life. The shorter the stem the more water will feed the bloom.
  6. Remove any leaves that will be submerged as these will rot over time.
  7. Arrange stems to your liking, varying the height and position. Add other flowers to the arrangement once all the sunflowers are positioned.
  8. Sunflowers are thirsty flowers, so check the water frequently and add fresh water to fill the vase.
  9. Change the water if it starts looking cloudy, rinse the stems clean. You may also want to recut the stems under water to help the flower uptake water.
  10. Continue to remove spent leaves to keep the bouquet looking fresh longer.

About Sunflowers:

With bright yellow petals and vibrant energy, sunflowers are the happiest of flowers. Symbolizing longevity, loyalty, and adoration, no flower lifts the spirit quite like sunflowers. A simple bouquet adds indoor sunshine to a room, brightening the day and evoking feelings of warmth, cheerfulness, and happiness.

Sunflowers have an unmistakable resemblance to their namesake. But did you know that as sunflowers grow, they actually follow the sun each day? Their heads face the east in the morning as the sun rises, turn throughout the day to follow its track from east to west, finally facing back to the east at night to greet the next day.

The color palette of sun flowers is eye catching as they come in vibrant orange, red, yellow, white and even lime green!

Sunflowers are native to North America and have been cultivated for centuries as a food source that’s high in vitamin E and thought to lower cholesterol. Both the seeds and oil have an irresistible nutty flavor. Although cut sunflowers are harvested before seeds form, they can be a good reminder to stock up on this delicious snack!

Sunflowers have also long been an inspiration to artists for their natural beauty. Impressionist art is famous for its fascination with the sunflower. They’re synonymous with Vincent Van Gogh, who painted two different series of sunflowers in shades of bright yellow, deep blue, and subtle browns to decorate his home in Arles.

Sunflowers open faces convey warmth and happiness.

Inspiration:

Sunflowers come in wide variety of sizes and colors, ranging from small to large blooms in brilliant yellows, sunset reds, and every hue in between. With strong, towering stems and vibrant shades, sunflowers create a big impact even from a distance.

Great on their own, sunflowers also pair well with smaller flowers and foliage to be the ones turning heads! From simple arrangements and stylish silhouettes to opulent arrangements for special occasions, sunflowers are an inspiring choice:

Classic:

Arrange yellow sunflowers in a glass vase lined with large leathery foliage to radiate pure sunshine. Their long, gracefully arched necks look best in a tall narrow vase that supports their height and display their large flowers a few inches above the rim.

Dramatic:

For a tall striking centerpiece, balance sunflowers with sprays of slender dark blue delphiniums in colors that borrow from Van Gogh.

Exotic:

Combine coral roses, purple orchids, and yellow sunflowers to create a lush centerpiece. Add purple dahlias to mix up the height and texture.

Get Well:

Sunflowers are the ultimate feel good gift to brighten someone’s day. For a cheerful, optimistic bouquet, pair white roses, snap dragons, and chrysanthemums with sunflowers. Vary the heights and mix in greens for fullness and texture.

Wedding:

Synonymous with adoration, available year-round, and affordable, sunflowers are the perfect wedding flower! They add a bright splash of color next to the bride’s white gown. Combine with mums and carnations in shades of orange, white, or purple for added color and contrast.

The use of sunflower images were also used as religious symbols, worshipped by The Incans and an inspiration to Vincent Van Gogh.

Flower Care Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is flower food?
  2. What do I do if I don’t have enough flower food?
  3. Why aren’t ice packs included in your boxes?
  4. Will my flowers be okay even though they were out of water overnight?
  5. Do I need to hold the stems under water as I cut them?
  6. Which flowers will last the longest?
  7. How long will my flowers take to open?
  8. How can I get my Gerbera Daisies to stand up straight?
  9. What should I do if my Sunflowers are drooping?
  10. Why don’t any of your mixed bouquets include Daffodils?
  11. Help! My Alstroemeria looks wilted.

What is flower food?

Well, it’s not actually food. Cut flowers don’t really require anything more than fresh clean water, and the substance known as “flower food” makes sure that’s what they get. It’s a mild antibacterial agent, and should help keep your water fresh and clear.

What do I do if I don’t have enough flower food?

