If you are looking for an annual outdoor plant for your garden that is easy to grow and care for, Centaurea cyanus aka „Cornflower” is a great option.
Centaurea cyanus is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is commonly known as cornflower or bachelor’s button and is native to Europe but has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America. The plant is an annual or biennial herb that typically grows to a height of about 30-90 cm and produces blue, purple, pink, red, or white flowers. It is often grown as an ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine and as a source of blue dye.
This beautiful plant is not considered to be toxic to animals, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). However, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your pets if they are around plants, and if you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.
We strongly believe that every gardener should possess at least one plant that is guaranteed to thrive, and the gently scented cornflower is an ideal choice for those who are just starting.
Want to learn more about growing and caring for Centaurea cyanus aka Cornflower? Keep reading our article!
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|Botanical Name||Centaurea cyanus|
|Common Name||Cornflower, Bachelor’s button|
|Mature Size||30-121 cm (12-48 in.) tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Well-draining, Moist|
|Soil pH||Neutral, Alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Spring, Summer|
|Flower Color||Blue, purple, pink, white, red|
|Hardiness Zones||2-11 (USDA)|
- Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower or bachelor’s button, is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant from the Asteraceae family.
- Centaurea cyanus is native to Europe and Asia. It is not clear where it was first cultivated, as it has been grown in gardens and cultivated for centuries.
- However, it is known that Centaurea cyanus has been used as a medicinal plant by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, and it was also used for dyeing textiles in the Middle Ages. Today, it is widely grown as an ornamental plant and is also used in the production of natural dyes.
- This annual herbaceous plant is treasured for its attractive blue, pink, white, or purple flowers that bloom in the summer.
- Cornflower is easy to grow and maintain, making it a popular choice for gardeners.
- In addition to its ornamental value, Centaurea cyanus is also treasured for its medicinal purposes. It has been used to treat eye infections, digestive problems, and skin conditions, among other ailments. The plant also has a history of use in traditional medicine as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Additionally, Centaurea cyanus is used as a natural dye for textiles, producing shades of blue and purple.
- Cornflower belongs to the Asteraceae family, which is one of the largest plant families in the world. It is closely related to several other plants in the Centaurea genus, including Centaurea montana (mountain bluet) and Centaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed). These plants share similar characteristics, such as their distinctive flower heads, which are composed of both ray and disk flowers, and their ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. However, each of these species has its unique features and growing requirements.
- While Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower or bachelor’s button, is primarily valued for its attractive flowers, its leaves can also be used for other purposes. The leaves are edible and can be used in salads or as a cooked green vegetable. They have a slightly bitter taste and are high in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as potassium and calcium.
- Centaurea cyanus is commonly known as “cornflower” because it was traditionally found growing as a weed in fields of grain crops such as wheat, barley, and oats.
- The plant’s bright blue flowers were a common sight in European cornfields during the summer months, and the name “cornflower” likely originated from this association. The name “centaurea” comes from the Greek word “kentauros”, which means “centaur”, as the plant was believed to have healing properties and was named after the mythical creature that was known for its ability to heal wounds.
Cornflower Features: An Overview
- Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower or bachelor’s button, draws attention with its attractive flowers. The plant produces vibrant blue, pink, white, or purple flowers that are approximately 1-2 inches in diameter.
- When planted directly in soil outdoors, the plant can grow up to 30-121 cm tall and 25-20 cm wide depending on the growing conditions. Cornflowers like full sun and well-drained soil, but can tolerate some shade and a range of soil types.
- This plant is an annual or biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one or two years. The plant can be started from seed in the spring or fall, and will usually begin to bloom in mid-summer and continue until the first frost.
- Regular deadheading of spent flowers can encourage the plant to produce more blooms and extend the blooming period.
- Centaurea cyanus has a lightly sweet fragrance when it blooms. The scent is not overpowering but is noticeable when the flowers are nearby or in a confined space, such as a garden bed or container. The fragrance of the plant can vary slightly depending on the variety and growing conditions, but it is generally described as pleasant and delicate.
- With proper care, Centaurea cyanus can be a prolific and long-lasting addition to an outdoor garden.
Centaurea cyanus is a charming and easy-to-grow annual or biennial plant that produces showy, brightly coloured flowers. With its brilliant blue, pink, white, or purple blooms, this plant is a favourite among gardeners who want to add a pop of colour and texture to their garden beds, borders, or containers.
Cornflower prefers full sun and well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant can tolerate a range of soil types, but it grows best in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you may want to amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.
Centaurea cyanus can be grown from seed or seedlings. If starting from seed, sow them directly in the garden bed in the early spring or late fall, as the plant is cold-tolerant. Put a thin layer of soil over the seeds and give them a light watering.
