Cut flowers from a florist or from your garden can be added to your compost bin. Bunches of flowers should have string, ribbon and rubber bands removed then cut them into small pieces with secateurs or strong kitchen scissors to help them to break down quicker. Mix flowers into your compost with a garden fork and water in well.
How to make compost from flowers
To make compost from cut flowers that you have at home follow these easy steps.
- Remove rubber bands or string from flower bunches.
- Take the flowers outside and cut the stems into small pieces using secateurs.
- Add the flowers to the top of your compost bin and mix them in with the other compost materials using a fork or compost stirrer.
The smaller you cut your flowers the quicker they will break down. It is important to cut up thick stemmed flowers like roses as the stem is woody and will break down quicker if the surface area is increased. Flowers with soft stems like daisies or tulips will break down quicker than woody stemmed flowers but for best results cut them into small pieces first.
Adding flowers from your garden to your compost
If you have been pruning your plants or removing finished flowers then these can be added straight to your compost bin. The small pieces will break down quickly and add extra nitrogen to your compost.
Types of flowers that can be composted
You can compost any flowers that you have as cut arrangements or from the garden. Flowers are a natural material so will break down adding carbon and nitrogen to your compost. Microbes and worms will find their way into your compost and break down the flowers. Petals will take 3-6 months to break down while stems can take 6-12 months.
What to add to your compost with flowers
The freshness of your flowers will affect the balance of your compost. If you have added a lot of very dry flowers you will need to add extra water so your compost doesn’t dry out. Adding food scraps is also another great way to add moisture and extra nutrients to the flower and compost mix.
If your flowers are still fresh you may need to add some extra straw or dry fall leaves to balance the extra moisture from the flowers. Mix the ingredients through and watch your compost over the next few days. Balance the moisture level by adding water or dry material.
How to compost roses
Roses can be composted by cutting them into small pieces using secateurs. Make sure you wear gloves if the roses have thorns. Over a period of 3-6 months the stems will rot down including the thorns. If you have added very large rose thorns to your compost, check that they have broken down with a fork before putting it in your garden.
How to compost Geraniums
Geraniums can be added to your compost bin after they have been cut up into small pieces with secateurs. Make sure that there is not any wire in the stem before you cut them. Some florists will add wire to keep the flowers straight so make sure you remove this before adding the flower to your compost.
How to stop flower seeds from growing in your compost
To stop flower seeds from growing in your compost dig the flowers deep into the compost materials and watch your compost to see if any sprouts appear. It is possible for flowers to sprout from cut arrangements however they can easily be mixed into the compost if this happens.
Making hot compost is another way to stop any flower seeds from sprouting. Hot composting is a method where the balance of green and brown materials packed in at least a 4×4 feet square can heat up and kill of any seeds. Check out my previous article on hot composting for more on this process.
How to put dead flowers in compost bin
If you have finished or dead flowers from a cut flower arrangement or in your garden these can be added to your compost bin. Remove any finished flowers from your shrubs and annual flowers like violas and dianthus.
Collect the flower heads and petals and add them to your compost mixed with food scraps and brown materials like straw, sugar cane mulch or fall leaves. Mix it through and leave it to break down over 6 months. Microbes will come and break down the flowers and worms will come to eat the rotting material and bacteria.
How to compost flower petals
If you have flowering plants in your garden that drop petals then these can be raked up and added to your compost bin. Camellias, frangipanis and blossoming plants all drop flower petals which are fantastic for your compost. Petals are soft and break down quickly.
You can also leave flower petals in your garden bed to break down naturally as a mulch. They will brown and break down in your garden bed over a few months. Bacteria and worms will eat the organic material and mix it through the soil.
How to put flowers in a food waste bin
If your local municipality collects food waste you can add a small amount of flowers to your food waste bin. Check with your local municipality for the exact rules in your local area. If you have a lot of flowers, it is best to add them to your green bin or garden waste bin. This material is taken to composting facilities and ground or chopped into small pieces and turned into compost.
Are flowers a brown or green material?
A finished flower arrangement is both green and brown. Most flowers have not completely dried out and still have nitrogen left in them. This makes them both a combination of green and brown and a balanced ingredient to add to your compost.
Putting flowers in a compost bin – summary
Flowers are a fantastic, natural ingredient for your compost and will break down into rich humus. This composting ingredient will make rich compost to add to your vegetable or flower garden adding a range of nutrients to your soil.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.