Don’t panic. As long as you start with clean water, remove any foliage that rests below the water line, and change the water every few days, your flowers should be fine. If you’re truly concerned, you can always add a single drop of bleach to the water, or grab a packet from your grocery store. Most stores that sell flowers will have some on hand, and should be happy to give you one. Don’t rely on tricks like putting 7Up in the water or leaving a penny in the vase; if these have any effect at all, it’s a negative one.

Why aren’t ice packs included in your boxes?

Contrary to popular belief, ice packs actually don’t do much for flowers. When we used them, we found that their positive effect on the flowers was almost nil (as they tend to become warm within a few hours of being activated), and they would occasionally come loose and rattle around the box, damaging the flowers. Naturally, we stopped using them.

Will my flowers be okay even though they were out of water overnight?

They’ll be fine. You may not know it, but florists have been doing this for years. Flowers are actually quite hardy, especially when they’re in bud form, and they will essentially become dormant while they’re in transit. The stem ends will seal up, though, so you’ll need to cut at least an inch off the bottom of each stem when you receive them. Some flowers may also require a bit of support while they’re rehydrating. We wrap our Tulips in protective paper and ship our Gerbera Daisies in a special tray, just for this reason.

Do I need to hold the stems under water as I cut them?

Is it necessary to cut them at an angle? While neither of these practices will hurt your flowers, they won’t do much to help them either. Just be sure to cut at least an inch off the end of each stem before you put them in water, and cut off a bit more each time you change the water.

Which flowers will last the longest?

You will probably be pleasantly surprised by the vase life of all of our flowers, but a few do stand out. All varieties of Lilies are extremely long lasting, and some types of Calla Lilies, particularly the tall white and green varieties, share that trait. Cut Orchids also have an exceptionally long vase life, and of course you can’t beat our potted Orchids, many of which can be re-bloomed.

How can I make my flowers last longer?

Proper flower care is relatively simple, but can make a huge difference in extending the life of your flowers. Just make sure to change the water regularly, and keep the flowers in a cool (65-72 degrees Fahrenheit) location. If you’re willing to make an extra effort, you can try misting the flowers gently; this won’t make as dramatic a difference, but may help keep your flowers hydrated.

How long will my flowers take to open?

On average, your flowers should open in 2-3 days, but this does vary with the type of flower you’ve received. Some flowers will begin opening almost immediately, while others, such as lilies, may take up to a week.

How can I get my Gerbera Daisies to stand up straight?

Gerbera Daisies may occasionally arrive with their stems a bit soft. To ensure that they straighten up properly, you’ll want to keep them supported while they rehydrate. Either use the tray they’re packed in to suspend the heads while they take their first drink of water, or put a clear drinking straw around each stem. The straws will support them throughout their vase life, and shouldn’t detract from the appearance of the flowers.

What should I do if my Sunflowers are drooping?

Sunflowers are unusual among cut flowers in that they actually should be in a bit of sun. Even after they are cut, Sunflower heads will track the sun across the sky, absorbing light and heat. So if your Sunflowers are drooping, it may be because they’re not getting enough sunlight. Put them in a sunny window and they should be fine!

Why don’t any of your mixed bouquets include Daffodils?

While Daffodils might look beautiful in a mixed bouquet, the bouquet wouldn’t last very long. When Daffodil stems are cut, they emit a kind of latex (known colloquially as “Daffodil slime”) that can be harmful to other flowers. We don’t recommend re-cutting the stems of your Daffodils, as this can cause more slime to be released.

Help! My Alstroemeria looks wilted.

Don’t worry; Alstroemeria will often arrive looking a bit tired, but it’s probably fine. Just cut the stems, put it in water, and it should start to perk up almost immediately. If it doesn’t look beautiful after a day in water, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

Tips For Cutting Flowers From Your Garden

Having access to fresh flowers whenever you want them is a joy that’s sure to brighten your home. For this reason, many people grow cutting gardens. These unique plots are designed to nurture flowers you can snip and bring into your home for decoration. Whether you already have a cutting garden or are thinking of growing one, here are some tips for taking flowers inside:

Cut Your Flowers in the Morning
Flowers need constant access to water or they’ll shrivel up. For this reason, when cutting your blooms, keep them in a water source as much as possible. The time of day during which you cut can help. Morning is ideal, as this is when flowers are the most hydrated. They’ve had dew and cool night air to enjoy, so they’re filled with water. When grabbing your plants, their stems should be firm, which indicates they’re hydrated.

