Tips on how to grow and care for Cornflowers


Cornflower plant is also known as bachelor’s button. Cornflower plant is an herbaceous annual plant that belongs to Asteraceae family. This plant is native to Europe. A study has shown that cornflower plants are widely cultivated in North America as garden plants and they have been naturalized as an invasive species in some areas. Cornflower plants are about 30–90 cm (1–3 feet) tall with also a narrow gray-green leaves, they also produce papery flower heads surrounded by bracts.



Basic information about cornflower

The botanical name: The botanical name is Centaurea cyanus.

The Common names:  The Common names are Cornflower, Bachelor's Buttons.

The plant type:   The plant is annual.

The mature size: The mature size is about 12–36 inches.

The sun exposure: Cornflower needs full sun.

The soil type: Cornflower needs a well-draining soil.

The soil pH: The soil pH is alkaline.

The bloom time: The bloom time is summer.

The flower color: The flower colors are purple, blue, pink, or white.

The native area: Cornflower is native to Europe.

Furthermore, the Centaurea cyanus plants have been cultivated for many years. This plant have really picked up many nicknames along the way which are; bluebonnet, bachelor’s buttons, blue bow, basket flower, blue bottle, cornflower, blue cap, boutonniere flower, and hurt sickle. Like I said earlier cornflower plants can reach a height of about thirty inches and a spread of about ten inches in all growing zones when they are given a bright spot. Cornflower has a lot of health benefits. A study has shown that Cornflower tea can be used to treat the following; Yeast infections, Eye irritation when it is applied directly, fever, constipation, Liver and gallbladder disorders, menstrual disorders, chest congestion.
Starting commercial cornflower farming can be very profitable if it is done in a proper way. On this article we are going to discuss everything about cornflower cultivation.



  Cornflower varieties

There are different varieties of cornflower. The following are the different varieties of cornflower.

        1. The Blue boy cornflower variety: The Blue boy cornflower variety has a vivid periwinkle blue. 

       2. The Tall double mixed colors cornflower variety: The Tall double mixed colors cornflower variety has a shade of white, pink, and blue. 

       3. The Blackball cornflower variety: The Blackball cornflower variety is a rare variety with deep crimson poms. 

       4. The Dwarf blue midget cornflower variety: The Dwarf blue midget cornflower variety blooms begin at six inches, and container-worthy plants max out at twelve inches. 



  How to grow cornflower

Cornflowers are very easy to maintain. You can easily stake the Cornflowers if they flop which is usually more of a problem in shaded gardens.
Cornflowers actually bloom from midsummer until the first frost, although deadheading them really extends and increases the blooming. The plant will really make an excellent dried flower if you cut the blossoms before the frost nips them.
Cornflower is an ornamental plant and they really look pretty in wildflower gardens, and also their bright blue blossoms are really appealing to bees and butterflies. Make sure you avoid spraying any pesticides around the cornflower’s most especially organic pesticides which are still harmful to bees and other beneficial insects.


Light requirement
Cornflower plant really prefers full sun, although they also do well with a bit of shade in the afternoon.

Soil requirement
Try and provide an average well-drained garden soil. Unlike most of these garden flowers, Cornflower plant prefers soil on the alkaline side, with a pH between 7.2-7.8.  Although you can also add crushed limestone to the garden beds if your soil is on the acidic side.

Water requirement
You can give the Cornflower plant the equivalent of an inch of water per week, most especially in the hottest months of July and August.

Temperature and humidity requirement
Cornflower plants are fairly agreeable when it comes to temperature, the plant can tolerate both light freezes as well as the hottest summer days. Cornflower plants tolerate humidity, but make sure you keep a close eye on them in these conditions, this condition leaves them susceptible to fungal disease.

Fertilizer requirement
Make sure you fertilize your cornflower plants monthly with liquid manure or compost tea if your soil is poor.

How to grow cornflower from seed
About 200 cornflower seed packets can be purchased for $5. As a gardener even though you are not used to growing plants from seed you really have a high chance of success starting cornflower seed.  You can sow the cornflower seeds in late winter or after the first frost directly in the garden. You don’t need to be concerned about planting too early, actually Mother Nature will really tell the seeds when to germinate. Make sure you cover the seed with about a half-inch of soil. Also make sure you keep the seedbed moist until germination occurs, normally is within ten days in warm temperatures. This plant can tolerate some crowding, although thinning seedlings really increases blooming and vigor in the plants.


  Pest and disease control in cornflower

Cornflower plants are like any other plants that also face some pest and disease challenges. The following are the pest and disease that attack cornflower.

         1. Aster Yellows disease
The symptoms: What you will see are stunted plants that will develop witch's brooms. The petals will also turn green and become deformed.
How to manage and control it: Just make sure you remove the infected plants and also control leafhoppers. Try as much as possible to remove weeds in the area that serve as alternate hosts to the disease.

       2. Damping off disease of cornflowers
The symptoms: If you are starting the cornflower from seed this is one of the major problems, the seedling will actually emerge and appear healthy and all of a sudden it will wilt and begin to die for no obvious reason.
The cause: This disease is actually caused by a fungus that is really active when there is abundant moisture and soils and air temperatures that is above 68 degrees F. This simple means that the soil is too wet or it contains high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer.
How to manage and control it: Just make sure you keep the seedlings moist but do not overwater. Make sure you avoid over-fertilizing the seedlings. You can also thin out seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Try and make sure the cornflower plants are getting good air circulation.

       3. Downy Mildew of cornflowers
The symptoms: What you will observe is a whitish gray patches on the undersides and eventually both sides of the cornflower leaves.
How to manage and control it: You can rotate crops. Make sure you avoid overhead watering. Make sure you provide adequate air circulation, don’t overcrowd the plants. Make sure you don’t work around the plants when they are wet.

        4. Powdery Mildew of cornflowers
The symptoms: A study has shown that this fungus causes whitish gray patches on the undersides and eventually both sides of the cornflower leaves. Some of the cornflower leaves will have a whitish or grayish surface and they may curl.
How to manage and control it: You can actually avoid powdery mildew by providing a good air circulation for the cornflower plants by good spacing and pruning. Also you can still contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

        5. Rust in cornflowers
The symptoms: There are a lot of fungus diseases that causes rust colored spots on the foliage and stalks.
How to manage and control it: Make sure you practice crop rotation. Try and remove infected plants. Also you can still contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

        6. Aphids on cornflowers
The symptoms: Aphids are greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects that can really spread disease as they feed on the undersides of the cornflower leaves. These insects leave a sticky residue on the foliage that can attract ants. These insects are only a problem if the cornflower plants are stressed.
How to manage and control it: You can introduce or attract natural predators into the garden like lady beetles and wasps who can feed on the aphids. And again you can wash them off with a strong spray or the use of an insecticidal soap.

       7. Cutworms on cornflowers
The symptoms: What this insect does is that they cut off the seedlings at the soil level.
How to manage and control it: You can place a paper cup collar (you can use a coffee cup with the bottom cut out) around the base of the cornflower plant. These insects are usually a problem to the young seedlings. Another method of control is handpicking and controlling of weeds where they actually lay their eggs.

      8. Leafhoppers on cornflowers
The symptoms: This insect cause injury to the leaves and stunt growth.
How to manage and control it: Make sure you remove plant debris. You can also use insecticidal soaps. And again you can still contact your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations.



  How to harvest Cornflowers

This plant really makes good cut flowers. You can pull up the cornflower plants in mid to late summer, when the cornflower plants no longer look attractive. 

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