(Perennial cornflower/Knapweed) These free-flowering, clump-forming plants can be divided into two groups: tall and upright with large, knob-like flowers or short and mounding with flat, wheel-like flowers. In my garden the shorter types form the backbone of the mid-spring border. All have flowers that emerge from a distinctive boss of scaly, papery bracts, and the foliage is also very handsome.
Left to right: Centaurea 'John Coutts', Centaurea 'Jordy', Centaurea montana 'Purple Heart'
Needs Well-drained soil that does not dry out, in sun or partial shade
Great for Front or back of the border
Bees & Butterflies Yes, they are particularly early emerging solitary bees
For Cutting Yes
Care Remove the old stems and leaves to encourage new flowers and discourage the plant from seeding
Great with anything 'cottagey' including Achillea, Campanula and Salvia
Centaurea macrocephala, Centaurea montana, Centaurea montana 'Carnea'