Also known as cornflowers, bachelor buttons (Centaurea cyanus) are a joy in the summer garden. They come in a range of bright colors, most commonly blue, but also pink, maroon, and lavender. Bachelor buttons are easy to grow from seed, and they're great for attracting beneficial pollinators.
Top Bachelor Button Varieties
- Tall Red - Tall crimson red flowers.
- Tall Blue - Classic periwinkle blue flowers.
- Dwarf White - Snow white flowers averaging 1-1.5 feet tall.
- Pinkie - Sweet light pink flowers.
- Polka Dot - A spectacular mix with blue, red, pink, and white flowers.
All About Bachelor ButtonsBachelor buttons earned their common name because young gentlemen used to wear them in their buttonholes when they were courting. These flowers are native to Europe but are endangered and rarely found in the wild anymore due to over-farming which took over the fields and meadows where bachelor's buttons thrived. Curiously enough, bachelor's buttons are naturalized in other parts of the world, including North American and Australia, after they escaped from cultivation.
Cornflowers have been popular for thousands of years. King Tut was buried with a wreath of bachelor's buttons. They are annuals but come back readily if you allow them to go to seed in the garden. Bachelor's buttons are drought-resistant, hardy, and bloom abundantly.
The flowers have multiple trumpet-shaped petals arranged in a ring that look like they are made of crepe paper. The overall appearance light and airy, which is accentuated by the tall, thin stalks they grown on. Bachelor's button foliage is also striking, a rich silvery gray green, that is the perfect backdrop for the vivid blooms.
How To Grow Bachelor's Buttons From Seed
- Bachelor's buttons are best direct sown. They grow quickly and don't need to be started indoors first, but you can if you want.
- Plant outdoors after the last frost.
- Choose a location in full sun.
- Water the planting area first, so the seeds don't get disturbed after planting.
- Rake the soil so it is loose.
- Scatter bachelor button seeds over the soil.
- Very lightly press the seeds into the soil – this is best done by walking over them. Bachelor's button seeds should never be buried – they need sunlight to germinate.
- Keep the soil moist until the seedlings sprout and are established.