Old Fashioned Bachelor Buttons

Old Fashioned Bachelor Buttons
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Old Fashioned Bachelor ButtonsBachelor Button (Centaurea cyanus) is a charming old fashioned flower and is easily grown from seed. It's known as bachelor button because it was used as a boutonniere due to it's ability to last when out of water and the perfect size of it's bloom.

It also makes a lovely everlasting that can be dried or pressed for crafting and arrangements. Though it's primary color is blue, you will also find pinks, purples, whites and even a "black" which is actually a very deep purple. Bachelor buttons attract butterflies such as Black Swallowtails and Fritillaries.

Centaurea blooms spring to midsummer, and usually reaches to about 2 foot, although they do have dwarf varieties and tall mixes that can reach 4 foot. They tolerate dry, poor soil, need about a 1/2 day of sun and hate wet feet-so place them where it's warm and dry.

You can sow the seed in late autumn or in the spring. Start them indoors for earlier blooms, about 4 weeks before you'll be setting them out. Plant the seeds 1/2" deep and keep at 65 degrees. It will take 7-14 days for the seeds to germinate.

The soil should be fairly moist while waiting for germination. Direct seed outside as soon as you can work the soil. The plants will reseed if you allow them too. To keep the blooms going deadhead as the blooms fade, and just allow seeds to form near autumn. You can also make successive planting two weeks apart.

I found the easiest way to stake plants like bachelor buttons to use twigs. If you poke the twigs in the ground among the flowers, they hold them up nicely and blend in well.

Centaurea is also known as cornflower because it grows wild in the fields of England, many times among the corn. It's is an edible bloom with a mild sweet spicy taste, and can be used to garnish salads and desserts. Do make sure that any you use for eating have not been exposed to any type of chemicals.

Bachelor buttons are also wonderful for gardening with children because of the quick germination and the nontoxic properties. Have kids start them indoors in peat pots, which are easy to transfer into the garden, or try growing the dwarf varieties in window boxes or pots.

Image: Wikimedia.org

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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