​Quickly Transfer to a Vase
Because flowers should stay hydrated, you’ll need to move them to a vase soon after cutting them. Once you retrieve your flowers from your garden, place them either in a sink full of water or stick the ends of the stems under a running faucet. This way, they’ll still get to suck up water while you prepare the vase. Conversely, you can fill your vase with water and flower food before cutting your blooms in the morning.

Prune Your Flowers
Ideally, you want your flowers to grow with long stems so they’ll stand tall in vases and have more flexibility. To encourage this, you should reduce the number of bulbs on the plant so the remaining flowers have the nutrients to grow taller. Simply snip away extra bulbs at the joint where one stem merges with another.

Cut Flowers Often
Picking flowers actually helps the plant produce more, which is great for you. Whenever a bloom is open and ready to decorate your home, cut it. Not only will it encourage the plant to flower more, but you’ll get to enjoy fresh-cut flowers all of the time.

Grow Greenery
A great bouquet often features greenery alongside colorful flowers. Make sure your cutting garden includes filler plants, like baby’s breath, ferns, Queen Anne’s Lace and bells of Ireland. When planning your garden, consider which fillers will pair best with the flowers you choose to grow. That way, no matter what bouquets you make, you’ll have the components to craft a coordinated design.

If you don’t have a cutting garden or it’s the off season, enjoy fresh flowers by ordering them from a local florist.

Top Tips For Flower Cutting

Growing beautiful flowers in the garden has become a very popular activity. This is because people like using their home grown flowers in flower arrangements and bouquets to either decorate their homes or give as gifts. Even though cutting flowers may seem like a simple task, here are some top tips on cutting to help your flowers last as long as possible.

When to cut?

The best time to collect cut flowers is early in the morning. This is because this is usually the coolest part of the day and also when their stems are filled with water. Picking in warm and sunny conditions means the plants will be water-stressed.

The best stage to cut a flower is when it is just starting to show colour. Many people cut them in full bloom but cutting them at this stage means the flower will not last as long in the vase. However, if flowers are cut too early then they may not fully develop. For example a rose will not fully develop if in tight bud when cut.

For annual flowers, such as sweet peas, the more regularly they are cut, the longer they will bloom for. For slower growing shrubs, it is best to cut infrequently to avoid stressing the plant, which could lead to less flowers the following season.

Best way to cut

Stems should always be cut at an angle to help them take up the water freely. As soon as they are cut then they should be placed into a bucket of water. All the leaves that will sit below the water level should be removed to prevent any rotting in the water. It is then best to leave the flowers in a cool place for a few hours. This will allow the flowers to drink before being brought into a warmer environment. This conditioning will prolong their life.

The flowers can then be used to create a stunning arrangement. Once in the vase just ensure the flowers are watered regularly. It is advisable to change the water and re-cut the stems every 2 to 4 days.

How to plant and grow a cut flower garden

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While growing vegetables is my passion, I also grow a cut flower garden because I enjoy having a non-stop supply of beautiful flowers to harvest for homegrown bouquets. And while many plants are grown for their flowers – perennials, biennials, bulbs, and even edibles – annual flowers like zinnias and sunflowers are among the most popular type of cut flowers grown by gardeners. They’re productive, easy to grow, beautiful, and can be planted in gardens or containers.

Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange is a recent introduction with large, dahlia-like flowers in a unique combination of apricot and lime green.

Planning a cut flower garden

If you’re new to gardening, start with the right spot. Flowers need plenty of sun and rich, well-drained soil. Prep the site before planting by loosening the soil and digging in some compost and a slow-release flower fertilizer. Raised beds are a popular choice for gardeners who want a tidy garden that is easy to care for. No space for a cut flower garden? No worries! If you’re a casual cut flower gardener like me, you can tuck annual flowers wherever you have space – between vegetables, amongst your perennials and shrubs, or even in pots and planters.

First timers may want to stick to a few easy-to-grow annual flowers like zinnias and sunflowers. Read the descriptions in seed catalogs or on the plant tags at the nursery carefully. You’ll want to organize your cut flower garden so that the tallest plants are at the back of the bed, medium-sized ones in the middle, and short stature plants at the front. Also take note if certain cut flowers, like sweet peas or climbing nasturtiums grow on vining plants. These will need netting or a trellis to climb. Tall annuals, like certain zinnia and sunflower varieties, may need stakes or other types of support to prevent them from toppling over as they grow.

