in Spring or in Autumn
Sow March to May outdoors for flowers July to
September, or sow during August to September to flower from June the following
Sow thinly, 3mm (1/8in) deep in drills 30cm (12in) apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water ground regularly, especially in dry periods.
When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart
Sow in pots or trays of moist seed compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep at 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. Germination will usually take 14 to 21 days.
When they are large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into 7cm (3in) pots or trays. Overwinter plants in cool, light, frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring, or grow on as greenhouse pot plants.
This fully hardy plant requires a sunny site but will tolerate light shade especially in hotter climates. It will grow in most well-drained soil types, even poor soil. Do not over fertilise because this will lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of blossoms. Cornflowers bloom more when crowded. The cornflower is considered to be a drought tolerant plant with minimal water needs, but you may need to water a little in the heat of summer. The wiry plants may need some discreet support, and deadheading helps to prolong the flowering season.
Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio/Container Plants, Cut Flower, Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Everlasting (use for drying and pressing, Cornflowers retain their colours when dried)
Cornflowers are prized historically for their blue pigment. Cornflowers are often used as an ingredient in tea and is famous in the Lady Grey blend of Twinings.
Once upon a time anything that grew and bloomed in a grain field was considered a 'cornflower.' As time passed, that moniker stuck to Centaurea cyanus in particular, all the other flowers left to find their own names.
Bachelor's-buttons, as you might suspect from the Latin genus and species, have a bit of folklore under its belt. Cyanus was a youth in Greek legend who worshipped Chloris (or Flora), and spent every waking hour gathering flowers for her altar. (Today we call that a stalker.) When he died, the goddess gave his name to the plant, though some believed she turned him into the plant.
Centaurea comes to us from the Centaur Chiron, who cured a festering wound that was made with an arrow dipped in the Hydra's blood. The wound was cured by covering it with the flowers of this plant, which now bears his name as its genus name. This also gave the plant its reputation for great healing properties.
Other common names:
Ragged sailor, Witches' bells, Happy skies, Haw dods, Hurtsickle, Cornbottle, Corn centaury, French pink, Brushes, Bunk, Corn binks, Blue tops, Bluets, Break-your-spectacles, Blue bow, Blue poppy, Blue sailors, Blue blaw, Blue bonnets, Bluebottle, Barbeau, Blaver, Blawort
There are many other varieties and species of Centaurea listed in the Ebay shop.