With the exploding trend of the backyard flower farming movement, there have been a LOT of books released in the past few years on flower farming, cut flower growing, and floral design based on seasonal flowers. Because books are basically my love language, I’ve bought nearly all of them (#truth), but I only consider about a handful to be “must-owns.” The rest are awesome to have, yes, and I can never get enough information, pictures, and poetic musings on the profession I love so much, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of actually flower farming, you will get by just fine with the titles below.
(I will say, if you want to get into the super technical side of growing cut flowers, your best bet is to pick up a used copy of Specialty Cut Flowers by Allan Armitage, which has extremely in-depth information about each major cut flower crop, like ideal greenhouse temps, yield of perennials after each season, yield of certain cultivars, etc. I didn’t mention it below because it’s expensive and a bit tricky to find, but it is worth picking up if you’ve been growing cut flowers for a couple years and want to really do a deep dive on how to maximize it.)
The five books below all provide invaluable information on the growing, planning, harvesting, and more of cut flower farming, and I refer to them all regularly. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the flower farming books currently available (and I have my eye on several that are about to be released over the next few months, like this one), but if I had to pick just my top five for anyone considering flower farming, these would be it. I’ve linked each title directly to Amazon if you’re interested in purchasing any for yourself.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
This was the book that started it all for me, and this is one that is dirt-smeared and getting dog-eared from how much I refer to it. Erin’s book divides up all her favorite cutting material by season and provides detailed but succinct growing information for all of them. I love that this talks about special considerations to take when harvesting certain stems, and this book also revolutionized the cut flower gardening space because she proved that you can have a wildly productive cutting garden or cut flower farm on not much land. There is a reason that most people would consider Erin the most prominent pioneer of the current flower farm movement, and if you don’t own this one, you need to.
I’m not lying when I say that the concepts in this book BLEW. MY. MIND. Seriously, I read the whole thing in an afternoon, and then I could barely sleep that night because my mind was buzzing with how much the information in this changed EVERYTHING for me. Like many gardeners, I was only familiar with the model of planting out everything after the last frost in the spring, but this book opened my eyes so much to a whole different mindset when it came to planning out the ideal times and seasons to plant different crops. I wish that I had found this book years and years and years ago, because it drastically changed my understanding forever of the group of plants known as hardy annuals (and has greatly increased the profits and yield on my flower farm as I’ve followed its precepts).
For a long time, this was about the only book you could find on cut flower farming, especially organic/sustainable flower farming, and it’s a total classic. This book canvases everything from planning out your space to marketing your business to figuring out how to price your flowers and what stems will actually be profitable for you to grow. Of all the books on this list, this is definitely the most business-minded, and for that, I consider it a must-own for any new flower farmer.
Yep, two books by Erin Benzakein on here, which should come as no surprise! While the upfront purpose of this book is to teach you how to do different styles of floral arranging using seasonal blooms (think: hand-tied bouquets, centerpieces, vignettes, etc.), I consider it a must-own for purely one reason: the appendix in the back, which is dozens of pages long and covers SO MANY different flowers, fillers, and foliage and tells you their vase life and specific post-care and harvesting instructions for each. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to this over the years when I need to consider vase life or some other such thing about a specific/new variety!
I love Georgie Newbery’s YouTube channel, but I actually bought her book before I ever found her there. I included both on here because the “must own” aspect of each one of these will differ depending on what kind of flower farming you’re planning to do, or what you might be lacking in most. I (of course) think they’re both worth owning, but The Flower Farmer’s Year has greatly helped me learn the rhythms and seasons of flower farming (and includes detailed lists of what to do when, as well as long lists of recommended crops), and Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers has been an awesome resource because it actually tells you the average stem count of different size weddings, arrangements, bouquet sizes, etc. I actually didn’t ever consider counting stems before I discovered Georgie Newbery, and now I can’t imagine doing things any other way as I’ve scaled up production. Both are definitely worth buying!
I plan to do a totally separate post on my favorite books for floral design, but for now, I’d love to know — what books have YOU loved for cut flower growing/farming?