Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus in Latin, is a traditional flower found in many English country gardens. It frequently grows as a weed in cornfields, hence the name.
The Cornflower is also known as Bachelorís Button. Cornflowers last a long time when cut, and were therefore popular for a manís buttonhole. However, folklore suggests that if the cornflower in a manís buttonhole fades quickly, itís a sign that his love is not returned.
Itís also known as Basket Flower.
The flowers were once used to create blue food coloring. Also, the juice of the flower when mixed with alum was once used to make a dye.
The flowers look something like daisies, and most come in a true blue color, which is a color thatís hard to find in the garden. Youíll also find them in pink and white, but since there are so many other plants that are pink and white, why not stick with the blue?
Cornflowers are annuals and can grow 15 to 30 inches tall. You may also find dwarf varieties.
They do best in a sunny spot but can take a little shade. They tolerate dry soil fairly well.
Theyíll flower from late spring to early fall, but may fade by late summer in hot climates.
Theyíre easy to grow from seed, and so theyíre good for children to try. Sow seeds in late April to early May. Sow thinly about 1/2" deep into finely raked, moist, warm soil where you want the plants to flower. Cover lightly with earth and allow a week or two to germinate.
Grow in massed plantings for best effect.
They look good grown with red flowers such as poppies or yellow or orange flowers such as marigolds or daisies. Any of these would also make good combinations in a flower pot.
They make excellent cut flowers so grow some for a show in the garden and some just for cutting. They are also easy to dry for use in dried flower arrangements.
Cornflowers can drop their seeds and come back next year, making them a bit invasive sometimes. If you don't want this to happen, just deadhead them before they go to seed.
Butterflies and pollinating insects love these flowers. You will too!