The seeds should germinate in 7-14 days. If starting from seedlings, plant them in the garden bed after the danger of frost has passed, spacing them 15-30 cm apart. If growing in containers, choose a pot that is at least 15 cm in diameter and fill it with a good-quality potting mix.
Centaurea cyanus requires regular watering to thrive, especially during hot, dry weather. Water deeply and consistently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Fertilize your plant once a month with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
Centaurea cyanus will continue to bloom throughout the summer if you deadhead the spent flowers regularly. Simply pinch off the faded blooms with your fingers or use scissors or pruning shears to cut them off just above the first set of leaves. Deadheading will encourage the plant to produce more blooms and extend the blooming period. If the plant becomes leggy or overgrown, you can also prune it back by 1/3 to 1/2 of its height to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
Cornflower is an excellent choice for novice and experienced gardeners alike, due to its ease of care and attractive blooms. By providing the plant with the right growing conditions, regular watering and fertilizing, and proper pruning and deadheading, you can enjoy a profusion of beautiful flowers throughout the summer season.
When planting cornflowers start by choosing a location for them in your garden. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you may want to amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 15 cm using a garden fork or tiller, and remove any rocks, roots, or debris. Rake the soil smooth and level.
Centaurea cyanus can be grown from seed or seedlings. If starting from seed, you can either sow them directly in the garden bed or start them indoors in pots. If starting them indoors, sow the seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Fill small pots with potting soil, moisten the soil and plant 1-2 seeds per pot. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, water lightly and put the pots in a sunny, warm spot.
If planting seeds directly in the garden bed, scatter the seeds over the soil surface and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Water gently with a watering can or hose with a fine mist nozzle. If starting seedlings indoors, transplant them to the garden bed after the danger of frost has passed, spacing them 15-30 cm apart. If planting seedlings purchased from a garden centre, dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place the plant in the hole, backfilling with soil and gently tamping down around the plant. Water your plant thoroughly.
- Grows 12-24 inches tall and produces large beautiful blue blooms
- Attracts butterflies and the gazes of your neighbors
- Easy to grow
- 200 seeds per pack
- 3000+ Cornflower Seeds Mixed Colors
- 3000+ Cornflower Seeds Mixed Colors
- GORGEOUS - Who doesn't love a bright, happy flower bed of cornflower seeds flowers?
- ANNUAL - This is a beautiful annual plant with a colorful mix of blue, purple, pink and white flowers.
- ATTRACT POLLINATORS - Bring pollinators into your fruit, vegetable and flower garden with these bachelor buttons seeds.
- CUT FLOWERS - These are beautiful in cut flower gardens as these are great in bouquets and cut arrangements.
- PACKETS - Each bachelor button seeds packet is printed on water resistant paper, in full color with growing and harvesting directions included. Each heirloom flowers seeds packet contains at least 500mg of seeds, more than competitors.
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Centaurea cyanus blooms from mid-summer to early fall. The flowers can be cut and used for fresh or dried flower arrangements. To harvest the flowers, cut the stems when the blooms are fully open but before they begin to fade. Use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut, and immediately place the stems in a bucket of water.
If you want to save the seeds to plant again next year, allow the flower heads to dry on the plant until the seeds turn brown and begin to fall out of the head. Take off the entire flower head and put it into a paper bag. Allow the head to dry completely in the bag, then shake the bag to release the seeds. Keep the seeds in a dry and cool place until you’re ready to sow them.
Watering is an important aspect of growing Centaurea cyanus, as it helps the plant to thrive and produce beautiful blooms throughout the growing season. Centaurea cyanus prefers to be watered deeply and infrequently, rather than receiving frequent, shallow watering. This means that you should water the plant deeply, allowing the water to penetrate the soil to a depth of at least six inches. This will encourage the plant to develop a deep root system, which will help it to withstand periods of drought.
It is best to water your Centaurea cyanus in the morning, rather than in the evening or at night. This will allow the leaves and flowers to dry off quickly, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Watering in the morning also ensures that the plant has plenty of water throughout the day, which is when it is most actively growing.
Using a soaker hose is an effective way to water your Centaurea cyanus. A soaker hose allows water to seep slowly into the soil, ensuring that the roots are evenly moistened. This is especially important during hot, dry weather, when the plant may require more frequent watering. Place the soaker hose around the base of the plant, and turn it on for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the soil type and weather conditions.
