(Centaurea cyanus) Blue Boy
Commonly known as Bachelors buttons, Cornflowers are easy to grow. Preferably in full sun (6 hours per day). They make an excellent addition to a traditional style garden and come in various colours such as white, blue, purple and blue. Their stunning double flowers are ideal for cut or dried flowers. They will also grow well in containers.
Cornflower is annual variety that grows up to 90cm in height with a compact upright habit. Growing Cornflower from seed can be started in doors, or directly sown into the garden using a scatter method and lightly backfilling with soil. Cornflowers attract pollinators into the garden, particularly bees and butterflies, making them great companions for food crops.
How to Grow in Containers
To grow in containers, make sure you use good draining potting mix and drainage holes in the pot to prevent water logging. Avoid top-down watering as well as over watering. This will help to prevent powdery mildew and will ensure the cornflowers maintain their quality as they develop from buds.
Harvest early in the morning for cut flowers, choose flowers with open petals. Cut at an angle with sharp secateurs or scissors, just above a leaf node. Extend the life of cut Cornflowers by changing the water every couple of days, and trim the stems.
Culinary Uses for Cornflower
As an edible flower, the petals can be used fresh or dry as colourful confetti in champagne or cocktails, on cakes as a garnish or added to icing for spreading over a cake, then topped with sprinkled petals. They make a versatile garnish for sweet and savoury dishes alike because the flavour is so mild.
Try mixing the flowers into spring rolls, salads, freshly made happy rolls, mix into cream cheese or sprinkle on a salad for a pop of colour.
In Australia, they flower in late Spring, Summer which means you could always plan ahead for new year’s eve and dazzle your guests with colourful Cornflower confetti in their champagne.
How to Grow Cornflower in Australia
Common name: Cornflower, Bachelor’s Button, Blue Boy
Scientific name: Centaurea cyanus
Life Cycle: Annual
- Space plants: 20 cm apart.
- Sowing depth: 0.5 cm.
- Maturity: 70 – 80 days.
- Moist, well-drained soil.
- Full sun.
In most climates, Cornflowers can be sown all year round. Avoid planting in very hot or cold conditions.
The table below will assist in choosing the most favourable time of year to sow cornflower in your region.