Bachelor's Button

Bachelor’s Button
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Bachelor's Button Centaurea Cyanus
Credit: Nancy Rotenberg
Bachelor's Button Centaurea Cyanus
Bachelor’s Button

Bachelor’s button, also known as cornflower because of its prevalence in cornfields in its native Europe, is a cutting garden and cottage garden favorite. Grown for its bright blue, fringed flowers, the stems last for days in a cut flower arrangement. As a rugged reseeding annual, bachelor’s button will pop up year after year without needing much help from you.

genus name
  • Centaurea cyanus
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 1-2 feet wide
flower color
foliage color
season features
special features
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11

Colorful Combinations

In addition to blue, bachelor's buttons come in many shades of pink, purple, white, and almost black. Along with showy blooms, this plant also has appealing silvery-green foliage that mixes well with other plants, including grasses and wildflowers. Outside of the garden, bachelor's buttons are an edible flower. The blossoms add a dash of color to salads and can be dried and used in tea blends. As with all edible plants, make sure your bachelor's buttons come from a pesticide-free source before eating.

Bachelor's Button Care Must-Knows

Bachelor's buttons are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. While their ideal soil conditions are a sandy loam, these plants tolerant poor soil conditions. Well-drained soil will keep bachelor's buttons thriving. Avoid wet soil; bachelor's buttons are prone to rot if roots get too wet.

Growing bachelor's buttons can be as simple as throwing a handful of seeds onto some freshly turned soil. Given their almost weedy nature, it's easy to see how these plants grow in so many gardens. Once established, expect bachelor's buttons to sprout in the same spot year after year. Bachelor's buttons produce copious amounts of seeds that attract small birds such as finches.

For the best growing conditions, choose an area in full sun. For a dramatic display of flowers, plant closely together to keep plants upright and rigid and to prevent them from becoming too leggy. Bachelor's buttons bloom from early summer to just before frost. If you are worried about the possibility of bachelor's buttons reseeding, prompt deadheading of spent blooms will help prevent any potential outbreak of seedlings. Just keep in mind that these are true annual plants; if you remove all the spent blooms, you will remove all future generations of flowers as well. Make sure to save some seeds for future use, but keep in mind that they are open-pollinated seeds: If you had a pure pink variety, the next round of blossoms may have some purple and blue in the mix.

More Varieties of Bachelor's Button

Bachelor's Button Centaurea cyanus 'Black Ball'
Credit: Janet Mesic Mackie

'Black Ball' bachelor's button

Centaurea cyanus 'Black Ball' has purple-black flowers and grows 3 feet tall.

Bachelor's Button Companion Plants

Globe Amaranth
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Globe Amaranth

Globe amaranth is an all-time flower-gardening favorite. It seems to have it all—it thrives in hot conditions, it blooms nearly nonstop, the interesting pom-pom flowers are great for cutting and drying, and it attracts butterflies. Plant globe amaranth and then step back to watch it thrive and add continual beauty until frost. It's great in beds, borders, and containers. Plant established seedlings outdoors in spring after all danger of frost has passed. It tolerates a variety of soils and moisture levels. It isn't fussy about fertilizer, but be careful not to overfertilize.

Salvia farinacea


There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

red snapdragons
Credit: Lynn Karlin


Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around. Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color. Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.


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