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Bachelor Button Flowers

How to Plant a Bachelor Button From Seed

Bachelor button, or Centaurea cyanus, is also known as the cornflower. Mature plants are drought tolerant, undemanding and attractive to butterflies. Long-lasting flowers bloom from June to August and perform well as cut stems. Bachelor buttons are readily started from seed sown directly into the garden after all danger of frost has passed for your area.

Choose a well-draining site in full sun for your bachelor buttons. Cultivate the soil several inches deep and incorporate organic material such as compost, peat moss or well-rotted manure.

Sow bachelor button seeds directly into your prepared site. Space them about 2 to 4 inches apart and cover with ¼ to ½ inch soil. Bachelor buttons need darkness for successful germination.

Water the seeds thoroughly, moistening the soil evenly. Don’t let the seed bed dry out while bachelor buttons are germinating, but don’t allow the soil to become soggy or waterlogged, either. Seeds will germinate in about seven to 15 days.

Continue to water until seedlings sprout and develop several true leaves. Once established, they’ll be drought tolerant and probably won’t require anymore watering from you. Thin them to about 18 inches apart.

Feed bachelor buttons a good all-purpose fertilizer monthly throughout the growing season. Follow the packaging instructions carefully.

Water established bachelor button plants only if leaves or blooms appear wilted.

Bachelor Button Blue Boy

Bachelor Button Blue Boy (Centaurea Cyanus)

In addition to the dazzling sky blue flowers, Bachelor Button Blue Boy (also known as Cornflower) has other admirable traits including drought tolerance. Flowers can be used as dried or cut flowers. Bachelor Button will "naturalize", or reseed themselves to come back next year.

Flower Type: Annual
Bloom Time: Summer
Height: 20" to 24"
Exposure: Full Sun

When to Sow Outside: Early Spring - 1 to 2 Weeks before last frost.
When to Sow Inside: Not Recommended - doesn't transplant well
Seed Depth: 1/4 "
Seed Spacing: 1"
Days to Emerge: 7 to 14
Thinning: When 1" tall thin to 6 to 8 inches apart

Cornflower Facts


Select this popular plant for its ability to quickly naturalize and self-sow for another season. The cornflower grows best in full sun to part shade and thrives in almost any soil.


Choose cornflower for its height of 1 to 3 feet to mix with other flowers. The tall stems hold multiple flowers about 1 inch in diameter.


Look for maroon, pink and white flower varieties. Originally, the cornflower was a solid blue flower, before hybrids developed in other colors.


Use cornflowers in wildflower mixes, along roadsides and in gardens. The cornflower is an excellent cutting flower for bouquets and dried flower arrangements.


Scatter seeds in plantings a few weeks apart, as the cornflower is a fast-growing plant that blooms heavily from early spring until first frost. Successive plantings give a full season of flowers.


Check with your regional garden experts. This wildflower is invasive in some regions.

Bachelor's Button Fast Facts


The classic bachelor's button is deep blue, with darker hues concentrated in the center of the flower. Other colors have also become popular, including red, pink, white and black. All these varieties are annuals, meaning they usually flower and die in one year.


Bachelor's buttons grow pale green stems that have a distinctive gray hue. Most plants grow roughly 1 to 3 feet tall and have short, lance-shaped leaves. The flowers are rather small, rarely more than an inch in diameter.


Bachelor's buttons are native to southern Europe but have been successfully introduced to North America and Australia.


The name "bachelor's button" derives from legends of young men who would wear the flowers after falling in love. If the flower withered quickly, it was interpreted as a sign that they would not be loved in return.


Political parties in Estonia, Finland and Sweden have used the bachelor's button as a symbol of social reform since the early 1900s.

Fun Fact

Because they once grew in the fields of farmers, the bachelor's button is also known as a "cornflower."

Bachelor's Button Facts


The bachelor's button prefers full sun and is extremely drought tolerant.

Another Name

Another name for bachelor’s button is cornflower, since it often grew as a weed in fields of crops. “Light Cornflower Blue” is a Crayola crayon name.


In folklore, the bachelor’s button was worn as a young man’s boutonniere. If it faded quickly, it indicated that the young man did not return his sweetheart’s love.

Tea Ingredient

Bachelor’s button is used as an ingredient in some teas, including the Twinings “Lady Grey” blend.

Dried Flowers

Bachelor’s buttons are often used in dried flower arrangements, since the blooms retain their bright colors even after drying.

How to Care for Bachelor's Button

Mulch tender bachelor button seedlings as soon as they reach approximately 4 inches. Use organic material such as wood chips, peat moss or dried grass clippings.

Feed bachelor buttons in early summer, and they will be strong enough to survive the coming heat. Use a weak mixture of liquid fertilizer diluted half with water. It can be sprayed on the soil or directly on the leaves.

Water bachelor buttons, as needed. They are drought resistant, but may need occasional watering, especially during the hottest part of summer.

Cut blooms for use in flower arrangements to keep the bachelor buttons blooming all season long. Remove spent bachelor button blossoms.

Stake tall bachelor buttons if they begin to lean. Some types of bachelor buttons can grow to nearly 3 feet.

Dry bachelor buttons before the first frost. Clip the stems and tie them into small bunches with rubber bands. Hang them in a dry, well-ventilated area. Any bachelor buttons left in the garden will die with the coming of winter, although it may reseed itself in warmer climates. Pull the dead plants and toss them in the compost pile.

Bachelor Button Seeds

Bachelor Button

Select a variety below to view images and details:

Bachelor Button 'Black Magic'
Deep maroon flowers that look great in cut or dried arrangements.

Bachelor Button Blue Boy Sky blue flowers.

Bachelor Button Dwarf Blend
A mix of purple, light blue, pink and white.

Bachelor Button Tall Blend
A wonderful blend of colors in a tall variety.

Bachelor Button Black Magic

Bachelor Button
Black Magic
(Centaurea Cyanus)

This 'black' bachelor button is actually a very deep maroon. It combines well with 'blue boy' or tall cosmos. Bachelor button is drought resistant and can be used as cut or dried flowers in arrangements. Plants reseed themselves readily.

Average Count: 200 Seeds

Flower Type: Annual
Bloom Time: Summer
Height: 20" to 24"
Exposure: Full Sun

When to Sow Outside: Early Spring - 1 to 2 Weeks before last frost.
When to Sow Inside: Not Recommended - doesn't transplant well
Seed Depth: 1/4 "
Seed Spacing: 1"
Days to Emerge: 7 to 14
Thinning: When 1" tall thin to 6 to 8 inches apart

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