An attractive cornfield plant with pale purple flowers that grow on single stalks, and long pointed leaves that grow opposite each other.
Corncockle makes a great wildflower or cottage garden selection growing to a height of 3 feet and bearing large, soft pink flowers in the summer. A fast growing plant with lance-shaped leaves that, if in a garden situation, without long grasses to give support, you may wish to support with stakes.
Across the UK intensive mechanised farming and the use of modern herbicides has put this once formerly widespread and common cornfield weed at risk and it is now scarce and erratic. The changing pattern of agriculture where crops are sown in winter and harvested before the Corncockle would have a chance to flower and seed has also had a dramatic impact on its numbers.
Sowing: Sow indoors in early spring, at 13-18*C (55-65*F) 4-8 weeks before planting outside, alternatively, the seed can also be sown directly where they are to flower in mid to late spring.
For indoor sowing: use well drained soil and cover to a depth of 3mm (1/8in). When large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into small pots to grow on. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost 15cm (6in) apart.
For sowing direct: prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth. If sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of sand and label. Sow 1mm (1/18th in) deep in rows 30cm (12”) apart.
Sow seed sparingly or they will choke out other seedlings. Once seedlings have at least one set of leaves, they may be easily transplanted in clumps, then thinned once they have reached 5cm (3”).
The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6-8 weeks after planting and can be easily told from nearby weed seedlings. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 15cm (6”) apart by early summer.
Note: Both seed and plant are poisonous; care should be taken not to plant where livestock (including horses) are likely to graze.
Aftercare: Deadhead to prolong flowering and encourage new flower buds. Leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted
Plant Uses: Wildlife & Wildflower gardens, Cottage/Informal Gardens or Flowers Borders and Beds.
|Average Seed Count||140 seeds|
|Cultivar||Wildflower of the British Isles|
|Other Common Names||Corn Pink, Joy of Love, Little and Pretty, Bastard Nigella|
|Flowers||Pale Reddish Purple in May to August|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Time to Harvest||N/A|
|Aspect||Sun to Partial Shade|
|Time to Sow||No|
|Germination||14 – 21 days|