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Let Loose with Scissors: Cornflowers - Blue and Beautiful

How lovely to see grass verges where mowing has been put to one side to encourage wildflowers to grow. You might spot amongst the summery yellow, green and white of oxeye daisy and tall grasses, flashes of bright blue; these are our native cornflowers, or bachelor’s buttons, Centaurea cyanus.

Present in Britain since the Iron Age, cornflowers used to be a common site in fields and hedgerows, but sadly, intensive farming and use of herbicides has put this pretty, delicate flower on the endangered list. If you want to help them along by growing them in your garden, they like a sunny spot, lots of moisture and fertile soil. They are easy to raise from seed and what’s more, bees love them, so growing cornflowers will also encourage pollinators to your flower patch.

And they are not just available in blue either – cornflowers can be pink, white, red and a rich deep purple. They are also edible, their petals can be added to salads, drinks and desserts.

But why the common name bachelor’s buttons? Folklore has it that when a young man fell in love he would wear a cornflower in his jacket, if the object of his desire wasn’t interested, then the flower, unappreciated, would eventually fade and die.

Caring for Cut Cornflowers

  • Ideal temperature range: 2-5°C.

  • Re-cut stems and remove all foliage in contact with water.

  • They are thirsty flowers, so keep vases topped up.

  • Very sensitive to ethylene gas.

  • Ideal for arranging in water but stems too soft for using in floral foam.

  • They can be dried, but only when very fresh. Air dry by hanging upside down in a cool, airy place.

Enjoy your flowers!


Sunflower Su




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