Centaurea montana or “Mountain bluet” flowers from late spring to early summer. The flowers are fringed in an intense violet-blue with deep purple centres and most attractive, very deeply cut petals which can be up to 7,5cm (3in) across, and blue-greyish, lance-shaped leaves.
Native to the meadows and woods of the mountains of Europe, it is drought resistant and because of this, they also do well in containers, where the soil may dry out quickly. It is very easy to grow from seed and an excellent garden plant as well as cut flower.
The origin of the word bluet is from France. The term bachelor’s-button refers to the long-lasting quality of the flower when it is cut and placed in the buttonhole of a suit or shirt; decades ago, bachelors sported the flower when they went courting.
Sowing: Sow February to May or September to November
Sow seeds in about one month before you want to plant the seedlings outdoors
Fill individual peat pots, seed-starting flats or cells, or 7cm (3in) pot with a commercial seed-starting mix. Moisten the mix and let it drain.
Sow the seeds in rows in the flats. Sow 3 to 4 seeds per pot and cover the seeds with a 1cm (½in) layer - centaureas need darkness to germinate. Use a fine spray to moisten the top.
Cover the containers with clear plastic to keep the mix moist while the seeds are germinating and place in a warm location 16 to 22°C (60 to 70°F). Germination of perennial cornflowers takes 3 to 4 weeks.
When the seedlings emerge, remove the plastic covers and put the pots in a sunny location or under grow-lights. Water as needed to keep the mix moist (not soggy).
When seedlings are about 5cm (2in) tall and have at least one pair of true leaves, snip off all but the strongest plant in each pot at soil level. (The first set of leaves is known as cotyledon leaves—they usually do not resemble the true leaf shapes of the plants). Fertilise the seedlings once while they are growing indoors with a weak water-soluble fertilizer.
Transplant on a calm, cloudy day, so the plants can begin to get acclimatised before having to contend with sun and wind. Although they are not too particular about fertility, you may want to dig some compost or dried manure into the soil before planting: a 2 to 5cm (1 to 2in) layer should do.
Plant in full or partial sun in any average soil. Give them room to spread, space about 60cm (24in) apart. Place them in the mix at the same level they were growing originally. Water the planting well.
Fertilise the plants monthly with a balanced fertiliser or use a slow-release plant food at transplanting time. Water infrequently; Centaureas are drought tolerant, and the stems actually get rather floppy if the soil is too moist.
Remove spent flowers to keep the plants producing new blooms.
Division is usually most successful while plants aren’t in active growth in spring or autumn. Keep well-watered afterwards.
Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio/Container Plants, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens,
Cut or Dried Flower. Bee plant, First Year Flowering
Cut and Dried Flowers:
Freshly cut blooms last four to five days.
Cut the blooms in early morning when they are half open and strip the lower leaves from the stems.
To dry, pick them in late morning or in the afternoon. Select flowers that have just opened or they will drop their petals when dry. Air-dry the flowers: tie in bunches and hang upside down in an airy, dark place for two to three weeks.
Centaurea is a genus of between 350 and 600 species of herbaceous thistle-like flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Members of the genus are found only north of the equator, mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere; the Middle East and surrounding regions are particularly species-rich.
Centaurea montana is native to the meadows and woods of the mountains of Europe,
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.
The species name montana means ‘of the mountains’ referring to the habitat of the plant.
Its common name 'Mountain Bluet also refers to the plants habitat. The origin of the word bluet is from France. The term bachelor’s-button refers to the long-lasting quality of the flower when it is cut and placed in the buttonhole of a suit or shirt; decades ago, bachelors sported the flower when they went courting.
The Plectocephalus group, possibly a distinct genus are commonly known as ‘basketflowers’. And while one sometimes finds the name ‘centauries; this properly refers to the unrelated plant genus Centaurium.
A vernacular name used in parts of England is "loggerheads".
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 35 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 70 to 75 seeds per gram Family Asteraceae Genus Centaurea Species montana Common Name Mountain Cornflower, Mountain Bluet Other Language Names centaurée kornblomst fiordaliso Korenbloem Kornblume chaber Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers June to July. Height 60 to 75cm (24 to 30in) Spread 50 to 60cm (20 to 24in) Position Full Sun preferred Aspect West or South Facing. Exposed or Sheltered. Soil Well-drained (Slightly Alkaline preferred) Time to Sow Sow February to May or September to November Germination 3 to 4 weeks.