The ProCut Series Sunflowers are extremely popular among cut flower growers for their beautiful color range and long-lasting, single stem flowers that are pollenless. This is ProCut White Nite. (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

Planting a cut flower garden

While many annual flowers are fast-growing and can be direct sown in the garden in spring, planting seedlings gives you a head-start on the season. Generally, I start my annual cut flowers inside under my grow-lights around 6 to 8 weeks before our last expected frost. Read the seed packet or catalog for variety-specific growing information.

You can also buy annual flowers like cosmos and phlox at your local nursery, but it can be hard to source the varieties that have been bred for cut flower production. And if you want high-quality cut flowers, these are the varieties to grow. They offer outstanding characteristics like long vase life, longer stems, and bigger flowers. Again, it pays to read seed catalogs carefully.

The key to a non-stop supply of beautiful blooms is succession planting. Cut flower farmers don’t plant zinnias, for instance, just once. Why? After a few weeks of intense blooming, the flower production of many annuals declines or the bloom size shrinks. Planting fresh seedings every two to three weeks ensures a steady supply of large, florist-quality flowers. My season is short, but I still make three plantings of zinnias so that I have gorgeous, huge blooms for my bouquets.

Growing cut flowers

There are a few tasks to keep on top of as the growing season progresses. Many plants, like zinnias and Celosia benefit from pinching. Pinching is done to young plants to encourage them to branch and produce longer stems for bouquets. Plants are usually pinched when they are 10 to 12 inches tall. Use your fingers or a clean pair of pruners to remove the growing tip, pinching back to a healthy set of leaves.

Pay attention to watering as water-stressed plants produce fewer and smaller flowers. Hold soil moisture with a mulch like straw, shredded leaves, or black landscape fabric applied to the soil surface. Mulch also reduces weed growth and, if a black landscape fabric is used, it will warm the soil promoting growth, especially in late spring and early summer.

To keep flower production high, feed the plants every two to three weeks with a liquid organic flower fertilizer. Never leave dead flowers on the plants. If they are producing more flowers than you need, harvest them all as they open and share them with friends, family, neighbors, or a local nursing home. Spent blossoms that are left on the plant reduce production so be sure to pick all newly opened blooms several times a week.

Harvesting flowers at the right time of day and with the right techniques can mean the difference between an arrangement that lasts for hours or one that lasts for weeks! (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

Picking flowers from a cut flower garden

Did you know that proper flower harvesting can extend the vase life of cut flowers? Here are a few cutting tips:

  • Harvest in the morning or evening, avoiding the heat of the day.
  • Harvest flowers from plants that are well irrigated and not water stressed.
  • Have a clean bucket (or two if you’re harvesting a lot of flowers) ready and filled with cool water.
  • Make sure your pruning shears or snips are sharp and clean.
  • Cut flower stems at a slant to increase surface area and water update.
  • Remove any foliage that would be under water.
  • As soon as the bucket is full or you are done harvesting, bring it into a cool, shaded space to arrange your flowers.

5 Awesome annuals for your cut flower garden:

Sunflowers are a must in a cut flower garden. Not only are they easy to grow, their cheerful flowers come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and forms. There are two main types of sunflowers: single stem and branching. Single stem sunflowers do exactly what you think – they produce a single stem that is topped with one flower. When growing single stem varieties, like the Pro Cut series, you can plant the seeds close together (6 to 7 inches apart) to get more from your growing space, but expect smaller flowers. Those planted on a one-foot grid spacing will produce larger blooms. Single stem sunflowers last up to two weeks in water.

Branching sunflower varieties, on the other hand, yield plants that produce flowers over an extended season. The stems are generally not as strong as those of single stemmed sunflowers and they do take several weeks longer to flower. Personally, I like to plant some of each type so that I have a long harvest season and plenty of variety.

One last note about sunflowers – certain hybrids are pollenless and don’t drop pollen that can stain clothing and tablecloths. You may wish to grow these in your cut flower garden.

I love sunflowers! And to enjoy the longest season of the cheerful blooms, I plant fresh seeds every 2-3 weeks from late spring through mid-summer.

