This European meadow flower has definitely made itself at home in the UK and can be found now in gardens up and down the country. But once your flowers start to fade and die back what do you do with the plant? Let’s have a look and find out.
What To Do With Cornflowers After Flowering?
Deadheading will also stop the plant from producing seeds which can be very important with cornflowers. These things are prolific self-seeders and if you don’t keep a close eye on them they will soon be dominating your border.
If deadheaded regular cornflowers will keep flowering well into autumn giving you a wonderful display for months.
This advice is true for both annual and perennial cornflowers, although perennial cornflowers can also spread through their roots.
If you want to try and control where your cornflowers pop up then you can harvest the seeds and grow them yourself before planting out.
This will just give you more control over where the plants come up and also the number of plants that come up.
To harvest cornflower seeds just let the seeds start to form on the flower before cutting them off. This sounds more complicated than it is, you essentially just need to wait for the old flower head to go a brown colour.
Then snip it off and store the seeds in a paper envelope in a nice dry spot until you are ready to sow them next year.
Let Them Self Seed
This is what most people do with cornflowers, just let them go to seed and spread themselves around your garden.
This works well in cottage and informal style gardens but obviously doesn’t work as well in planned, formal gardens.
Pull Them Up
Once we are getting towards or into autumn and your cornflowers have finished flowering then you can dig them up and throw them on the compost heap.
This is of course only true for annual cornflowers, of which most grown in the UK are, if you have perennial cornflowers in your garden then different advice applies.
Centaurea Montana (Perennial Cornflower)
Also known as mountain cornflower this is commonly referred to as perennial cornflower. Again this plant needs regular deadheading in order to prolong blooming time.
With perennial cornflowers you can cut the whole plant back to the ground after the first flowering, this can encourage a second flush of flowers and foliage to appear, reinvigorating the plant.
Perennial Cornflowers In Winter
The foliage will die back naturally in winter but you can cut it back yourself if you prefer a tidy garden.
I also like to remove dead foliage on perennial plants and put it on the compost heap as I believe it helps to reduce the chances of disease spreading into the plants.
You can also divide up the roots of cornflowers in autumn after flowering or do it in the following spring.
Dividing the roots of cornflowers is advised every three years or so roughly, this just helps to reinvigorate the plants and will stand them in good stead for the next few years.