Flower gardeners can’t go wrong with the old-fashioned annual cornflower (Centaurea cyranus). This plant's double 1 1/2-inch blooms resemble miniature carnations and are easy to grow. Originally a native European and Asian pasture flower, cornflower was largely eradicated in its natural habitat by the use of modern herbicides. It can reseed rampantly if not kept in check. Nevertheless, every gardener should have at least one "can’t-fail plant" in their garden, and the lightly fragrant cornflower is perfect for beginners.
Cornflower's delicate papery discs are surrounded by bracts that flower atop slim stems of narrow gray-green leaves. Mature plants will reach a height of up to 48 inches, and a spread of 12 inches wide in all growing zones. Dense bright blue blooms last from spring through midsummer. This species also boasts several cultivars offering pink, white, and crimson flowers.
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