2. Celosia

I am a BIG fan of the velvety, long-lasting flowers of Celosia which come in a tempting palette of colors. Some species have feathery plumes, while others have rounded, folded combs and are also known as cockscomb. All make excellent cut flowers for homegrown bouquets.

Celosia takes a bit too long to go from seed to harvest to direct seed in my zone 5 garden and therefore I grow them from seedlings. You can grow the seedlings yourself or buy them from a local nursery. If you’re after a certain variety however, I’d recommend starting your own seeds indoors about eight weeks before the spring frost date. Chief Mix is a choice blend of cockscomb-types in bold shades of dark red, fuchsia, carmine, and gold.

Celosia is a heat-lover and wants a site with plenty of sun as well as compost enriched soil. The two to four foot tall, top-heavy plants benefit from sturdy support, so after planting it’s a good idea to erect horizontal netting over the bed to encourage tall, straight stems.

Chief Mix Celosia produces large, velvety cockscomb flowers held on 36 to 40 inch tall plants. (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

3. Zinnias

If I could only grow one type of cut flower, it would be zinnias. I grow several species and at least a dozen varieties every summer in my veggie garden. Zinnias bloom all summer long, require little fussing, and have an incredible range of flower sizes and colors. Plus, they’re super fast from seed to bloom. That said, I still prefer to start them indoors so that I don’t have to wait as long for the show to begin.

To plant a bed of zinnias for cutting, space the seedlings around 10 inches apart and erect horizontal netting a foot above the ground. As the plants grow, they will grow up through the netting and not flop over in high winds or heavy rain.

Once zinnias have been flowering for a few weeks, the bloom size begins to diminish. Succession planting fresh seedlings every few weeks extends the crop of large, high-quality blooms. Cut flower farmers often pinch their zinnia plants to encourage longer stems. Zinnias should be pinched when they’re around a foot tall. Using clean pruners, remove the top few inches and cut back to a fresh set of leaves.

Grow a rainbow in your garden with zinnias! This cottage garden favorite is one of the easiest cut flowers to grow and can be direct seeded or transplanted after the risk of frost has passed. Benary’s Giant Mixed produces huge flowers up to six inches across in a variety of bright colors. (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

4. Rudbeckia

While there are hardy perennial Rudbeckias, there are also some, like Rudbeckia hirta, that are grown as annuals. When started indoors and planted out after the last spring frost, this hardworking cut flower begins to bloom by mid-July and continues all summer long.

Like zinnias, these are super easy to grow, but unlike zinnias, they don’t need to be pinched to produce plenty of flowers. Cherokee Sunset mix yields large four to five inch diameter flowers in rustic red, orange, bronze, yellow, and gold. Many of the flowers are doubled, but there are also single and semi-doubled flowers too – a wonderful mix of flower colors and shapes.

With annual-grown Rudbeckias like Cherokee Sunset, you’ll enjoy huge four to five inch diameter flowers in rustic shades of red, orange, gold, and chocolate. (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

5. Phlox

Phlox drummondii is an under-appreciated annual that produces charming clusters of dainty flowers. Some are dwarf plants, growing just a foot tall, while others grow up to two feet and make excellent cut flowers. My must-grow varieties include Art Shades Mix or Cherry Caramel which add old fashioned charm to bouquets.

Unlike most of the annual flowers I’ve featured, phlox does not transplant well and is often direct seeded in mid-spring, or as soon as the soil can be prepared. If you do wish to start the seeds indoors, use care when transplanting the seedlings to the garden and avoid disturbing the roots.

The ridiculously beautiful flowers of Cherry Caramel phlox have made it an in-demand variety for cut flower growers. (Photo Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds)

For further reading on how to grow a cut flower garden , check out the wildly popular book, Floret’s Farm Cut Flower Garden.

To learn more about growing beautiful flowers, check out the following articles:

  • Container plants for full sun
  • How to grow SunPatiens
  • 10 plants with showy blooms
  • How to grow bells of Ireland from seed

Are you going to grow a cut flower garden this year?

How Flowers Help the Environment

Given on special occasions or simply to tell another person how much you care, flowers continue to be appreciated as gifts and for their beauty. Whether it is Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just an ordinary day, a nice floral bouquet is bound to bring smiles to its recipient’s face. Yet while flowers are a great gift and add a splash of color, they also do much more for us. In fact, flowers help the environment around us in many ways.

