Growing Centaurea

This page gives instructions on growing centaurea.

Centaurea, also known as cornflowers or bachelor’s button, is an annual plant native to Europe that is part of the Aster family.  It gets the name “cornflower” because it frequently grew as a weed in cornfields (this use of the word includes grains like wheat, barley or oats).  In folklore, men in love would wear centaurea in their lapels.  If the flower faded too quickly, it meant that their love was not returned.  Centaurea traditionally have tiny blue flowers clustered together in a circle, but they now come in shades of red, white and pink also.  They can grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet.  Makes a beautiful addition to flower gardens, borders and edible landscapes.

Begin planting in spring, when the soil is workable and temperatures have reliably risen to between 60 and 65 degrees.  Find an area of the garden with full sun.  Sow seeds in rows, 6 seeds per foot.  Be sure to plant seeds only ¼ inch in soil, otherwise they may not grow.  Keep soil moist until you see the plants sprouting.  The seeds should germinate within 7 to 14 days if the conditions are met.  Once the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, thin plants so that there is 6 to 9 inches of space between each plant.

While it is recommended that directly sow, you can also begin these plants indoors to transplant outside later.  Begin planting 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.  Again, be sure to only plant ¼ inch into the soil.  Move the plants into cell packs or simply larger containers when they grow their first set of true leaves.  Keep soil temperatures around 50 to 55 degrees at night for several weeks.  Keep the soil moist.  When the soil outside has warmed and is workable and the threat of the frost has passed, you can begin the hardening off process and transplant outside.  Plant in full sun, spaced 6 to 9 inches apart.

Growing Centaurea prefers full sun in soil with good drainage.  It can tolerate rocky and poor to medium fertility soil.  They are very easy to care for and require little else than watering.  Once they have become established, they are resistant to drought and will readily self-seed.  To keep centaurea blooming all throughout the season, sow 2 to 3 times, evenly spaced out.  To keep the plants from becoming to prolific, deadhead some of the blooms before they have a chance to go to seed.

Centaurea make a beautiful addition to any garden!  You can harvest the flowers when they are ¼ to ½ of the way open. They look lovely in vases alone or when mixed with other flowers.  Their bright colors are sure to add something special to any room in your house.  And because they typically last a while as a cut flower, you’ll be enjoying their beauty for many days.  They can also be used as dried flowers in arrangements or crafts.

More on Growing Centaurea

Centaurea prefers full sun in soil with good drainage.  It can tolerate rocky and poor to medium fertility soil.  They are very easy to care for and require little else than watering.  Once they have become established, they are resistant to drought and will readily self-seed.  To keep centaurea blooming all throughout the season, sow 2 to 3 times, evenly spaced out.  To keep the plants from becoming to prolific, deadhead some of the blooms before they have a chance to go to seed.

Centaurea make a beautiful addition to any garden!  You can harvest the flowers when they are ¼ to ½ of the way open. They look lovely in vases alone or when mixed with other flowers.  Their bright colors are sure to add something special to any room in your house.  And because they typically last a while as a cut flower, you’ll be enjoying their beauty for many days.  They can also be used as dried flowers in arrangements or crafts.

Click here to visit our centaurea seed selection.

Go to Flower Seeds from Growing Centaurea

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