Do cornflowers come back every year?

December, 2023
Darren Spalding

Cornflowers, or bachelor buttons, are also used as boutonnieres at weddings, often worn by the groom and his best man, a more modern twist on this traditional symbol of love and devotion. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), also called bachelor's button, is an annual herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family. Cornflowers are best grown in tufts or clusters, as their stems are slender and the flowers are not much larger than a quarter. Cornflowers, originally from Europe, are widely grown in North America as garden plants and have become naturalized as an invasive species in some areas outside their native range.

The genus is Centaurea, which includes both annual and perennial varieties. Cornflower is a member of the family Asteracea or Compositae, which is a large and widespread group of plants that includes sunflowers, daisies, and asters. Cornflower is a member of the Asteracea or Compositae family, which is a large and widespread group of plants that includes sunflowers, daisies and asters. Cornflowers have declined dramatically in the wild over the past 60 years, and fields full of these flowers were last seen between the wars.

What Is Cornflower Used for?

Taken internally as an infusion, it is believed to help soothe stomach ulcers, while rinses with the infusion are used to speed the healing of sores or bleeding gums in the mouth. Cornflowers are a beautiful addition to fresh salads, where their nutritional value adds calcium, mineral salts, folate and vitamin C to the diet. More recently, cornflowers have been melted into floral waters and used in beauty practices, as the polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids in the extract are good for the skin and hair. Cornflowers or Centaurea Cyanus once flourished in their native Europe, but with the intensification of agriculture they became endangered.

In addition, cornflower petals are also used internally as an energizer and bitter stimulant, to improve digestion and perhaps also to support the liver, as well as to increase resistance to infections. Cornflower floral water is acquired through a process known as steam distillation which can also be used as a mild natural astringent and antiseptic to prevent eye infections, as well as an innate alcohol-free tonic.

Where do cornflowers grow best?

They need fertile soil enriched with lots of organic matter, which holds a lot of moisture in spring and summer, and doesn't dry out or become waterlogged. If you start cornflowers indoors, you should transplant them into your permanent garden bed before they reach more than 10 cm in height. Cornflowers are fairly easy to grow and are a great flower for children or beginners to include in their garden. However, since taller varieties may not be available at local nurseries, planting cornflower seeds is the only way to get them in the garden.

Apart from their electric blue, which is stunning when grown in dense clumps, they are easy to grow, bloom all summer, make excellent cut flowers, butterflies and bees love them and, because they are grown from seed, they are inexpensive. Using sharp scissors, harvest a full stem, which will encourage new growth to sprout from the base of the plant.

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