CENTAUREA

FAMILY: Asteraceae

TYPE
  • Annuals
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

Annual forms of Centaurea are grown mainly for cut flowers; perennial kinds are valued principally for their soft, silvery foliage. All are relatively easy to grow. For best performance, add lime to acid soils. In most cases, plan to sow seeds of annuals or set out plants of perennial kinds in spring (or in fall, in mild-winter areas).

basket flower

DUSTY MILLER

centaurea americana

  • Annual.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11.
  • Native to central and southwestern U.S. Grows to 56 feet high, 3 feet wide, with rather rough, oval leaves to 4 inches long.
  • Blooms in summer; flower heads to 4 inches wide are rose-pink, paler toward center.
  • Good in arrangements, fresh or dried.

bachelor's button, cornflower

centaurea cineraria(Centaurea gymnocarpa)

  • Perennial in Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11; annual anywhere.
  • (This common name applies to many plants with whitish to silvery white foliage.) From Italy.
  • Compact plant grows to 1 feet wide, 1 feet or taller.
  • Velvety white, 3- to 6 inches leaves, mostly in basal clump, are strap shaped, with broad, roundish lobes.
  • Solitary 1 inches flower heads (purple, occasionally yellow) in summer.
  • Trim back after flowering.
  • Attracts bees.
  • Not browsed by deer.

centaurea cyanus

  • Annual.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11.
  • Native to northern temperate regions.
  • Grows 1212 feet tall and less than a foot wide; will send out branches if given sufficient space.
  • Narrow, gray-green leaves are 23 inches long; spring to midsummer flowers are 1112 inches wide, in blue, pink, rose, wine-red, white.
  • Blue forms are traditional favorites for boutonnieres.
  • Bushy, compact 'Jubilee Gem' reaches just 1 feet high, has deep blue blooms; Polka Dot strain has all the typical cornflower colors on 16 inches plants.
  • Black Ball has dark crimson double flowers on 1- to 2 feet stems.
  • Sow seed in late summer or fall.

persian cornflower

centaurea dealbata

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to the Caucasus.
  • Forms an upright, bushy clump 23 feet tall and about as wide.
  • Deeply cut leaves to 8 inches long are deep green above, silvery beneath.
  • In midsummer, leafy stems bear thistlelike pink blossoms to 112 inches across; they make long-lasting cut flowers.
  • May require staking, especially if grown in rich soil.
  • Steenbergii is a compact selection just 12 feet tall, with 2 inches blooms in rich carmine-pink.

globe centaurea

centaurea hypoleuca 'John Coutts

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Variety of a species from Asia Minor.
  • Looks something like Centaurea montana but has more deeply lobed leaves and deep rose flower heads.
  • Sometimes offered as a selection of Centaurea dealbata.

centaurea macrocephala

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From the Caucasus.
  • Leafy plant with coarse leaves 68 inches long; reaches 34 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with 2 inches clusters of yellow summer flowers tightly enclosed at the base by overlapping papery, shiny brown bracts.
  • Flower heads resemble thistles.
  • Use in fresh or dried arrangements.

mountain bluet

centaurea montana

  • Perennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to the mountains of central Europe.
  • Forms clumps to 112 feet tall and wide, with grayish green, broadly lance-shaped, 5- to 7 inches-long leaves.
  • Flowers resembling ragged, 3 inches blue cornflowers top the stems in late spring to midsummer.
  • Divide every other year.
  • This is a cool-season plant and is less vigorous in warmer climates.
  • Regular water.
  • Alba has white blooms.
  • Amethyst Dream has deep purple flowers.
  • The two-toned 'Amethyst in Snow' sports white blooms with a deep purple center.
  • Black Spider has purplish-black flowers, with the outermost petals elongated and incurving.

sweet sultan

centaurea moschata

  • Annual.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11.
  • From Asia Minor.
  • Erect plant, branching at base; grows to 2 feet tall, 10 inches wide.
  • Imperialis strain reaches 3 feet high.
  • Deeply toothed green leaves to 4 inches long.
  • Thistlelike, 2 inches flower heads with a musky fragrance bloom from spring to fallmostly in shades of lilac through rose, but sometimes in white or yellow.
  • Splendid cut flower.
  • Sow seed directly on soil in spring or set out as transplants.
  • Needs lots of heat.

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