Flowers appear on plants, which themselves are beneficial to our ecology and environment. As is well-known, plants produce much of the oxygen in our atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. During the cycle of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air through their leaves. Then, using sunlight, water, and minerals from the soil, plants absorb nutrients and release oxygen into the air as a byproduct.

Studies have routinely found that with an increase in the number of plants comes improvement in air quality; so, planting trees, bushes, and flowers is a great way to help make the environment a better place. Many plants reproduce through their flowers when pollination gets the reproductive cycle underway, and seeds are produced. Those seeds are then harvested by human beings and planted elsewhere, or they are carried from one place to another by birds, bats, and other animals. Obviously, the more seeds that are produced and the more seeds that end up in the ground, the more plants there will be. So, in providing the seeds that make it possible to grow more plants, flowers benefit the environment by creating more carbon dioxide absorbing and oxygen-radiating plants.

Flowers also play a vital role in cleaning up other parts of our world. Over the past few decades, studies have shown that at least some plants and flowers cleanse the soil and water of contaminants. Sunflowers, for example, are very good at this. Sunflowers are able to absorb radioactive materials and other pollutants from the soil without much harm to the plant. This means that in areas where radiation has been high, plants such as sunflowers may be planted in order to help clean up the environment. In addition to cleaning the soil, flowers and other plants also cleanse water. The root systems of many flowers and plants that live in streams, lakes, and other bodies of water often serve as filters to remove toxic metals and other chemicals from the water.
When it comes to relying on flowers to help purify the environment, we must be careful not to increase pollution. Chemical fertilizers that are often used to help flowers grow end up adding new pollutants to the soil and water, effectively cancelling out any pollution-reducing capabilities that the planted flowers may add. Organic gardening methods are best for the environment, and this is as true of delicate flowers as it is of hardier trees. Switching to organic, pesticide-free gardening methods is one of the best ways to use flowers wisely for the benefit of the environment.
Although the benefits to the physical environment are important, flowers also benefit the social or personal environment of human beings. Researchers have seen improvement in the moods of patients who are exposed to flowers. Just being around flowering plants helps to lift a sour mood, improve a sad disposition, and alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as depression. Research also indicates that flowers can help to encourage compassion and similar emotions when people are in the presence of floral beauty

For more information on how flowers help the environment around us, please consult the following sources:

Written By Ava Rose.

Flowers are great, aren’t they? They make a fabulous gift, are natural and beautiful and make people smile. However, there’s a lot more these marvels of nature can do for you and your home so we’re going to tell you four great reasons why you should keep fresh flowers in your house. Take a look at our 4 reasons you should have fresh flowers at home and see if you can take advantage of any of these amazing benefits.

1. Flowers clean the air

It goes without saying that flowers improve the smell in a room but did you know some flowering plants can actually filter and clean the air of the room too?

Peace lilies, gerberas and bromelias, according to studies can help to remove harmful toxins from the air and can even improve a night’s rest, as they give off large amounts of oxygen. So it’s not only that they look fresh, they actually freshen the air as well! In addition to that the flowers that people often choose for their scents, such as roses, also help improve people’s mood and maintain a relaxed atmosphere thanks to their aromatherapeutic powers.

2. Flowers brighten up a room and your mood too!

It’s no exaggeration to say that a little colour can go a long way. Placing flowers around a room where you can see them even has the ability to make your mood better and also to help you connect better with other people.

A Harvard study by Nancy Etcoff in 2006 noted that participants who had placed flowers around their homes in locations where they could be seen on a day-to-day basis experienced a noticeable increase in their mood as well as higher compassion towards other people! If you feel like a room in your home is a magnet for negative energy perhaps a carefully placed bouquet of lilies could help.

3. Flowers can compliment your interior design

The great thing about flowers is that they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They’re the perfect way to compliment your new household designs or to help rethink the internal look of your home. It’s also really easy to choose flowers to match different personalities depending on the type of preference and styles that you’re trying to achieve.

In addition to this, flowers are super easy to incorporate into design features in your home such as light fittings and ornaments if you are feeling adventurous with them. Although remember, they serve pretty well for ornamental purposes themselves.

