Cornflowers are great plants for the cutting garden or border, and this fine cultivar is no exception. C. cyanus Snowman is a double flowered cultivar with wonderful fluffy, white flowers on densely branched upright plants. This is the white member of the series which includes Blue and Black varieties.
A favorite annual flower and cottage garden staple, one single cornflower looks like a burst of fireworks. With lance shaped, long and graceful leaves, the upper half of the plant has multiple stems which produce many flowers from early summer until frost. Well suited for cutting, drying, and pressing. Cornflowers are self-sowers that do best in cool weather.
The Ball series, also known as the Boy series, feature double flowered blooms on tall stems for garden or cutting, are available in many colours including Black, Blue and White. The white cultivar is also known as White Ball and Snowman!
Sow in August to September for early summer flowering the next year or sow directly where they are to flower in March to April
Sowing Direct :
Sow thinly, 3mm (1/8in) deep in drills 30cm (12in) apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water ground regularly, especially in dry periods.
When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart
Sow in pots or trays of moist seed compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep at 15-20°C (59-68°F). Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. Germination will usually take 14-21 days.
When they are large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into 7cm (3in) pots or trays. Overwinter plants in cool, light, frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring, or grow on as greenhouse pot plants.
This fully hardy plant requires a sunny site, growing in most well-drained soil types, even poor soil. Do not over fertilise because this will lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of blossoms. Cornflowers bloom more when crowded.
The wiry plants may need some discreet support, and deadheading helps to prolong the flowering season.
Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio/Container Plants, Cut Flower, Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Everlasting (use for drying and pressing, Cornflowers retain their colours when dried)
Cornflowers are prized historically for their blue pigment. Cornflowers are often used as an ingredient in tea and is famous in the Lady Grey blend of Twinings.
Once upon a time anything that grew and bloomed in a grain field was considered a 'cornflower.' As time passed, that moniker stuck to Centaurea cyanus in particular, all the other flowers left to find their own names.
Bachelor's-buttons, as you might suspect from the Latin genus and species, have a bit of folklore under its belt. Cyanus was a youth in Greek legend who worshipped Chloris (or Flora), and spent every waking hour gathering flowers for her altar. (Today we call that a stalker.) When he died, the goddess gave his name to the plant, though some believed she turned him into the plant.
Centaurea comes to us from the Centaur Chiron, who cured a festering wound that was made with an arrow dipped in the Hydra's blood. The wound was cured by covering it with the flowers of this plant, which now bears his name as its genus name. This also gave the plant its reputation for great healing properties.
Other common names:
Ragged sailor, Witches' bells, Happy skies, Haw dods, Hurtsickle, Cornbottle, Corn centaury, French pink, Brushes, Bunk, Corn binks, Blue tops, Bluets, Break-your-spectacles, Blue bow, Blue poppy, Blue sailors, Blue blaw, Blue bonnets, Bluebottle, Barbeau, Blaver, Blawort.
- Additional Information
Family Asteraceae Genus Centaurea Species cyanus Cultivar White Boy, White Ball or Snowman Synonym The Ball or Boy series Common Name Double Cornflower, Bachelors Button Other Language Names Centaurée, Kornblomst, Fiordaliso, Korenbloem, Kornblume, Chaber Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Piercing, bright blue flowers Natural Flower Time Spring to Summer Height 80cm (32in) Spread 20cm (8in) Position Full Sun Soil Well-drained (Acid, Alkaline or Neutral) Time to Sow Sow in August to September for early summer flowering the next year
or sow directly where they are to flower in March to April
Germination 14 to 21 days