Centaurea Species, Bachelor's Button, Cornflower

Centaurea cyanus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Centaurea (sen-TAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cyanus (SY-an-us) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

This Plant is Least Concern (LC)

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Seward, Alaska

Phoenix, Arizona

Bigelow, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Beaumont, California

Concord, California

Elk Grove, California

Lake Forest, California

Merced, California

Oak View, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

Stockton, California

Ukiah, California

Denver, Colorado

Wilmington, Delaware

Brooksville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Naples, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Villa Rica, Georgia

Aurora, Illinois

Herrin, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Mattoon, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Evansville, Indiana

Fredonia, Kansas

Lansing, Kansas

Calvert City, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Flemingsburg, Kentucky

Grayson, Kentucky

Independence, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Fort George G Meade, Maryland

Salisbury, Maryland

Milton, Massachusetts

Quincy, Massachusetts

Coloma, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Fulda, Minnesota

La Crescent, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota(3 reports)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Byhalia, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Smithville, Mississippi

Blue Springs, Missouri

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Lambert, Montana

Blair, Nebraska

Papillion, Nebraska

Greenville, New Hampshire

West Chesterfield, New Hampshire

Morristown, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Crown Point, New York

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbia Station, Ohio

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Mount Orab, Ohio

Bixby, Oklahoma

Altamont, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon(2 reports)

Pine Grove, Oregon

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Laurens, South Carolina

Cookeville, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Carrollton, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Richmond, Virginia

Temperanceville, Virginia

Clinton, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Tacoma, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia

West Union, West Virginia

Weston, West Virginia

Delavan, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Pewaukee, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 23, 2016, JBtheExplorer from Southeast, WI wrote:

I saw a packet of seeds for 10 cents so I thought I'd give them a try. The flowers are very blue. I really liked the color of them. They grew well and bloomed like crazy. Later in the season, I started seeing seedlings emerge around the area, and that continued into October. I love plants that spread, but only when they're native. Although I liked them, I won't be planting them again, and will probably replace them with something native. I hate the thought of a non-native plant escaping into the wild, so I won't take the chance.


On Mar 3, 2013, goldandsylvan from Ukiah, CA wrote:

I had problems with snails eating the plants (I don't bait or use poisons), so I started growing them in the greenhouse and transplanting them when they were bigger, as the snails are very picky and like them tender. It worked well, and I don't have any problem transplanting them, as long as I do it early enough.
Bachelor buttons flowers are edible, both raw in salads, and dried, in tea mixtures.
I also grow bachelor's buttons in pots, mixed with other flowers and ornamental plants, and the bachelor's buttons don't mind, as long as they are well-watered and don't get too hot.


On Apr 14, 2012, LoveYourPlantz from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:

I planted these for the first time last summer. They took a long time to sprout but when they did I had blooms from early summer into the fall. They were in full sun and thick, clay soil that does not drain especially well. This year I have planted them in a different spot where the soil is more sandy. They sprouted quickly so I am anxious to see if they bloom as long as they did last year.


On Jul 14, 2011, BlakeInCanada from Kitchener,
Canada (Zone 5a) wrote:

I sowed 2 batches of these. The first died within 1 hour of getting sunlight through a window.

So the second set got ever so gradual light. Every time they got any non-filtered light, they flopped over and looked dead. Keeping them watered didn't fix this. They are over a month old and still can't handle a sunny day outside but will come back to life slowly once brought inside.

2 of the 7 I had in the planter wilted and died gradually and inexplicably, while the others seem fine. The bottom of the stem of those two are darker. For annuals, these have been way too much trouble and I don't even know if the rest will survive long enough to bloom.


On Feb 2, 2010, dshattuck from Roseville, CA wrote:

I love cornflowers, but when planted some from seed (on two different years now) I get lots of really tall green plants, but no flowers! What am I doing wrong? Please help.


