What better way to save on wedding flowers than growing your own, right? Makes sense, but the reality of doing this is a lot harder than it seems.
So before you start tearing out the yard and buying seeds in bulk, what does it really take to grow your own flowers.
I once worked with a bride who wanted to grow her own dahlias. It turned out that the dahlias didn't come up in time. Good thing I ordered these flowers in advance from the flower farm. Flower farms often grow their crops under hoop houses or greenhouses which ensure an early and steady crop throughout the season.
2. Am I growing enough?
How much do you really need and how much should you grow. Depending on the type of plant, you can count on 2-3 blooms per plant. Let's say you have 10 table arrangements that need 20 stems of various flowers, that is near 100 plants you need to grow! That's a lot of freaking plants.
3. Cutting the blooms at the right stage.
Most florist will make their arrangements 2-3 days before the day of the wedding. The flowers should be still in bud form, but not cut too early (tight buds) and not too late (full blooming flower that will wilt sooner). Flowers like sweet peas should be cut when one sweet pea is open but the others on the stem are closed. Dahlias should be cut when the buds are opened only 50-75% of the way. Each flower has a different optimal cutting point of it's lifecycle.
4. Will my florist give me a discount if they use my flowers?
I once had a bride offer to let me pick some of the foliage I was planning on using from her backyard. She later proceeded to tell me she wanted a discount, essentially selling me the foliage. I had to politely decline, because: A. I didn't know what kind of quality the foliage was in or how much she had growing. B. Was she willing to let me decimate her garden? C. The time it took me to drive over there, pick the foliage, drive back and condition it was over 2 hours. In the end it was a lot easier, reliable, and cheaper in the end for me to order from the wholesaler.
I've heard many a horror story from florists who used their clients flowers as accents. In one case, the flowers were full of bugs and the bugs ended up crawling around the tablecloth during dinner service not to mention infesting the florists flower shop. Yikes!
So if you want to grow some flowers to put in your bouquet or sprinkle in as special touch, then by all means, your florist will most likely be game. But don't expect the florist to give you a discount or pay you for your flowers, unless you are a flower farmer, because the quality of your crop will not be as reliable as a flower farmer whose done this for decades. Florists will still have to place their order with reliable wholesalers to ensure that you get the flowers you requested for your special day. Your homegrown flowers will likely be a sweet little accent and add a lovely personal touch.