Bachelor Buttons are the most adorable little pinwheels of blue. They are reminiscent of an English country garden, and are a must in our own cut flower garden. These romantic flowers are available in both an annual and perennial form. Learn how to grow Bachelor Buttons, to have them in your own garden to enjoy all summer long.
Although blue is the colour that we have planted the most, annual Bachelor Buttons come in other colours as well.
These flowers are available in shades of pink and lavender, as well as a dark maroon. This year we are planting two darker colours, Boy Black and Black Button, and we are looking forward to see how these colours compare to the blue.
Florist Blue Boy is an intense deep blue, and always adds an extra special touch to the wild flower look that we like in bouquets.
First let’s compare the difference between the annual and perennial forms of Bachelor Buttons.
Is That Bachelor Button Annual Or Perennial?
Both annual and perennial Bachelor Buttons are members of the Genus Centaurea, and each are a different species within that genus.
Perennial Bachelor Buttons are also known as Centaurea Montana. These flowers are often found growing wild in the countryside.
They are the perfect cottage flower with their airy appearance. Just like with annual Bachelor Buttons, these flowers come in different colours as well, although are most commonly seen in a beautiful blue.
Annual Bachelor Buttons is the species known as Centaurea Cyanus.
They are annuals in most areas, however may also be perennials in much warmer zones 8 through 10.
Centaurea Cyanus- Annual Bachelor Buttons
Centaurea Cyanus is a hardy annual in our zone 5b garden that readily reseeds itself if left to go to seed.
In comparison to Centaurea Montana, the flowers are more compact and full. The flowers are also smaller in size at about one to one and a half inches in diameter.
Compare the photo above of Centaurea Cyanus to the one directly below of Centaurea Montana. Can you see the difference in the petal shape and airiness? Montana’s petals are further apart and wispy.
Another difference between the plants is their fragrance. When you smell the flowers of Centaurea Cyanus you will notice that they do not have the same sweet smell that perennial Bachelor Buttons have.
Centaurea Montana- Perennial Bachelor Buttons
Centaurea Montana has a wonderful sweet fragrance which you’ll notice when you sniff the flower up close!
The petals are more wispy and feathery than it’s annual counterpart and it’s easy to differentiate the two just from the appearance of the blooms.
These blooms truly are whimsical and soft in their appearance. We love having this plant in our perennial border.
If you would like to read more about this wonderful plant you can read more in this post:
What’s In A Name-Are Cornflowers And Bachelor Buttons The Same?
Bachelor Buttons are also known as cornflowers. They are one and the same.
The name comes from the history of the flowers reseeding and growing in meadows and cornfields. They were commonly known as cornflowers because of the location in which they grew!
The Bachelor Button flower has also influenced the name of a certain colour of blue, which reflects the flower’s own colouring- “cornflower blue”.
The name “Bachelor Buttons” also has a unique history.
This name evolved as eligible bachelors went courting their true loves, wearing the Bachelor Button flowers on their lapels as boutonnieres. It was said that if the flowers remained fresh and did not wilt, that their love would be reciprocated!
Are Bachelor Buttons Easy To Grow?
Bachelor Buttons are very easy to grow. The seeds can be directly sown straight into the garden, or planted indoors in spring to plant out when the weather warms up.
Bachelor Buttons are easy to germinate and do not require a lot of care. They are a great plant for the beginning gardener.
What Do Bachelor Button Seeds Look Like?
Annual Bachelor Button seeds are approximately 0.5 cm long, are beige in colour, and have small hairlike projections on one end. They resemble tiny paintbrushes.
How To Grow Bachelor Buttons From Seed
Bachelor Buttons can either be:
- directly sown into the garden
- or planted indoors in late winter and transplanted outside in spring.
- These flowers are hardy annuals and in zones 5 and up they can be direct sown in fall. They overwinter well in the garden, and this method of growing will produce large and healthy plants the following spring.
- Bachelor Buttons can also be direct sown in early spring, in any zone. These blooms may not be as large as those sown in the fall initially, however they will catch up and bloom well later on in the summer.
