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Cornell University

Bachelor Button
Centaurea cyanus
(sen-tarr-ee-ah sy-an-us)

  Bachelor's Button   Bachelor's Button
Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The bachelor button is a slender, narrow-leaved annual also known as "Ragged Sailor" or "Cornflower". In France it is known as the "French Pink". The flowers are small and compact and blue is by far the favored color, although there are pink, white, and purple varieties.

What is it used for?

Bachelor buttons are most often found in the garden. Their bright blue flowers are unmatched by any others. This color is great to combine with other bright tones in a flower garden, particularly the bright orange nasturtiums. They are a hardy plant and it takes a significant frost to end their season. They are also quite popular as a cut flower because they last long after cutting.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Bachelor buttons are successful self-seeders. Make a place for them in the flower garden and they will return each year.

What are its primary problems?

Rust will cause a reddish discoloration in the leaves. Yellows and root rot can also become a problem.

How do we propagate it?

Start indoors from seed in the early spring. Transplant when the plants are 3-4 inches tall. Seeds can be sown on the open ground in late April.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.