CENTAUREA Cornflower, Knapweed

All bear thistle-like flowers which are excellent for cutting, producing their main flush of blooms in summer with a second flush in autumn. Under good growing conditions the Perennial Cornflower spreads rapidly and should be lifted and divided every three years. Stake tall-growing types and dead-head to prolong the flowering display. Cut the stems down to ground level in late autumn.

VARIETIES: C. dealbata has 2 fine varieties which grow about 2 ft tall and bloom in June and July. Space the plants 1.5 ft apart. ‘Steenbergii’ bears large crimson flowers with white centres and the yellow-centred pink flowers of ‘John Coutts’ are even larger. Less popular but equally attractive is the taller C. macrocephala (3-4 ft) which produces yellow globular blooms on thick stems. C. montana (1.25 ft.

Flowering period: May-July) produces large numbers of feathery flowers in white, pink or purple.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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