Expect masses of true cornflower-blue flowers from seed of this charming, easy-to-please annual. Delightful in borders and cottage garden settings, where it will attract butterflies and bees, the long-stemmed Blue Ball is also a splendid cut flower and was once widely grown commercially in East Anglia for this purpose. The blooms can also be dried if desired.
Cornflower is an easy-to-grow hardy annual which flowers the same year as sowing. Its seeds can be sown direct in the garden where it is to flower. Once a common sight in cornfields before the use of herbicides, it does well in full sun on well-drained soils, including those which are dry, of low fertility or chalky.
Sow outdoors, March-May or August-October, where they are to flower, 0.5cm (¼”) deep, directly into finely-prepared, well-drained soil, which has already been watered. Seedlings usually appear in 14-28 days. Thin seedlings to 20cm (8″) apart. Water well until plants are established. For a continuous display, make sowings at two to three-week intervals. Sowings made in curves, rather than straight lines, often create a more pleasing effect. Flowers: June-September. Late summer and autumn sowings will flower the following year, often earlier than spring sowings.
Tip: For a longer lasting display, make sowings at three-weekly intervals. Late summer and autumn sowings will flower the following year. Remove dead heads to prolong the flowering season.