Louisiana gardeners can grow their own cut flowers

Mary Ann Van Osdell, Cummins, Denyse B.

News Release Distributed 03/24/10

BOSSIER CITY, La. – If you can grow vegetables, you can grow cut flowers, an LSU AgCenter horticulture agent said at the monthly Lunch and Ag Discovery program at the LSU AgCenter Red River Research Station March 23.

Think about what you want to grow for use in flower arrangements, Denyse Cummins said. Keep in mind it is best to have “line” flowers, “form” flowers and filler for mixed bouquets. Line flowers are long and linear, form flowers are round and fat, and filler consists of airy, small flowers or greenery.

For planting, cut flowers may be “rowed out” like vegetables or placed among other flowers in a bed, Cummins said. “Soil pH must be between 6 and 6.8, like vegetables.”

The big three cut flowers are roses, mums and carnations, but carnations cannot be grown successfully in Louisiana, Cummins said.

Mums require short day length to bloom, she explained, and suggested choosing Korean mums.

Every flower has a specific season to plant, whether cool or warm, Cummins said.

Harvesting should only be done in the morning or evening. “If you cut in the middle of the day, the flowers could wilt,” Cummins said.

Once they’re cut, get flowers into water and away from heat, drafts and direct sun, she said. Even the top of a television can be too warm.

Cummins said you can make floral preservative solutions with one gallon of warm water, one-half cup of sugar and one-half teaspoon of bleach or vinegar.

The horticulture agent offered these hints for planting flowers:

– Look for seed labels that say “cut flower” or “tall.” Avoid anything that says “dwarf” or “bedding.”

– Separate bulbs, perennials and annuals into separate areas.

– Most winter weeds can easily be controlled by hoeing while summer weeds are controlled by mulches, hoeing or herbicides.

Mary Ann Van Osdell

1/4/2011 1:07:19 AM
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