Bachelor's Button

This easy-going annual practically grows itself.

Colorful Combinations

In addition to cornflower blue, bachelor's buttons flowers come in many shades of pink, purple, white, and almost black. Along with showy blooms, bachelor's button leaves are an appealing silvery-green that mixes well with other plants, including grasses and wildflowers. Outside of the garden, bachelor's buttons are edible flowers. 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 sandy loam, these plants tolerate poor soil conditions. Well-drained soil will keep bachelor's buttons flowers 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 many gardens. Once established, expect bachelor's buttons to sprout in the same spot year after year. In addition, bachelor's buttons produce copious seeds attracting 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 flowers bloom from early summer to just before frost. If you're 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'll also remove all future generations of flowers. Save some seeds for future use. However, remember, they're 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

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Bachelor’s Button Overview

Description 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
Common Name Bachelor’s Button
Plant Type Annual
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 2 feet
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Gray/Silver
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed
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'Black Ball' bachelor's button

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

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

Bachelor's Button Companion Plants

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Globe Amaranth

Globe Amaranth
Peter Krumhardt

Globe amaranth is an all-time flower-gardening favorite. It seems to have it all: It thrives in hot conditions, blooms nearly nonstop, its interesting pom-pom flowers are great for cutting and drying, and it attracts butterflies. Plant globe amaranth, then step back to watch it thrive and add continual beauty until frost. It's excellent 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 over-fertilize.

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Salvia

Salvia farinacea

Few gardens 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.

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Snapdragon

red snapdragons
Lynn Karlin

Every garden can benefit from the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name because 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. 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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