Mulching around the base of your Centaurea cyanus is a great way to conserve moisture in the soil. Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and moist, reducing water loss through evaporation. It also helps to suppress weeds, which can compete with your Centaurea cyanus for water and nutrients. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded leaves or bark chips, around the base of the plant, being careful not to cover the stems or foliage.
It is important to monitor the moisture level of the soil around your Centaurea cyanus regularly. Stick your finger into the soil up to your knuckle to test for moisture. If the soil feels dry at this depth, it is time to water. If it feels moist, you can wait a day or two before checking again.
The amount of water your Centaurea cyanus requires will depend on the weather conditions. During periods of hot, dry weather, the plant may require more frequent watering. During periods of cool, rainy weather, you may need to water less often. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly, and pay attention to the plant’s appearance. If the leaves begin to wilt, it is a sign that the plant needs more water.
With these tips, your Centaurea cyanus will thrive and produce beautiful blooms throughout the growing season.
Propagating Centaurea cyanus can be done easily by seed, division, or cuttings. However, seed propagation is the most common method for this plant. Seeds can be sown directly into the garden or started indoors and then transplanted. Select a sunny location with well-drained soil, then sow the seeds directly into the soil in the early spring, after the last frost. Scatter the seeds thinly over the soil, and then lightly cover them with soil. Water the soil gently to keep it moist.
Within 10-14 days the seeds will germinate. You can then thin the seedlings to about 15 cm apart when they are a few inches tall. By doing so, the plants will be able to reach their maximum growth. Put mulch around the plant’s base to keep the soil moist and hinder the growth of unwanted plants.
The division is another method you can use to propagate Centaurea cyanus. You should use this method in the fall or early spring when the plant is dormant. To do this, start by digging up the entire plant, being careful not to damage the roots.
Use a sharp knife or garden shears to divide the plant into several sections, making sure that each section has at least one healthy root system and some stems. Replant each section in a well-prepared bed of soil, spacing them about 15 cm apart. Make sure to water the plants well and keep the soil moist until new growth appears.
If you choose to propagate cornflowers by cuttings here’s how to do it successfully. Take a cutting from a healthy plant and choose a stem that is about 7-10 cm long. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem and dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder (it will help the cutting to form roots), then plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix, and water it well.
Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to create a humid environment, and place the pot in a warm, bright location, but out of direct sunlight. Check the cutting regularly to make sure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged and after about four weeks, the cutting should have formed roots and be ready to transplant into the garden.
Choose the method that works best for you, and follow the above steps for success. With a little patience and care, you can propagate Centaurea cyanus and enjoy its beautiful blooms for years to come.
Cornflower Pests and Diseases
When it comes to pests and diseases Centaurea cyanus, or cornflower, is relatively resistant to them. However, like any plant, it is still susceptible to certain issues impacting its growth and health.
The first pests on our list are aphids. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants, causing damage to the leaves and flowers. They can be identified by their small size and pear-shaped bodies and may be seen congregating on the underside of leaves. Aphids can be prevented and treated by regularly inspecting the plant for signs of infestation, spraying the plant with a strong jet of water to dislodge them, and applying insecticidal soap or neem oil to it, following the instructions on the label.
Spider mites are also another type of pest that can affect your plant. They are tiny arachnids that can infest Centaurea cyanus and cause damage to the leaves and flowers. These can be identified by their tiny size and web-like appearance on the plant. Spider mites can be prevented and treated just like aphids, by inspecting your plant regularly, spraying it with strong jet water and using insecticidal soap on neem oil.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can affect Centaurea cyanus, causing a white or grey powdery growth on the leaves and flowers. It can be prevented and treated by providing good air circulation around the plant, watering the plant at the base, (avoiding getting water on the leaves) and applying the fungicidal spray to the plant.
Last but not least, the leaf spot. Leaf spot is also a fungal disease, that can cause brown or black spots on the leaves of Centaurea cyanus. You can prevent it by following the exact methods mentioned above for powdery mildew.
In conclusion, Centaurea cyanus, also known as cornflowers, is a beautiful and easy-to-grow plant that can bring vibrant colour and texture to any garden. With their stunning blue, pink, white, and purple blooms, they can brighten up any landscape or add a charming touch to floral arrangements.
Caring for Centaurea cyanus is relatively simple, making it an ideal choice for beginner gardeners or those who want low-maintenance plants. One of the significant benefits of growing Centaurea cyanus is its ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden. By providing these insects with a food source, you can contribute to the health of local ecosystems and biodiversity.
Overall, Centaurea cyanus is an excellent choice for gardeners who are looking for beautiful and easy-to-grow plants that require minimal effort. With its vibrant colours and ability to attract pollinators, it is an excellent addition to any garden, especially those focused on sustainability and environmental preservation.