Bachelor’s Buttons – Growing & Care

(Centaurea cyanus) Bachelor’s Buttons have a lot of common names- Cornflowers, Bluets, Bluebonnets, and Hurtsickles, just to name a few. The name ‘cornflower’ came from their habit of growing in fields of grain crops- flowers quite literally growing in the corn.

A pair of bachelor's buttons, with more blurred and faded into the background.

Native to Europe, these lovely, long-lasting edible blue flowers have a history of being worn in the lapels of young men who were in love. If the bloom faded swiftly, it was taken to mean the relationship wouldn’t last, or that his feelings weren’t returned- on the other hand, if it lingered, he would marry his current sweetheart. Alternatively, it was also said that bachelor’s buttons, tucked into a buttonhole, was a sign that the man wearing it was available and looking for courtship.

Basics

Refreshingly unpicky, bachelor’s buttons will grow in a wide range of soil types- just make sure you plant them somewhere with plenty of direct sun to maximize blooming!

These plants do get tall, up to 3′, and weaker stems can sometimes fall over. They don’t mind being crowded, though some say you should thin them down, give each plant some breathing room. This is optional, but is said to help promote more blooms.

Watering

Bachelor’s buttons do like a little bit of extra water from time to time, but I’ve found that direct-seeded outdoor plants can take short periods of dryness with only mild fussing. The rain normally will easily take care of their needs in this area, but if they’re looking sad and droopy, feel free to give them a drink to perk them back up!

Fertilizing

Absolutely unnecessary! Ours grow directly in red clay without any need for compost or fertilizer.

Additional Care

If you feel like it, occasionally go out and deadhead the spent blooms- or not, and the dried seedheads will end up falling to the ground, reseeding the flowers next year!

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