Cornflower CENTAUREA

Cornflower was once a common farmland weed, but careful selection and breeding has turned it into a colourful annual for flower bed or cutting. Wiry stems bear sprays of flowers in pink, red, purple, white or the original blue. The greyish green leaves make a pleasant change from the standard green foliage of most annuals. Stake tall varieties and dead-head regularly.

VARIETIES: The Tall group of C. cyanus reaches 2.5 -3 ft. ‘Blue Diadem’isagood choice with its large,deep blue flowers and so are ‘Blue Ball’ and ‘Red Ball’. The Dwarf group grows only about 1 ft high – the best one to pick here is ‘Polka Dot’ but the old favourite is the blue ‘Jubilee Gem’. C. moschata ‘Sweet Sultan’ produces powder-puff-like flowers in a wide variety of colours, including yellow.

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

PLANT DETAILS: Height 1 or 2.5 ft.

Spacing: 9 in. or 1 ft.

Flowering period: June-September.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds in September or April where they are to flower. Thin to required spacing.

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