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Advice For Growing Cornflowers

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Question:

Can anyone give me tips on how to grow cornflowers? I try these every year, following the instructions on the seed packet, but if I'm lucky I get a plant that's about an inch tall. It drives me crazy because I see cornflowers growing wild and lush in ditches, beside railroad tracks, etc. What am I doing wrong? (By the way, this area is always listed as 7a but it never gets that cold. Something to do with the Chesapeake Bay. The climate here is truly 9a.)

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Peanut from VA

Answer:

Peanut,

Are you fertilizing them? Stunted growth can indicate poor soil fertility. Nursery flats are too small to contain a large enough volume of soil to hold adequate nutrients. It's best to fertilize in low doses often.

Here are my tips for starting Cornflower seeds indoors. See how they compare to what you have been doing.

Start seeds about 6 to 8 weeks before you plan to transplant them outdoors. Some varieties need at least 14 hours of light a day to flower, so start them indoors earlier if you want earlier blooms.

Use a new, sterilized soil-less mix to start seeds. Centaureas need darkness to germinate, so cover seeds with _ inch layer of mix.

Keep the growing medium moist (not wet) and temperatures between 60ºF -70ºF. Cover the nursery flats or pots with plastic until the seedlings emerge to maintain humidity.

The National Garden Bureau recommends cutting the strongest plants down to soil level once the seedlings develop their first set of true leaves (usually the second set to emerge). I've never done this, but you might try it with a few and see what happens.

Transplant cornflowers outdoor before they grow taller then 4 inches.

Good luck!

Ellen

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Red (Guest Post)03/21/2008

Cornflowers do usually grow like weeds with no help. Maybe you are trying to care for them too much as you would other garden flowers.

By Laura Justice [2]03/19/2008

I'm guessing you are getting the seeds too deep-- and I'm truly guessing.
I've seen corn flowers growing everywhere-- in the north. I've brought seeds home to Oklahoma-- zone 7 and nothing-- last year I finally had some success-- and hoping they reseeded--
Last year-- part of a wildflower mix-- dragged a rake thru the ground and sprinkled the seeds-- slapped the earth over the seeds and then planted onion sets next over-- The garden patch had been enriched with unfinished compost including cow patties-- and that might have been the difference.... wasn't here all summer so am not sure. Looking forward to them reseeding tho.
good luck

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