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Party Hardy Annuals- Centaurea Cynus

If it didn’t sound so vile, I would refer to Centaurea Cynus as the cockroach of hardy annuals. I’ll say he is reliable, persistent and always comes through in a pinch instead. Also known as cornflowers, centaurea cynus is uber cold hardy. In fact, he is my best performer this year. Kudos Mr. Cynus!

Cornflowers are famous for their vivid blue hues, but modern breeding has allowed for a brilliant range from white to deep reddish black and everything in between. There’s even a mood color that changes with the weather! Ok, I made that last one up… but it’s a splendid idea… vite vite modern tech!

Cornflowers like sunny spots with shoddy soil. Which makes them excellent contenders for the last minute gardener. You can plant them pretty much anywhere, and as long as it drains well, those spritely fellows will be happy. Cornflowers need to be planted ¼” deep or lightly covered at the very least. They are an excellent contender for autumn sowing here in zone 5/6. Through the transitive property (see, College Logic is truly paying off! Thank you, Prof Fuzzyface… ), we can deduce that they can also be winter sown and sown in spring. If you do all three, you will have a forest of cornflower goodness. I usually opt for 2/3 of the sowing options. This year our autumn crop was plenty. I will sow another batch late spring.

We’ll have the classic blue cornflower here at Dottie’s. I’m also smitten by the pink and white variations of Classic Romantic. I’ve come into a packet of the Black Ball option which I’ll sow later this year. Cornflowers are of the cut and come again family so chop-chop away at those blooms for flowers all season long. They are also a contender for the dried flower trend. Which seems to be making a comeback these days…


Centaurea cynus mixes well with classic early summer blooms; nigella, larkspur, agrostemma and godetia are a few that fit the bill. This season I have the blue boys mixed in with some orlaya and zingy orange wallflowers. I'm expecting a spectacular show.

Tune in to our Instagram and Facebook pages for photos of handsome cornflowers and other bodacious blooms. I'll be sure to update you when (and if) my spectacular concoction comes to fruition.

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