We start our seeds indoors in late winter or early spring, to give them a head start on the growing season.
The seeds are started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost, and the plants are some of the first to be planted out in early spring.
Sowing Seeds Indoors
What you will need:
- good potting medium
- vermiculite (optional)
- a cell tray
- heat mat
- grow lights
- container for bottom watering
The process for planting:
We plant our seeds in cell trays, generally the 128 cells. The plants grow in these trays, until they are planted out into the garden.
Plant The Tray
- Fill the tray with the potting medium. I usually just fill them with dry medium, and bottom water after planting.
- Make a small indentation on the top of each cell. I usually do this with my finger, but you can also use any object, such as an eraser on a pencil.
- Drop the seeds into the small indentations you have just made in each cell. Place one seed into each cell.
- Cover the top of each cell with some vermiculite, and if you do not have this on hand you can just use some soil instead to cover up the seeds.
Label The Tray
- Make sure to label your tray. We just use duct tape and a permanent marker.
- We also always place another label inside a small baggie between the cell tray and the holding tray, as a backup just in case the first label gets washed off.
Water The Tray
- Bottom water, allowing each cell to become moistened. For more information on bottom watering, read the section about Watering Your Seeds Indoors- Tips and Tricks in the post How To Start Flower Seeds Indoors.
Place On A Heat Mat
- Next we place the tray on a heat mat.
- Water the cell tray as needed, and make sure the soil does not dry out during the germination process.
Place Under Grow Lights
- After sixty percent of the seeds have germinated they no longer need to remain on the heat. They are then moved off the heat and placed under grow lights.
- The seedlings will require fourteen to sixteen hours of light a day under the grow lights.
- The plants will remain under the grow lights until they are ready to be hardened off and transplanted outside.
When the seedlings have finished the hardening off process, they will be ready to plant out into the garden!
How Tall Do Bachelor Buttons Grow?
Bachelor buttons grow to be approximately three feet high, depending on the conditions in which they are growing.
When Do Bachelor Buttons Bloom?
Seeds sown directly into the garden in fall will start growing in early spring and may bloom in early summer.
Bloom time is 65 to 75 days from transplant date into the garden.
Our Bachelor Buttons that were started from seed indoors are planted out in mid May and will bloom in mid July.
Transplanting Bachelor Buttons
Bachelor Buttons transplant well from the cell trays into the garden.
A great trick to get the plugs out of the cells without injury to the plants is to use a butter knife! It’s ingenious, and very helpful to guide the plants out.
Where To Grow
Transplant Bachelor Buttons into a sunny location in the garden.
They will grow well in any well drained, medium fertility soil.
We plant into landscape fabric to reduce our weed pressure, with a spacing of 9 inches between plants.
Care Of Bachelor Buttons
Bachelor Buttons require no special care. They are an easy to care for flower.
Water if needed and deadhead spent blooms to ensure longer blooming.
Do Bachelor Buttons Reseed?
Bachelor Buttons do reseed, and we always have volunteer plants of this sweet flower.
If you want to prevent reseeding, deadhead spent blooms before they go to seed.
Do Bees Like Bachelor Buttons?
Pollinators and butterflies love this flower.
Planting Bachelor Buttons is a great way to attract pollinators to your garden!
Are Bachelor Buttons Good Cut flowers?
Bachelor Buttons are wonderful cut flowers. They are used as accent flowers rather than focal flowers, and offer a special punch of blue in just the right places.
How To Cut For The Vase.
- Harvesting Bachelor Buttons is not always straight forward.
- Once you know the process however, it becomes quite easy.
- Harvest when the blooms are 1/4 to 1/2 open for longer vase life.
- Follow the stem with your hand to the base of the plant, and make your cut there. Cut off most side branches on the stem, leaving only a few branches in place.
- This technique will help reduce the extra foliage and therefore reduce the hydration needs of the stem.
- It’s important to condition the flowers and hydrate them before using in bouquets.
I hope you found this post on how to grow Bachelor Buttons helpful. Any comments or questions are always welcome!