Cornflower

Centaurea cyanus

Bachelor's Buttons, Koringblom (Afr.)

profile iconCentaurea cyanus 20060624120252wp
by Albert H. (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
1 of 12
A close up of some purple Centaurea cyanus flowers
profile iconCentaurea cyanus 20060624120252wp
by Albert H. (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
1 of 12
Centaurea cyanus is a good choice for new gardeners as they are easy to grow and they make great cut flowers. They originally appeared as weeds in grain fields but now more likely to appear in ornamental gardens. Similar to sweet peas, the flowers of this upright annual plant need to be picked constantly to promote continued flowering. It typically grows to a height of around 75cm, producing single, blue flowers measuring around 3-4cm in diameter. These are borne from late spring through to summer. Foliage is simple and oval to linear in shape, sometimes lobed. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Winter, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Winter, Spring

Harvesting

Cut flowers just before they are open fully; the centre of the flower should still be dipped inwards slightly.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds end of summer about 6 - 8 mm deep. Germination time about 7 - 14 days. Transplant seedlings in Autumn as soon as big enough to handle.

Special features

Crop rotation

Light Feeder

Attracts useful insects

Diversity of insects will visit the flowers and help with pollinating neighbouring plantsin the process.

Special features

Origin

Europe and the Near East

Natural climate

Temperate to warm

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Alkaline, Neutral, Acid

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

The petals can be used as a bitter tonic to aid digestion and the leaves as a rinse for scalp eczema.

Edible

Fresh flowers can be used in salads or as a garnish. An edible blue dye is obtained from the flowers, used for colouring sugar and confectionary.

Notes

Culinary, medicinal

Personality

Family

Asteraceae

Flower colour

Purple, Blue

Scent

Mild

Problems

White mold, rust, powdery mildew, thread blight. Destroy any plants that become badly infected to prevent it from spreading to surrounding plants.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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