4. Flowers make you feel and think better

We all know that flowers for a sick relative have a positive psychological effect. However, did you know that there were physiological effects too? According to Park and Mattson 2008, flowers could even lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of pain and anxiety as well as help with fatigue.

The view of flowers in your home can help you to physically de-stress and ease into relaxation better. As if that wasn’t enough they’re a great help if you’re studying for an exam or preparing for a big project as was found by Raanaas, Evensen, Rich, Sjostrom, and Patil, who discovered that flowers could even improve your cognitive performance if they were present in your workspace.

It’s amazing what a simple bunch of flowers can do for your home and your well-being. All it takes is a vase, a well-chosen bouquet and a little bit of water.

If you know someone who would benefit from the magical effects that we’ve talked about in this article then take a look at our catalogue of stylish bouquets. We have flowers to cater for all occasions and tastes so it’s easy to share the joy of flowers with someone important.

How to Bring Dying Flowers Back to Life

A bouquet of spectacular flowers can brighten up any home . However, watching them fade away on a journey towards the next world without knowing how to bring flowers back to life can be kind of a downer. Seeing those beautiful blooms wilt and lose all confidence can bring up all kinds of melancholia and make you wonder about your eventual demise.

Fear not though, for all is not lost. Your proud bouquet does not have to shuffle off into the long night without putting up a fight. With a bit of emergency life-saving “medical” treatment, your fabulous flowers can rise again (in a nice way, not in a zombie way). By administering some resurrection treatment, here’s how to bring flowers back to life:

  1. Clean Your “Operating Room”
    Before addressing the root of the problem, make sure your vase is sparkling and free of potential dangers. Fill it with hot water and some dishwashing liquid then leave to sit for a few minutes. Rinse fully and your vase should be ready for its role in the revival.
  2. Cut the Stems
    The main reason why flowers begin to wilt is that they’re simply not getting enough water. This might happen even if there is plenty of water in the vase, usually when there’s no way water can enter the stem itself. That’s because once a stem is cut, the tissue which transports water through the flower begins to die, and this process begins from the point of incision and progresses each day.
    To bypass the blockage of dead tissue, it’s important to cut the stems of your flowers. Choose a point about an inch up from its current base and use a non-serrated knife or scissors for the operation. It’s also vital to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle, to increase the surface area for absorption and ensure that the base of the stem doesn’t lie flat at the bottom of the vase.
    As a best practice, cut the stems at a 45-degree angle every time you change your Bouqs’ water.
  3. Add Bleach to the Water to Kill Bacteria
    Another reason for water not being able to pass through the plants is due to a bacterial infection affecting the “open wound” where it has been previously cut. This can be especially prevalent when adding sugar or plant food which bacteria thrive on. To keep your flower safe from an infection, you can just add a small amount of bleach, one teaspoon to a quart, to ward off nasty microbes. As it is well-diluted, it won’t harm your flowers.
  4. Add Sugar or Plant Food to the Water
    If water is the emergency blood drip for your flower’s vital organs, then sugar is the hit of adrenaline to kick-start it. Plant food contains sugar for this reason, so don’t worry if you don’t have any packages of it lying around–normal sugar will work about as well. One teaspoon of sugar or plant food to a quart of water should be enough to get your flowers to start perking up.
    If this hasn’t helped, add another teaspoon of sugar (dissolved in warm water, first) after two or three hours.
  5. Trim Away Dead or Dying Foliage
    If your flower is lacking the nutrients or water to keep all of its parts healthy, “amputation” is the only course of action. Dead and dying leaves or blooms can draw away vital resources from viable blooms, so cutting or picking these off ensures your flower conserves the energy it has for longer.
  6. Keep Them Cool
    Like many fresh things, keeping your flowers out of direct heat and in a cool environment can keep them fresher for longer. If you live in an especially warm area, you can even keep them in a refrigerator at night time for ultimate preservative effects.

Now that you’ve brought your Bouq back to life, it’s time to start thinking about the next one. Did you know we offer a subscription service that takes the guesswork out of choosing your next Bouq? You can set up Bouqs to arrive on a regular schedule, and skipping upcoming deliveries is as easy as pie…errr, figuring out how to bring flowers back to life!

