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15 Different Types of Bachelor Button Flowers

Blue bachelor's button cornflowers

Known as Bachelor button or cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), this true-blue flower provides a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance decoration for your landscape. It comes in a variety of heights and colors although its natural blue-purple hue is the most famous.

Butterflies adore these Bachelor button flowers and flock to them. You can easily create beds of these flowers or use them in window boxes or containers. Their lengthy blooming period makes them an ideal flower for late spring through summer.

Native to Europe, you can grow them nearly anywhere, but if your area does not already have loamy soil ripe with the organic matter you will need to add compost, manure, and peat moss. The various heights and colors stem from gardeners and growers creating variants.

Every variation grows from this initial Centaurea cyanus. While they look beautiful in the yard, they also work well as cut stems. You will see this flower growing throughout Australia and North American, too. Agricultural intensification caused the species to reach endangered status in Europe, but it thrives elsewhere.

Related: Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet | Most Popular Flowers

Variants of the Bachelor Button

The diverse Bachelor button offers 10 varieties or variants. Each is a hybrid of the original wildflower which only grows in blue. Each grows quickly and blooms fruitfully. These variants all feature double daisy-like blossoms, a lanceolate leaf, and branching stems except the Imperials which feature fringed flowers. All these varieties are annuals, meaning they usually flower and die in one year.

Gardeners enjoy the butterflies and beneficial insects it attracts and its natural deer resistance. Bring out your inner romantic by planting Cornflower seeds in any of the colors that Eden Brothers offer — blue, red, pink, white, and one we call “Almost Black”.

These varieties include:

  • Cornflower Dwarf: blue, white, pink, purple flowers that grow to 12 inches in height,
  • Bachelor button Tall: blue, white, pink, purple flowers that grow to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower Fantastic: bi-colored, blue and white flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Bachelor button Blue: blue flowers that grow to 12 to 24 inches in height,
  • Bachelor button Tall Blue: blue flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Early Victory: blue flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height and bloom early in spring,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Almost Black: deep maroon-purple flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Mauve: purple flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Tall White: white flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Tall Pink: pink flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Tall Red: red flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Frosty: bicolor flowers in red, pink, and blue with petal tipped in white that grow to 30 inches in height,
  • Cornflower/Bachelor button Imperials (Centaurea moschatel): white, pink, purple, yellow fringed flowers that grow to 30 to 36 inches in height,
  • Cornflower Jubilee Gem: blue flowers that grow to 24 inches in height.

Bachelor Button Blue Boy (Centaurea Cyanus)

Bachelor button blue boy flowers in a field.

Annual or perennial: Annual

Sun/shade needs: Full sun or partial shade

Water needs: Light watering except in moderate to heavy drought

USDA Hardiness zones: USDA zones 2 through 10

Height: 12 to 36 inches

The Bachelor button goes by many names. In its natural color, it gained the nicknames cornflower and blue boy. These low-maintenance flowers reseed themselves and reappear the following year making it an annual. This original variety grows in maturity to between 20 inches to 24 inches. They do not transplant well, but they will spring up nicely in containers.

A seed packet usually contains about 200 seeds, and you should use every one of them. These fragrant and colorful blooms liven any yard. They can be invasive though, so be sure you love them before you plant them.

This tall stemmed original variety produces flowers about one inch in diameter. Tall hybrids also exist in white, pink, and maroon.

The cornflower works well in garden beds of wildflowers or daisies. Plant them along the sides of the walkway, driveways, sidewalks, roadsides, and fences, too.

Known as a favorite cutting flower, many florists feature it in dried flower arrangements and live bouquets. It is a favorite in boutonnieres, baby birth arrangements, and bridal bouquets.

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 maroon that appears almost black. While these are annuals, if you reseed while planting every few weeks, you can coax a full season out of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Bachelor button bloom?

You will have blossoms from this flower from late spring to late summer. The blooms typically appear in June and dissipate in August.

Can you grow Bachelor buttons from seed?

Yes! You can grow Bachelor buttons straight from seed in your garden. You needn’t use starter pots, but you do need to wait until the frost passes.

How much sun do these cornflowers need?

Your cornflowers love the sun, hence their drought-hearty nature. You should grow these jewel-toned flowers in full sun. They can also handle partial shade.

What soil do Bachelor buttons enjoy?

These flowers adore well-draining soil. Cultivate the soil a few inches deep — three or four. The more bugs and worms you see, the better. You should still add a bit of compost to it, some peat moss, a bit of manure, and organic fertilizer.

Mix these items in a large bucket. While wearing gloves, stir the mixture with your gloved hands to intersperse all the nutrients. Once it is well mixed, you can add it to your cultivated soil. You are then ready to plant your seeds.

What are the planting specifications for cornflowers?  

You should plant your seeds or seedlings about two to four inches apart. Cover the seeds with about ¼ to ½ inch of soil. Thoroughly moisten the soil, so the seeds get enough water. This takes a deft hand. You also cannot overwater. If the soil becomes soggy, the seeds will dislike it. In ideal conditions, the seeds germinate in seven to 15 days.

