05 January 2015

Bachelor Button Flowers are Cyanus segetum syn. Centaurea cyanus

Bachelor Buttons are a much loved summer-flowering plant. But when you say Bachelor Button which one do you mean?
Centaurea americana

These are all called Bachelor Buttons: Gomphrena globosa, Centaurea cyanus and montana, Ranunculus aconitifolius and Tanacetum parthenium.

Seed and plant cataloges are inexact and mish-mash all of these together but in case it's useful: Centaurea cyanus is a blue lavender flowering plant that matures at 1-2 feet tall. Centaurea americana has pink flowers and matures at 3-4 feet tall. Centurea moschata has several flower colors and matures at 2-3 feet tall.

Centaurea americana is an unusual Arkansas-Texas native that was discovered by Nutall. It grows 2-feet tall with 5-inch feathery purple-pink flowers in Aug. Expect them to need 4 months from seed to maturity when they can be harvested for dried flowers. Available from Select Seeds.
Plants for a Future Bachelor Buttons

The ones I love are Corn Flowers, Centaurea cyanus or C. moschata. The flowers can be blue, pink, lavender or white and the varieties include deep purple/"almost black", mauve and a frilly white. Old-fashioned ones were all tall and now you can get dwarf, too. Their other names include Basktetflower, Bluebottle, and Boutonniere flower.

No matter what you call them, they are long lasting cut flowers, great edible flowers for salads and garnish, and used in teas such as Lady Grey. And, due to modern farming techniques, they are no longer considered invasive weeds in corn fields.
Centaurea cyanus Classic Artistic

These flowers are all a great choice for new gardeners, children and anyone gardening in difficult soil because they are easy to germinate and grow with little care. The flowers were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen who died in 1340 B.C. so they've been around a long time.

The tall varieties are terrific for the back of the border or in mass plantings where you want to attract pollinators such as butterflies. The flowers have been used to dye sugar and linens, the tender shoots are eaten.and the dried flowers are used medicinally.
Centaurea Imperial Bride White

Swallowtail Gardens offers a mixed-color pack of Centaurea cyanus that includes bi-color flowers. 200 seeds $2.49. They also offer a color combination they call Classic Magic, which is a Fleuroselect Novelty Award Winner. The colors are rose to mahogany with some bi-color flowers. Plants grow 3 feet tall and about a foot wide so plan for a plant that large and when you are thinning the seedlings leave at least a foot between plants.

In case you want to mass-plant them for a summer wedding or your white garden, seeds of Bride White can be found as Centaurea cyanus Imperial Bride White and Centaurea moschata 'The Bride'.

Also look for Centaurea cyanus Florence Series for a uniquely beautiful choice that grows only one foot tall.
Centaurea cyanus ClassicRomantic


Plant the seeds outside in a sunny spot around the time of your area's usual last frost. Cultivate the soil, removing all the weeds and sprinkle the seeds on the prepared surface. Press the seeds into the loose soil and lightly cover with 1/4 inch of dirt. 
Centaureua cyanus seedling

Water the planted area gently so the seeds don't wash away. Keep them moist and they will come up in a couple of weeks.

To plant the seeds indoors to have plants ready to grow, start them a month before your area's last frost date and keep the seedlings at 65-degrees.

Although Bachelor Buttons are annuals,completing their life cycle in one summer, they will drop seeds at the end of the season and new plants will grow from those seeds. Allow the seeds to ripen until October before collecting them for sharing.

Despite the confusion in the naming they are worth planting and enjoying, no matter which height or colors you choose.



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