Cornflowers – commonly known as Bachelor’s Buttons – are extremely beautiful, colourful hardy annuals that look great in any flower border, beds, patios and containers in a sunny position.
Flowering from late spring right into autumn they make excellent cut flowers and attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Blue is the most common colour, but they are also available in white, red, pink and purple.
Cornflowers grow and flower best in sunny fertile soil, which holds plenty of moisture, that doesn’t dry out or become waterlogged.
You can easily cultivate cornflowers from seeds or buy young plants. Sow seeds outdoors, from March to May, which will produce flowers from June to September.
You can also sow during August and September, which will flower slightly earlier in the following year.
Sow seeds thinly in moist soil, where you want the plants to flower, at a depth of 13cm, covering the seeds lightly with soil. Water the soil during dry periods.
Thin out seedlings in stages to 15-23cm apart, when they’re large enough to handle.
Young plants can be planted out in spring in well-drained sandy soil. Simply dig over the planting area, incorporating lots of organic matter, especially if the soil is heavy clay or light.
Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth, so that the crown of leaves is at soil level. Apply a general plant food over the soil, around the plants, and water in well.
Water plants, whenever necessary, to keep the soil or compost moist during spring and summer, as this will prolong flowering.
Applying a balanced liquid plant food every couple of weeks in the growing season, will encourage more, bigger and better flowers.
Dead-head plants regularly, to prolong their flowering period well into autumn.