Annual Overview: Bachelor’s Button/Cornflower




Bachelor’s Button/Cornflower Garden Guide

In this guide you will find:
Starting Cornflower from Seed
When to Plant
Where to Plant
Plant Spacing
Care and Maintenance


Bachelor’s Button/Cornflower Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Centaurea cyanus

Common Name(s): Bachelor’s button, cornflower, basket flower, ole-fashioned blue bottle

Height: to 3 feet

Soil Conditions: Moist, well-drained

Sun: Full sun

Soil pH Conditions: 6.75


Notes: Bachelor’s button varieties come in both annual and perennial varieties.

Best use: Cut flowers or dried flowers.

Starting from Seed

Bachelor’s button can be started indoors or sown directly into the garden.  To start indoors, fill peat pots with a commercial seed-starting mix.  Moisten the soil prior to planting the seed.   Sow 3-4 seeds per pot, cover with soil, then cover the containers with clear plastic wrap to maintain soil temperature and moistness.  Do not place them in direct sunlight that may cause the temperature to raise above 60-70°F.  Remove the plastic wrap as soon as the seedlings emerge and move to a sunny location.  Transplant before they reach 4” tall.  Plan to start indoors one month prior to planting in the garden.

You can also sow bachelor’s buttons directly into any fertile garden soil.  If need be work in two to three inches of a good compost to a depth of eight inches.  Sow seeds into the soil about ¼” deep.  Make sure they are covered as they need darkness to germinate.  Moisten the soil and keep moist until they germinate.

Germination: 7-25 days.

When to Plant

Plant when the soil reaches 60-70°F.

Where to Plant

Plant in full or partial sun in a slightly alkaline soil.

Plant Spacing

Plant spacing will depend on the variety.  In general, annual varieties can be planted one foot apart while perennial varieties will require two feet.

Care and Maintenance

Fertilize plants monthly with a well-balanced fertilizer.

Do not overwater. Bachelor’s button are drought-tolerant and will not perform well if kept too wet. In hot humid weather, bachelor’s button is susceptible to a few diseases such as powdery mildew.  Be sure to water from below.

Remove spent flowers to encourage new growth.


Common diseases of bachelor’s buttons include stem rots, wilt diseases, powdery mildew, and rust.


Common pests of bachelor’s buttons include aphids

Did You Know?

Young unmarried men used to wear cut cornflowers in shirt or coat buttonholes as a sign that they were courting?

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