The magic of cornflowers

Our most successful flower this year by far was Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus). Cornflower germinated easily and kept flowering throughout summer despite irregular deadheading.  The seed mix we sowed this year was ‘Polka Dot Mix’ which gave cornflowers of purple, pink and blue hues.

.cornflower

Although the main reason for sowing cornflowers was to attract pollinators, they have served many purposes this year including making small posies to bring home, drying for winter colour as dried flowers and of course, saving seeds to sow for next year.

To save your own cornflower seeds, cut off a selection of flower heads once they have turned brown.

Cornflowers and seedheads

Leave in a paper envelope to dry for a few weeks then gently crush between your fingers.

Cornflower seed heads in envelope

Cornflower seed heads harvested from plant

Dried cornflower seeds

Dried cornflower seeds

Below is a close-up of the seed heads with the seeds visible.

Cornflower seeds in seedheads

Seeds ready for saving

To separate the seeds from the remainder of the flower head (the chaff), place the contents of the envelope in your palm and gently blow across the top of your palm.

Cornflower seeds and chaff

Cornflower seeds and chaff before separating

The seeds should stay in your hand.

Cornflower seeds

Your cornflower seeds are ready to sow

Save your seeds in a paper packet or envelope in a cool, dry place until you are ready to sow.

Cornflowers are a fantastic way of showing life cycles of plants in action to children, especially if the children have been able to take part in all the stages of the life cycle, from sowing, to seed saving and then sowing again.

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