On Mar 14, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Centaurea cyanus is also known as garden cornflower. It is native to Europe which has naturalized throughout North America. It can be found growing in all US states including Hawaii. In Texas, it grows in the wild in 11 counties. Seeds should be sown at a depth of 1/8 inch. Cornflower blooms retain their bright colors when dried and make great additions to dried flower arrangements.


On Apr 19, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Of all the different kinds of mixed seeds, this plant will grow the most frequently from those mixed seeds. And that's in hot, humid summer with plenty of rain in sandy soil! Only Sweet William were second to this in mixed seeds - too bad I don't have any Bachelor's Button left - limited sun those days and lots of perennials.


On Jun 8, 2007, rjones8194 from Independence, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew these this year by starting seeds in peat pots then transplanting. All the plants survived the transplant shock well. Some are nearly 4 ft tall now with very little care/watering. I've very happy with their performance.


On Apr 20, 2006, girlndocs from Tacoma, WA wrote:

I have not had trouble transplanting cornflower either. Those who wintersow will know they transplant beautifully (and early!) using the "hunk o seedlings" method.


On Nov 12, 2004, 433kfj from klamath falls, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant grows wild all over the place here. It is one of those "weeds" that doesn't seem to bother any one or anything. Mostly blue, but occasionally very light pink, white, or dark purple. I thought it was native when I was growing up because I saw it all over. However, you won't likely find it outside of human disdurbance of the ground. You won't see it much in the forest or sagebrush flats, but somehow it looks perfectly at home with sagebrush and the blue of its flowers goes so well with the sage. I never really thought about "growing" this because it was already "growing", but now I can see potential for making it grow in places where it might make more of an impact, color-wise. I'd really never thought of it that way before. It just grew where it grew.


On Sep 19, 2004, blondemommyof2 from Lititz, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

looks great in a wild flower annual mix...


On Aug 4, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Cornflower is most noted for its true blue flowers. Though now other cultivars (black pink and white) have popped up. The black is a deep burgundy color. My favorite is still the blue. Cornflower foliage is also decorative. It is silvery and slightly fuzzy. My cornflowers often get taller than noted in many books etc. Mine this year are about 4 feet! :) One of the easiest annuals to grow. :)


On Jul 12, 2004, annaks from Grande Prairie,
Canada wrote:

Love this plant. I do not understand why some have trouble moving them. I used to scavenge 1-2 foot plants from a guy's compost pile, a day or two after they were yanked out of his garden. Eventually, I got him to call me when he was pulling them. All but the most shrivelled survived and thrived. I was just beginning to garden. It is a good thing I didn't know any better, because I love blue flowers.


On May 14, 2004, redneckhippie15 from Amarillo, TX wrote:

My sister in law gave me a gallon ziplock of seed packs,
cornflowers were among the variety.My wife told me they were easy so.... I was impressed with both the foliage and the delicate blooms.
The rabbits really like them. After mowing them down twice,I was forced to "cage" them.
After re-emerging twice the little plants that could made a really happy gardener of me.
I had volunteers this year,naturally out of the bed, I had saved a few seeds and they have taken off really well this year and I expect similar results
good luck to all


On Jan 23, 2004, otleygarden from Perry, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Self sows and comes back for years.


On Aug 7, 2003, starshine from Bend, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is easily grown and multiplies simply by plucking the dry heads of the flowers off the plant and crumbling them on the ground beneath it (or wherever you want them to grow.) They are excellant for dry lasting flower arrangements and hold their colours well under those circumstances.

On the downside, in order to maintain a nice looking plant they require deadheading on a regular basis, and as they age and get larger they will sometimes begin to look dry near the lower 6 inches or so of the plant.


On Aug 7, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bachelor's button does not like to be transplanted, so it is important to sow seeds in the place where you want your plants to grow.


On Mar 12, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Old-fashioned bachelor's button or cornflowers are easy-to-grow and fill the garden with brilliant blue flowers and shimmery silver leaves. Blooms will appear from summer to early fall; successive sowings can extend bloom period.

Thrives in full sun except in scorching summer heat and will tolerate part-shade. Plant in well-drained soil. Once established, will tolerate drought conditions.