The cornflower-blue, fringed blossoms of this perennial attract butterflies like magnets in the garden. Centaura blooms from early to midsummer and usually blooms again in the fall if plants are cut back hard after the first flush. The flowers are old-fashioned favorites in cut flower bouquets. This species is a low, spreading one and it will self-seed prolifically if it is not deadheaded. However, it looks best when planted en mass where the blue flower display has the most visual impact.
This perennial is simple to grow and maintain. It needs full sun and thrives in well-drained, limey soils. It is native to dry sites, making it somewhat drought tolerant. Avoid soil that is soggy in winter, which will almost certainly kill it. If planted in too much shade Centaurea will become leggy and floppy. Growing it in full sun and cutting it back hard after flowering should eliminate the need to stake it. To prevent overcrowding, division should be performed every 2-4 years in the spring.
Coreopsis-Threadleaf (Coreopsis verticillata), Gayfeather (Liatris spicata), Grass-Ornamental (Helictotrichon sempervirens), Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum superbum), Silver Mound Artemesia (Artemisia schmidtiana), Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum), Yarrow (Achillea )
Cut flower or foliage
Early to midsummer/fall
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