Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower) is an attractive groundcover and low-growing perennial, reaching 2ft in height. This small shrub is easy to grow and is noted for its clusters of bright flowers from spring to autumn. It features 1 inch wide, white to off-white flowers with dark blue accents at the center. The blooms are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators, making it an ideal choice for a wildlife garden.
When planting Centaurea cyanus, it's important to choose a spot with full sun and moist, well-drained soil. This plant is drought-tolerant and appreciates moderate watering, so it's best to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Centaurea cyanus is hardy in USDA zone 3-8
Cornflower is a plant that was commonly found growing as a weed in fields where grains such as wheat, barley, rye, or oats were grown. However, it is now endangered in its natural habitat due to agricultural intensification and the overuse of herbicides. Despite this, it has been naturalized in many parts of the world, including North America and parts of Australia. It is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, with various cultivars available in pastel colors including pink and purple. In the United States, it is also grown for the cut flower industry, with the most common color being a doubled blue variety. The seeds of this plant germinate quickly after planting.
Cornflower has a few practical uses as well. It is sometimes used as a culinary ornament and is valued for its blue pigment. It can also be found in certain tea blends and herbal teas. In herbalism, a decoction of cornflower is used to treat conjunctivitis and can be used as a wash for tired eyes.
In folklore, cornflowers were worn by young men in love. If the flower wilted too quickly, it was seen as a sign that the man's love was not returned. The blue cornflower has been the national flower of Estonia since 1968 and symbolizes daily bread to Estonians. It is also the symbol of the Finnish and Swedish political parties and has been a symbol of social liberalism in Sweden since the early 20th century. The blue cornflower is also one of the national flowers of Germany.