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Bachelor’s Button: Cornflowers Planting Guide from Seeds

The Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), also called Bachelor’s Button, is an easily cultivated annual herb in the Asteraceae family. Native to Europe, it’s commonly grown as a wildflower in North American gardens and has naturalized in specific locations outside its native range. Explore the ideal times for Cornflower growth across continents and learn about seed propagation in this article. Also known as Blue Boy, discover whether Centaurea cyanus is edible and gain insights into its industrial uses and symbolic meanings.

Do you know the cornflower plant? It produces small but gorgeous, deep blue flowers that attract a lot of attention. It doesn’t grow much; in fact, you can keep it in a pot and enjoy it all season long or in the garden, creating a spectacular floral carpet.

Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button in north america europe and ocenia
In this article, let’s review when the best time of year to grow cornflowers and how to propagate cornflowers from seeds. When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button. Is Centaurea cyanus Edible?

Cornflower Popular Names

The Bachelor’s Button, scientifically known as Centaurea cyanus, is renowned by numerous common names such as cornflower, sky flower, blue carnations, Blue-poppy, and Blue boy, among others. Notably, it was a favorite flower of John F. Kennedy, and his son paid a beautiful tribute to him by incorporating it into his wedding.

Cornflower Names Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button.
Cornflower Names: Cornflower, sky flower, blue carnations, Bachelor’s button, Blue-poppy, Blue Boy
Centaurea cyanus

When to Plant Cornflowers

When to Plant Cornflowers in Australia and New Zealand?

September, October, and November are the most appropriate months to plant cornflowers in Australia and New Zealand. It will be easy to propagate cornflower from seeds between September and November in New Zealand and Australia during spring due to suitable weather, humidity, and temperature conditions.

When Should You Plant Cornflowers in the USA, Canada, UK, or European countries?

In the northern hemisphere, the most appropriate time to plant cornflowers and propagate cornflowers from seeds is during March, April, and May, coinciding with spring.

In northern hemisphere regions with colder climates, due to their proximity to the North Pole and/or their altitude above sea level, such as more mountainous regions in Canada and the United States, the most appropriate months will be in early summer, between May and June.

how to propagate cornflowers from seeds in australia new zealand usa uk canada
How and When to Plant Cornflower: Learn how to propagate from seeds. The right time to propagate the bachelor’s button from seeds is generally in spring.

Planting Tips

Caring for and cultivating Cornflowers is a breeze, and we’re here to simplify the process so you can enjoy learning about these plants. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

The Bachelor’s Button, an annual or biennial herbaceous plant native to Europe, thrives for one or two years at most. Today, it has adapted to diverse conditions and naturalized on every continent.

How tall do they grow? Cornflowers reach a maximum height of 1 meter, featuring erect, hairy stems. The leaves, also cottony, are linear and longitudinally veined, measuring 12 to 16 mm. Spring and summer bring forth flowers with green bracts and blue or occasionally white florets. Bachelor’s Button seeds are tiny, about 0.8 inches (2 cm), and brown.

Cornflowers are relatively easy to propagate due to their natural adaptability. In response to our readers’ inquiries about the best time to grow them, let’s delve into the optimal conditions for seed germination, including suitable temperature and environment.

How Tall Do Bachelor's Buttons Get   
How Tall Do Bachelor Buttons Get? The cornflower is characterized by growing up to a maximum height of 1 meter.

How and When to Propagate Cornflower from Seeds

When to Propagate Cornflower from Seed. The right time to propagate bachelor’s button flowers from seeds is generally in spring. Although in regions and countries with cooler springs, growing cornflower from seeds can be started indoors, and once the cornflower seeds are germinated, propagated outdoors during the summer. We must be careful if we have them in gardens, as each plant produces hundreds of seeds that can germinate and become invasive, harming other plants that are nearby.

Bachelor Button Seeds for Planting Cornflower (Polka Dot Mix) - Pretty Mix of Bachelors Buttons Seeds Open Pollinated, Non-GMO, Great for Cut Flower Gardens by Gardeners Basics
  • GORGEOUS - Who doesn't love a bright, happy flower bed of cornflower seeds flowers?
  • ANNUAL - This is a beautiful annual plant with a colorful mix of blue, purple, pink and white flowers.
  • ATTRACT POLLINATORS - Bring pollinators into your fruit, vegetable and flower garden with these bachelor buttons seeds.
Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada

What Kind of Environment Is Best for Cornflower Blooms?

Cornflowers prefer a moderate to warm environment since it is the most flattering for them. Temperatures should be between 68-97 F (20 and 36 Celsius); this is the year when they will thrive. Cornflower cannot withstand winter drought and grows little and withers rapidly in high heat. Late spring through early summer, the cornflowers will bloom.

Care for Cornflower – Bachelors Button Care Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada
Late spring through early summer, the cornflowers will bloom.

