Growing Bachelor’s Buttons
Bachelor’s Buttons, which are also known as Cornflowers because they tend to grow wild in grain fields in Europe, are so easy to grow that they are a favorite among even the youngest of budding gardeners. Choose from traditional colors such as blue or white, or pastel shades of pink or rose. Old-fashioned varieties such as Frosty Mixed’ can grow as tall as 2-3 feet. If you prefer a smaller version, try a dwarf form like Jubilee Gem’ which grows to only 12 inches.
Bachelor’s Buttons flower from summer to the first frost and are commonly used in cutting and cottage style gardens. Tall varieties will fill in an informal, sunny border with ease. Compact varieties look beautiful as edging plants in a more formal garden. They also do well when planted in containers with other, taller flowers.
Plant Bachelor’s Buttons in full sun in well drained soil after the last frost. They don’t usually need amended soil-average soil is fine. They are easily grown from seed, planted inch deep and about 1 inch apart. If you choose seedlings, make sure you buy young, compact plants that are not leggy and plant them 6 to 8 inches apart. Water well whenever the soil starts to feel dry. Mulch to preserve moisture. Cut flowers and remove spent blooms regularly to encourage continuing blooms.
Since they are self sowing, you may not need to plant as many seeds the following year. However, since birds enjoy feasting on the seeds, you may want to remove some seed heads and save them to replant in the spring.
Bachelor’s Buttons are generally fairly resistant to disease, but they can occasionally be bothered by rust: a fungus that causes orange spots to form on the leaves. Water early in the day to allow the soil to dry enough that the roots are not sitting in soggy soil. Remove and destroy in infected leaves.
Cut Bachelor’s Buttons as soon as they bloom. Place in plain water overnight. They will last for up to a week in an arrangement. They are also beautiful when used in dried flower arrangements. Simply cut long stems and hang them upside down in a warm dry place until dry.