When people join our Floral Project Community, I ask them what the one thing is they would love to know about growing cut flowers. This is one of the most common so I thought I would answer it here for you all.
When I first started my floral journey, I had no idea. When I flicked through instagram it always looked like people HAD plants and flowers and I couldn't figure out how to reverse engineer it in my head to figure out when to start - I always felt behind.
Then I realised that most gardeners started their flowers off in Spring - makes sense, right? You can see Mother Nature obviously doing her 'starting' thing when the blossoms start to arrive on the branches.
But as I researched further, I realised that there are 4 main sowing seasons.
1. In the very early Spring (end of January to March) you can sow hardy annual seeds. These are seeds that will produce plants that are tolerant of frost - they'll put on strong deep roots all winter long and produce flowers from June until the first frosts (where I live in Surrey that happens in early November). This is when most gardeners go crazy and sow ALL their seeds and for many this is the only time of year that they sow.
Two things happen if you do this though. Firstly, you'll risk sowing seeds which can't tolerate any frost so you're wasting your time as the frosts will last a few months more (until the end of May where I am in Surrey). Secondly, you'll have HUNDREDS of baby seedlings to look after at the same time, and your flowering season will last only 4 months with more flowers than you can handle in that very short space. Overwhelm will be your biggest barrier if you only sow now.
2. From March to June you can sow half-hardy annual seeds. These are the plants that can't tolerate frost so we'll start them off on our kitchen windowsills, then move them outside under cover before we plant them out after the last frosts, usually in late May. By the start of July, it's too late to be sowing these seeds as by the time they come into flower, they'll be right up against the first frosts.
3. In June and July it's time for the biennials. These are seeds we'll sow at this time that will be some of our earliest flowers the following year, blooming as early as April or May. Great - now we've extended the flowering season from April to November - that's 7 months instead of just 4.
4. And from the end of August to December we can do an Autumn sowing of our hardy annual seeds again. Why would you do these now, rather than just wait until Spring? This is the secret of the cut flower grower in the know. Starting your hardy annual seeds now means that you'll have bigger, stronger plants than your Spring sowing - and that's because all their energy goes into growing deep strong roots during the winter months. There's no rush to flower and the slow steady pace of growth will produce the floweriest, tallest plants, blooming earlier than their Spring-sown cousins, usually in late May. And you don't even need a greenhouse to do it.
So the answer to the question: When Is The Best Month To Sow Seeds For Cut Flowers? is THIS month!
Simply find the month of the year we're currently in above and sow the relevant seeds.
To create a steady rolling flow of flowers where there are blooms to be gathered and given for as many months of the year as possible, at The Floral Project, we sow every single month of the year with our Starter Kit and Flower Club.
This way, you don't have to figure out what seeds are biennial or half-hardy annuals (just that was overwhelming for me when I began), and you simply sow what you are sent. Let me do all the figuring out of what to send you when and we'll all create our beautiful cut flower patches together.
Hope this is helpful!