Gardening Tips for Cornflower Care

In the following paragraphs, we will review the care for cornflowers. As already mentioned, it is an easy plant to care for and grow, with a good germination success rate. 

Care for Cornflower – Bachelors Button Care Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada
Cornflower Care

Let’s continue reading Cornflower Care – Bachelors Button Care


For the cornflower to grow and develop properly, it must be placed outdoors, in a sunny exposure. It can also be in a semi-shade, but it must receive direct sunlight at least 4 hours a day.


Soil for Cornflower in a Pot. You can use a universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite in equal parts.

Soil for Cornflower in the Garden. It is not demanding, but it should have good drainage.

Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Concentrated Planting Mix .67 CF
  • Versatile: Can be used in pots, raised beds, or in-ground
  • Expands up to 3X when water is added: .67CF expands up to 2CF
  • Holds up to 50% more water than basic potting soil
Cornflower Care tips


The frequency of watering will vary depending on the season of the year in which we are, as well as its location.

During the summer, cornflowers should be watered more often in winter, so they will usually be watered about 3 times a week in the warmer months of the year and once a week the rest of the year.

Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada
Care for Cornflower – Bachelors Button Care

Fertilizing Cornflower Plants

It is advisable to fertilize cornflowers from the beginning of spring until the end of summer with liquid universal fertilizer to obtain better flowering. It is advisable to follow the indications specified in the product package.

Burpee Natural Purpose Granular 4-Lb Organic Food for Growing Strong Plants | Good for Vegetable Garden, Flower Garden & Seed Starting, 4 lb, 4lb. Bag
  • FEED YOUR PLANTS: Burpee’s All-Purpose Organic Plant Food is formulated to keep your plants growing and happy throughout the season. Major nutrients as well as calcium, minor nutrients, and some of the beneficial microbes that help keep the soil and plants healthy are released immediately and continue to feed your plants for up to 3 months.

Do I Need to Prune or Trim Cornflower Plants?

Pruning or trimming cornflower plants is not necessary. It is enough to remove withered flowers and dry, sick, or weak leaves.

growing cornflowers in australia Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada
Care for Cornflower – Growing cornflowers in Australia

How to Propagate Cornflowers from Seeds

To propagate cornflowers from seeds, we can sow their seeds throughout the spring following this step-by-step:

The first thing we will do is to choose the seedbed for your bachelor’s button. As such, we can use pots, milk containers, yogurt cups, or whatever we find that is waterproof. In the case of using product containers, we have to clean them well with water and make a hole for water drainage.

how to propagate cornflower from seeds
How to Propagate Cornflower from Seeds

Then, we fill it with a universal culture substrate for plants or seedbeds, and we water it.

The cornflower seeds are then dispersed throughout the surface and covered with a thin coating of the substrate. It’s best not to place too many cornflower seeds in the same seedbed since they’ll almost certainly all germinate. If they’re too close together, they won’t grow well. The cornflower seeds should not be put more than three in a pot of 4 inches (10,5 cm) in diameter.

We next water the seedbed again, this time with a sprayer, and set it in a sunny location to facilitate the growth and propagation of cornflowers from seeds.

Cornflower seeds will germinate in 7-10 days if the substrate is kept damp (but not wet).

Uses and Benefits of Cornflower Cornflower When to Plant (Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s button how to propagate cornflowers from seeds australia new zealand usa uk canada
How to Propagate Cornflower from Seeds

Hardiness for Cornflower

Hardiness for Cornflower. Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button) does not tolerate cold or frost. USDA Hardiness Zone 2-11. Check out the new USDA hardiness zones map to see if your zone number has changed.

uses and benefits of cornflower
Uses and Benefits of Cornflower

Uses, Meaning, and Benefits of Cornflowers

One of our readers recently inquired about the uses of Cornflower. Apart from their ornamental appeal, Cornflowers, like many other blue flowers, are commonly incorporated into weddings, either alongside other blue or white flowers. These plants are also excellent choices for wildflower garden decorations. Beyond their decorative function, Cornflower plants play a role in the cosmetic industry, particularly in hair products, and are utilized in certain medications due to their medicinal properties.

ornamental uses of cornflowers
Uses and Benefits of Cornflower

As demonstrated, Cornflowers are versatile and highly decorative plants suitable for brightening up any sunny corner of a garden or patio. They can enhance the visual appeal of flower beds, create a vibrant carpet of colors, or stand out as an attractive centerpiece in a pot. Widely employed in weddings, they are often paired with other blue or white flowers.

Cornflower Meaning and History

Legend claims Cyanos, a Roman youth devoted to Goddess Flora and the color blue, died in a wheat field, transformed into the cornflower Centaurea cyanus by the grateful goddess.

Beyond legends, this Asteraceae family herb, once wild in European cereal fields, adapted globally. A symbol of significance, it’s Estonia’s national flower and emblematic of French combatants’ associations.