Water the seeds until the seedlings sprout and develop true leaves. This establishes their drought tolerance. You will thin them to approximately 18 inches apart. During the growing season, you will need to feed your Bachelor buttons fertilizer. Use a high-quality, all-purpose fertilizer on a monthly basis.

How do you grow perennial bachelor buttons?

You cannot get a perennial out of an annual, but they will come back one year. You can easily reseed the beds for quick, continued blooms.

What is the difference between a cornflower and a bachelor’s button?

There is no difference between the two flowers. They are two names for the same flower, called a blue boy.

How did the flowers get their nicknames?

The Bachelor button name came about since the flower initially signified a man who had fallen in love. The bachelor would wear a Centaurea cyanus in his lapel to signal his love and let others know that he was no longer available.

If the flower quickly faded in color, it indicated he did not love his sweetheart. It earned the cornflower moniker because it often grows wild as a weed in crop fields. The flower became so popular that it has a Crayola crayon named after it — “Light Cornflower Blue”.

How deep do you plant bachelor buttons?

Cultivate your soil to three to four inches. Cover these seeds nicely. They like to germinate in the dark.

Can you eat cornflowers?

Not exactly. Don’t confuse them with cornflakes. Some food companies use this flower as a tea ingredient. The Twinings company uses this flower in its “Lady Grey” tea.

What historical significance do these Bachelor buttons have?

Some European political parties use this flower as a symbol of social reform. They include Sweden, Estonia, and Finland, who have used it since the early 1900s.

If you could replace all lawn grass, what would you replace it?

Use a creeping ivy or clover for ground cover. Intersperse dwarf cornflower in some areas to create a festive, colorful yard.

Are bachelor button flowers poisonous?

No. Some varieties are edibles. Many varieties serve as an ingredient in tea.

Do bees like Bachelor buttons?

Bees love Bachelor buttons and so do butterflies. You will draw many beneficial insects by planting these colorful blooms.

Are bachelor buttons deer resistant?

Yes, they are. You do not have to worry about Bambi eating your flowers.

Why are your bachelor buttons wilting?

Water established bachelor button plants only if leaves or blooms appear wilted. Scatter seeds in plantings a few weeks apart, as the cornflower is a fast-growing plant that blooms heavily from early spring until the first frost. Successive plantings give a full season of flowers.

How do you care for Bachelor Button?

Use organic mulch to protect Bachelor button seedlings until they reach a height of at least four inches. Your choices of organic mulch include dried grass clippings, peat moss, or wood chips. In late spring and early summer, fertilize them with a weakened liquid fertilizer. Mix one part fertilizer with one part water.

Spray this onto the leaves or the soil. Since these flowers grow quite tall, you may need to stake them. The tallest varieties grow to three feet in height, so when it sways side-to-side, stake it as you would a tomato plant, so it will grow sturdy and straight. You can do this naturally in the garden by planting them with the perennial coneflowers which behave like natural support for the Bachelor button stems.

This hardy little flower experiences no serious diseases or insect issues. If conditions become wet and humid, the moisture can attract aphids and mealybugs, but you can handle them as you would for the rest of your garden.

How often do you water Bachelor buttons?

This flower is drought-resistant, but you still need to water it. An occasional watering makes this flower happy. During a hot summer, you may need to water it a little more often.

What soil pH do cornflowers like?

These flowers like slightly alkaline soil. They favor a soil pH of 7.2 to 7.8.

Where can you purchase seedlings or full-grown plants?

You can purchase these plants from a nursery if you want full-grown plants. Some variants do not transplant well. You can try, but they prefer to remain in their original soil. You might successfully transplant from one pot to another of the same size when keeping all the soil intact.

Do you deadhead bachelor buttons?

Yes! When you deadhead a Bachelor button, it extends their life and increases their number of blooms. If cut them before they wilt, you can dry the Bachelor’s button flowers, and they will retain their bright colors.

What should you do with cornflowers after the first frost?

These lovely flowers abhor cold, so they die at the first frost. You need to pull up the dead plants and place them in your compost heap. They otherwise provide a breeding ground for fungi and a nesting area for pests. You can also remove the plants once their blooms have ended. This provides you room for some late-season plants.

How can you use Bachelor buttons in the landscape?

The cornflower, blue boy or Bachelor button flowers provide many uses in landscaping and home décor. Try these ideas for these colorful, low-maintenance flowers.

  • Plant an ornamental vegetable garden and use the Bachelor’s buttons as an attraction for bees and other pollinating insects. The cornflowers’ nectar content attracts many beneficial insects, and you benefit from better yields of squash and tomatoes.
  • Use the Bachelor’s buttons’ edible flowers as a salad ingredient. They taste a bit like cucumber. You can also use homemade teas.
  • Add them to a wildflower garden. Avoid using pesticides since these substances harm the attractiveness of the flower to bees and beneficial insects.
  • Cut the flowers for use in arrangements throughout your home. You can also dry them for use in artwork, wreaths, craft projects, scrapbooking, etc.
  • Cut them as lapel flowers for gentlemen or to make a corsage for a woman. These flowers look gorgeous with formal wear and often appear in wedding bouquets.


The Spruce: How to Grow Bachelor’s Button

Flowers-Cs: Bachelor’s button