Cornflower

Cornflowers are fairly easy to grow and are a great flower for kids or beginners to include in their garden. They are a cheerful and attractive flower that is just as appealing to beneficial insect life in the garden as it is to the garden's human inhabitants. Though most cornflowers are 'cornflower blue', they do actually come in a whole range of types and colours.

Growing cornflowers:

Cornflowers are grown from seed planted in the spring and they are best sown direct into the soil in which they are to grow. If you plant cornflower seeds between March and May then you will be treated to a lovely display between June and September.

Cornflowers prefer a site in full sun, in a well-drained soil. The soil does not need to be particularly fertile and in fact many varieties will actually flower better in an area where soil is less than perfectly nutritious.

When you are planting your cornflower seeds, make drills in the soil and water these before you sow the seeds. This is to prevent the seeds being washed away by the water. The cornflowers should pop up above the soil in around three weeks. Try to be careful not to disrupt the cornflowers' delicate roots if you decide to move the small seedlings or thin them.

Cornflowers are best planted in a sheltered location, as if they are in a bed together then the whole lot can easily be flattened by a strong wind. Since they are fairly tall plants, some people choose to give them some support although this is not usually necessary.

Cornflowers welcome other company and will look lovely and bright when in a garden bed with marigolds or poppies or other vivid flowers. Cornflowers can be good for hiding the stems of roses and other tall shrubs.

You can pick cornflowers for use in floral displays. If you are careful to cut them just above a leaf node then they should produce more flowers for you, just on shorter stems, so these flowers can keep producing for you for the whole summer and perhaps even beyond. Cornflowers should be picked just before they are fully open when the centre of the flower is still slightly dipped inwards.

Why grow cornflowers in the garden?

Cornflowers really are a beautiful flower to look at. They are good value too since the display they create can keep on going for several months. Once established in a bed, cornflowers will self-seed and return year after year, bringing enduring cheer in a low maintenance area of the garden.

Cornflowers are a native UK plant and once grew with abandon across our farm fields, until herbicides used in farming made them very rare in the wild and confined them to our gardens. 

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Centaurea cyanus