Some plants are extremely fussy and hard to grow, while others have very strict requirements about where they will grow. When you start looking into how to grow cornflower, however, you will notice that this little plant is far less fussy than some of its contemporaries. Read on for everything you need to know!
What You'll Learn Today
How To Grow Cornflower
As you might expect, this native wildflower is pretty easy to grow – as long as you provide the conditions it likes the best.
- Prepare the bed first, by pulling weeds, removing large stones and raking the soil so it is fine and smooth.
- Make some drills, about 12 mm deep, and space the rows about 30cm apart to allow the plants enough space.
- Water the soil well before you plant, to ensure it is moist enough for the seeds to start to germinate.
- Sprinkle the seeds directly into the drills, and lightly cover them with soil. You can thin out the seedlings as they sprout if the plants are too crowded.
- Plant your seeds between March and May, and you should expect to see vigorous growth and flowers from June to September.
- Ensure that you have planted them in a spot that is in full sun, and that the soil is well draining, for the best results.
- Water them carefully when they first start to sprout – they will need to drink, but no plant likes to be too waterlogged.
- You can sow a few times throughout the year; in fact, if you live in a place with mild winters you can even sow cornflowers in the autumn!
Here’s a step by step video if you want to see how to grow cornflower, as well as read about it:
Do Cornflowers Come Back Every Year?
As an annual plant, your cornflowers will not pop up year after year unless you make repeated sowings of them every year.
They are, however, self seeding, so if your cornflower is in the right spot in your garden, it can continue to grow new plants for you year after year.
This growing action may make it seem as though your cornflower is a perennial, because it appears to just keep coming back!
Deadheading the plant as the flowers die off will encourage a second flush of flowers, so this is well worth doing.
If you do not want any more cornflowers growing, then removing the spent flowers is essential so that they do not drop their seeds.
Can Cornflowers Be Grown In Pots?
Some plants are much happier in the ground than in the confines of a pot – happily, cornflower is not too fussy!
They will happily grow in the ground, but are equally happy in pots or containers too if you don’t have enough space to plant them out.
The most important thing to remember is the cornflower’s favorite conditions and soil type – as long as you’ve nailed this, your flowers will be fine!
Although we often use compost to grow things in pots, your cornflowers will not thank you for this. THey grow their best in poor soil.
Another thing to consider is the position of your cornflower pots – they like to be kept on the sunny side in order to thrive.
They will need some space, of course – each plant should be no closer than 8 inches to all its neighbors, on all sides.
What Month Do You Plant Cornflowers?
Like most plants, cornflowers are at their most rampant in the spring and summer. You should plant them in the spring, ready for their full display in summer!
It is recommended that you plant your cornflower seeds between March and May, and you can expect a flower display between June and September.
You can also do concurrent sowings – plant one batch, leave it a week, then plant another, and so on – so that you will get continuous flowers.
Do Slugs Eat Cornflowers?
Slugs are the bane of gardeners’ lives. Whether you are growing flowers or veg, these slimy little pests can decimate our precious plants overnight!
If you are growing a lovely crop of cornflowers, thinking that because they are native wildflowers they are immune to slugs, think again.
Although their favorite meals are decaying organic material, and plants that are on the turn, they really are not that fussy!
Seedlings are often a favorite of slugs – they love to munch through the tender new growth – but they will eat just about anything.
If you want to protect your pretty cornflowers from slugs then you have a few options for getting rid of the slimy critters:
- Hand picking. Although it’s a pain, going out and physically removing slugs from your plants is a great way to get rid of them.
- Slug traps. Saucers of beer or yeast can be very attractive to slugs; they will fall in and drown and can then be disposed of.
- Copper tape. Slugs really hate the feel of copper on their slime! This is an effective method, as long as you don’t leave any gaps.
- Egg shells. Grinding up your old egg shells and sprinkling them around your plants makes an unwelcome environment for a slug’s soft underbelly.
- Coffee grounds. You can use your coffee grounds to deter slugs and snails – this is not the most effective method, but it will help – and will nourish your plants too!
- Slug pellets. We do not advocate using chemicals to kill off wildlife, but if you are tearing your hair out then this may be a solution. You can get some pet and child friendly slug pellets these days, so make sure you opt for this type.
This detailed article tells you everything you need to know about our slimy friends – plus some good ideas on how to get rid of them.
Cornflower Key Facts
|Moist, well draining soil
|Can survive in any weather from light frost to hot summer’s day
|Equivalent to 1 inch of water per week, especially in hot dry conditions
|Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer fortnightly during the main growing season
|June to September
|Not very susceptible to pests. Occasional aphids
|Between 90cm and 1.5m (35in and 60in)
As you can see, your favorite little blue flower can be grown quite happily in your garden as well as in its native wild habitat.
Have a go at growing this easygoing plant, and you will soon understand why it is so loved and treasured – not just by the bees and butterflies!