Cornflower Plants In Containers: Can You Grow Bachelor’s Buttons In A Pot

Cornflowers in a pot on a bright blue table outdoors
(Image credit: Vladimir Lis)

There are both annual and perennial varieties of bachelor’s buttons, or Centaurea cyanus. The annual forms reseed themselves and the perennial types spread through stolons. Both make excellent cut flowers and specimens in a wildflower garden. Can you grow bachelor's buttons in a pot? Growing bachelor's buttons in containers provides that true blue color to offset and enhance other hues of foliage and flowers. All you really need is a color scheme, good soil, the correct container, and a proper location.

Can You Grow Bachelor's Buttons in a Pot?

Bachelor's buttons, also known as cornflowers, have an unruly appeal which makes them natural for the wildflower garden. However, they can show a little restraint and cornflower plants in containers will enhance any container display. Sowing the seeds indoors six weeks before you want to plant them out will provide you with large enough plants to work into your container color displays.

Seeds sown indoors will need to be thinned as soon as the plants get their first true leaves. Leave at least 2 inches (5 cm.) between plants. When seedlings are large enough, harden them off outside, gradually. Directly after transplant, move the container to a medium light situation so as not to shock the plants. Over the next few days, gradually increase the light exposure. Then they will be ready to join a color display in a container.

Use well-draining soil and a container with several drainage holes. You may even use a soilless mix. Cornflower plants in containers prefer soil on the dry side, so the potting mix should be one that will not retain too much moisture.

Plant at the same level at which they were growing and water the medium well. Mix other annuals in with colors that will offset the brilliant blue and add some trailing plants at the edge for an elegant waterfall effect.

Lighting and exposure are important to ensure plenty of blooms. Growing bachelor's buttons in containers successfully starts with the type of soil and good drainage but rely upon good sunlight exposure. Choose a location with full sun for best growth, although they can tolerate partial sun. Lower light situations will result in fewer flowers and leggy plants.

As the young plants mature, it is a good idea to pinch them back to force denser bachelor's buttons and more buds.

Container Care for Bachelor's Button Plants

Very little special container care for bachelor's buttons is necessary. One of the biggest tips for growing bachelor's buttons in containers is to keep the soil a little on the dry side. Water when the top inch (2.5 cm.) of soil is dry to the touch. Give the plants a bit more water in high heat conditions.

Fertilize container plants with water-soluble plant food once per month.

Bachelor's buttons should be deadheaded for the best appearance.

Few pests bother the plants and disease is usually confined to fungal issues which are easy to prevent by monitoring water usage.

When growing bachelor's buttons in containers, be prepared for a short but glorious season. These wildflowers are mostly present in spring and early summer with the exception of the perennial forms. Plant now and enjoy a burst of sky-blue color for a few months.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.