Let’s Grow: Bachelor’s Buttons


Growing Bachelor's Buttons with Black Fox Homestead

Every cloud has it’s silver lining, and one of the things I’m choosing to be grateful for with our previous (and hopefully final) cold snap is that it gave me a chance to plant some bachelor’s buttons for a cut flower bed at the last minute.

While most annuals like to be started after the last hard frost, these take some planning ahead: they like to go in just before the last hard frost.

I was lucky.  Just this past week, I noticed they had begun to sprout.  Hopefully we’ll have some of these beautiful flowers growing in our bed this season.

Fancy name: Centaurea cyanus

Common name: Cornflower

Useless but interesting trivia:  Called cornflower because they grow wild in (guess..) grain fields!  It is reported that when the Prussian Queen Louise was hiding from the invading Napoleon, she hid in a cornfield and her children amused themselves by making wreathes of cornflowers.  They were first brought to the U.S from Europe in the 17th century and supposedly cultivated by Jefferson at Monticello.

Culture notes: Sow outdoors in early spring 1-2 weeks before the last hard frost. They like full sun, but will tolerate poor soil.  If I remember, I try to give them the occasional shot of natural fertilizer (such as fish emulsion) about once a month.  I have found them to be pretty drought tolerant, and mulch will also help conserve moisture in the soil.  Don’t allow them to get too crowded together as powdery mildew has been a problem in my garden.

How to use them: They can get to be as tall as 3′ so put them in the back of your bed.  They are beautiful left alone, used as cut flowers, and reportedly dry well.  Dried flowers are not my thing at the moment, so I just cut them or leave them to look pretty in the bed.

Looks great with: Red cosmos, I like to use them with sunflowers too.

Recommended varieties: I’ve used “Black Magic” before and enjoyed it.  They were my first attempt at Bachelor’s buttons and the deep purple color is very unique.  While they come in a variety of colors from white to pink  my favorite is the traditional “Blue Boy”.

Why you should grow them: Flowers planted amongst your vegetables will attract bees and other beneficial insects to your garden, not to mention that every gardener needs something pretty to look at while working outside, or to cut and bring in for the table.

These are annuals, but they will readily self seed and come back year after year with no effort on your part.   While  your still working to get your cool weather season vegetables up and growing, your bachelor’s buttons will be putting out buds and getting ready to bloom.

Where to buy them: Bachelor’s Button seeds are very easy to find.  Pretty much any seed supplier will have one or two varieties.  You may even have a gardening friend who would be willing to give you some of their seed.  I have had great success with those purchased through the Seed Saver’s ExchangeBaker Creek has several different varieties, and Mary’s Heirloom Seeds* offers some as well.

Do you grow flowers for cutting?  What are some of your favorites?

Growing Bachelor's Buttons with Black Fox Homestead *Neither of these are affiliates, just some great places to get your seeds that I highly recommend.

Find this post and others like it linked to: Farm Girl Blog Fest, The Creative HomeAcre Hop, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays,The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Tuesday Greens, The Scoop, Tuesdays with a Twist, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Tutorials Tips and Tidbits

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Let’s Grow: Bachelor’s Buttons — 13 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing about these gorgeous blue flowers…I really love them too! I planted them in one spot 3-5 years ago and they come back faithfully every year – what a bonus!! I really enjoyed your post!

  2. Love the color. I planted a package of seeds about 10 years ago and I am still enjoying the volunteers every year since. Finches love to sit and rest on them – what a show. If I clip any flowers for indoor bouquet, a week later I shake the spent flower heads over a garden area that I hope grow b. buttons next year (works sometimes).

  3. Oh, my heavens… I haven’t seen Bachelor Button seeds since I was a little girl! One of my first entrepreneurial careers was selling flowers seeds to my neighbors. I loved the brown cardboard box filled with seed packets that I received in the mail.. hearing the rattle of them against the paper.. gazing at the pretty photographs of what they would become. And Bachelor Buttons was one of my favorites! Thanks for triggering that memory!

  4. These remind me of my childhood. I saw some seed at the garden center the other day and now I’m wishing I’d bought them. I think I’ll see if it’s still early enough to plant some..

    • I put mine in late for here but since we’ve had a cold spring they seem to be coming up fine. I’ve really enjoyed them.

  5. Pretty flower! I made one of the raised beds in my vegetable garden into a cutting garden bed. I’ll have to remember to plant some of these next year!

    Thanks so much for linking up at the Creative HomeAcre Hop. Hope to see you again this Sunday!

  6. Pingback: The Creative HomeAcre Hop #15 » The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

  7. Pingback: Plant Seeds, Bulbs & seedlings for Sale » How to Grow Bachelor Button