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How to Revive Wilting in Floral Bouquets

Have you ever carefully chosen your favorite flowers and arranged them in a beautiful bouquet, only to watch them wilt hours or days afterward? If you find it hard to keep your posies perky or your lilies looking fresh, check out the tips below for ways to keep your blooms at their best.

Preventative measures

1. Make sure to keep your flowers in a cool spot as you travel home from the florist. Don’t leave them in the sun or close to heater vents, because that will only accelerate the wilting process.

2. If you choose to place your bouquet in a refrigerator while you unload groceries or find a vase, be sure to place them away from the fan or vent where the cold air enters your fridge. Fresh-cut flowers do not like extreme temperatures.

3. You may be planning to keep your flowers wrapped until you can give them to your special someone, but it is best to unwrap the stems and place the bouquet in a vase of water. Keep the water lukewarm – you don’t want to heat or freeze the blooms. Leave the vase in a cool spot like your garage or basement, because the ideal temperature for preserving cut flowers is around 34 degrees.

4. When you are ready to display or present your flowers, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors and your vase of choice. Unwrap the cellophane and remove the binding that holds the stems together. Divide the bouquet into sections of like flowers and spread them on your counter or table top. Pour the floral food packet into the vase and fill it three-quarters full of lukewarm water. Choose the flowers you’d like to arrange first, cut about 1 to 1.5 inches off each stem, and immediately submerge the blooms in the vase of water. Make sure to cut on an angle to maximize the amount of water the stems can drink up. Then, get creative and arrange the flowers any way you like.

5. Display your vase of flowers out of direct sunlight and away from heating or cooling vents.

6. Drain the water every few days, rinse the vase and replace with clean water. Cut about 1 inch off the stems and arrange them in the vase again.

Reviving wilted blooms

If you have followed the directions above and a few days later your flowers look listless, it could be for a few reasons. If the flowers were left out too long a scab may have formed on the end of the stem, preventing water from traveling up. Or, the water in the vase became too cloudy and polluted the stem. Extreme temperatures also cause wilting. Try these tricks to revive your bouquet:

1. Take your wilted flower and snip the stem at an angle about 1 inch from the already cut end of the flower.
2. Add three teaspoons of sugar to the lukewarm water in your vase, and place the wilted flower in and let it sit. The sugar will perk them right up!

3. Sprinkle a few drops on the center of the head of the flower.

4. Try this with just one bloom or the whole bouquet, and as the flowers rest in the water, they should drink it up through their newly-snipped stems.

5. If the flowers do not perk up even slightly within 3 hours, add another teaspoon of sugar and a little more water.

These tips should add anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to the life of your bouquet.

A flower bouquet (or maybe more) can really bring a home to life and make it feel much more welcoming. If you see your flowers wilting away too soon (or even right after you’ve bought them) worry not as there is still time to revive them. In fact it’s actually easy to bring dying flowers back to life – you just need to know what to do.

As you might already suspect, in some situations, simply placing the flowers into a vase with water is not enough. If the flowers start to wilt in water it’s probably because they are unable to draw enough H2O.

How to bring dying flowers back to life

This can happen when the stems are dry so you will need to recut them. Ideally, the cut should be angled so the flowers have a bigger surface through which they can draw water. You can even take it one step further and split the step about an inch using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.

Another simple thing you can do is to use lukewarm water – just make sure it’s only slightly warm….just above room temperature. Warm water goes up the stem faster so it can certainly help reviving flowers that look like they need to get into the E.R. right away.

You could also make a simple “flower food”. Add a teaspoon of bleach (yes, the one you use for your laundry and household cleaning), 1-2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice, and one teaspoon of sugar in a quart of water. This solution not only travels faster up the stem, it also feed the flowers helping them perk up.

Once you’ve done at least a few things of the above, you will need to wait for a couple of hours. Give your lovely flowers enough time to drink some water and straighten up.

Also, don’t think that your job is done. You might need to repeat at least recutting the stems every 2-3 days and also make sure there are no rotting ends in the water as that can kill flowers really fast.

Emergency tip: if your flowers are in a critical state and look like they could have used some love since yesterday, you can try placing them in a large bowl or a bucket of room temperature water for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help the flowers drink some water super fast. Unless they’re completely dead, they should revive after an hour but you can try leaving them in water for longer, even overnight.

Once that’s done, you will still need to do all of the above if you want them to last.

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