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Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)
Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)

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Zone
Zones 1-45, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower, Bachelor’s Button
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Annuals, Flowers

CENTAUREA

Out of some 500 species, only a dozen or so are widely cultivated. Of these, annuals are grown mainly for cut flowers; perennial kinds are valued for soft, silvery foliage. All are relatively easy to grow. For best performance, add lime to acid soils. Sow seeds of annuals or set out plants of perennial kinds in spring or fall. (In desert regions, plant all in autumn for winter and spring bloom.)

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Diadem’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Diadem’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Centaurea cyanus

Bachelor’s button, or cornflower, is a pretty blue annual from the northern temperate regions. A common but often welcome weed in some areas, such as the Pacific Northwest. Grows to 1–1 1/2 ft. tall, less than a foot wide, branching if given enough space. Narrow gray-green leaves, 2–3 in. long. Spring to midsummer flowers are 1 1/2 in. across, in blue, pink, rose, wine-red, or white; blue varieties are traditional favorites for boutonnieres.

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