In ancient Rome, it adorned the harvest goddess’s hair and served various political parties, including pre-fascist Austria’s German movement, Sweden’s liberal party, and Estonia’s national flower.

Bachelor’s Button Flower Meaning

What is Cornflower used for? The Cornflower plant is widely used for weddings because of the meaning of this blue flower.

Bachelor’s button flowers are associated with love, youth, and healing. At various times in history, these flowers were particularly popular among the young of many civilizations. As mentioned in previous paragraphs, cornflowers or the Bachelor’s buttons were JFK’s favorite flower.

Bachelor button means love, youth, and healing.
Ted and Jackie Kennedy. Outside the church, an obviously distraught mother-of-the-bride. Ted chooses a bachelor’s button flower combined with the outfit of the bridesmaid.
what is Cornflower used for
Ted Kennedy, the bride’s uncle, escorted her down the aisle. Ted had a cornflower inserted in the buttonhole of his suit coat. Caroline was escorted down the aisle of the flower-filled Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Centerville, Cape Cod, by her brother in her father’s absence. Bachelor’s button flowers are associated with love, youth, and healing.

Ted Kennedy, the bride’s uncle, combined the bridesmaid with a bachelors button (cornflower) flower inserted in the buttonhole of his suit coat.

The common name for cornflower, popularly known as Bachelor’s button, comes from the 1600s. In the 1600s, they were imported to the United States. Bachelor’s Button got its name from the fact that the blooms were frequently inserted in the buttonholes of men’s suitcoats during Victorian times. This is why the name most commonly used for this flower in the United States is Bachelors Button. However, in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, the flower is better known as Cornflower.

Medicinal Properties of Cornflowers

It seems the Bachelor’s Button has some benefits. Cornflower water is made from the decoction of the blossoms and is used as an anti-inflammatory on the eyes. Cornflower water appears to be one of the most significant natural treatments for caring for the eyes, as it strengthens and cleanses them. This isn’t the sole medical purpose for it, though.

Cornflower water is also helpful to relieve the symptoms of rheumatism, flu and colds, cancer, infections, inflammations, eczema, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, seborrhea, and even gray hair (Cornflower benefits hair).

 how to propagate cornflowers industry ises
Uses and Benefits of Cornflower – In cosmetics

Use of Cornflower in Cosmetics

As a gardener, I have always enjoyed watching this beautiful blue flower, the cornflower or bachelor’s button, grow. It is a very wildflower with a super successful germination rate that also reminds me of my childhood. Not only is it a beautiful flower, but it also has other applications. Cornflower has applications in the cosmetic industry with components that are part of makeup remover lotions and mild shampoos.

 Is Centaurea cyanus Edible?
Is Centaurea cyanus Edible?

Are Cornflowers Edible? Edible Cornflower Blossoms in Salads

Are Cornflowers Edible? Yes, Cornflower blossoms and buds are edible and may be cooked or used as an addition to salads. Its anthocyanin component, a category of blue pigments named after the flower, is particularly intriguing (Centaurea cyanus). Check out our recommended recipe.

This allows blue hues to be extracted from the flowers, which may then be utilized to create pastries and cakes. The color created can be used as a fabric dye. However, it is not washable.

Bachelor’s Buttons Toxicity for Cats and Dogs

Are Corneflowers Toxic to Dogs and Cats? Cornflowers (Bachelor’s Buttons) are not toxic to animals, and the flowers are edible for humans. (Reference from ASPCA)

Although the wild version, unlike the ornamental variety, has some beneficial components, it is not very significant as a therapeutic plant. It was formerly thought to be a mystical medical plant since it was used to heal and prevent eye disorders.

Bachelors Button not Toxic for Cats and  Dogs
Are Bachelor Buttons Toxic to Dogs and Cats? Cornflower (Bachelors Button) is not toxic to animals.

Where to Buy Cornflowers or Bachelor’s Buttons?

During the spring, we may find our cornflower specimen at any nursery, garden store, or local market. Its price is relatively modest, only 1-2 dollars or 1 euro per flowering plant, making it very simple to have a gorgeous blue flowering patio or garden. Cornflower seeds are very inexpensive and grow fast and quickly; they are our recommended option, especially for beginner gardeners.

We hope you found this article about cornflowers.

More blue flowers are usually used for weddings: Iris, Nigella, Anemone of the Panda, Echinops or thistle,  Delphinium, Hyacinth (Hyacinthus niger) Viburnum Berries, Tweedia, Hydrangea, Forget me not, Muscari.

About Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan is an agronomist and a master gardener. In her previous roles, Julia was an advisor promoting large-scale food growing in urbanized areas, introducing the concept of chemical-free produce. She is an expert in putting her hands in the soil, developing organic foods, and improving production processes for decades. Julia is a natural teacher and encourages every person in her way to grow their own food. She split her days between writing and reviewing for The Garden Style Website and offering assessments to cure edible land. Julia enjoys connecting with The Garden Style Community.

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