Cornflower - Black Ball
This cornflower features pincushion flowers in a rich milk-chocolate shade, that look almost black on cloudy days. Drifts of annual cornflower 'Black Ball' add a touch of drama to summer borders and wildlife gardens where they will attract bees and butterflies to their pretty blooms. This tall variety of Centaurea makes an excellent cut flower too. Height: 75cm. Spread: 30cm.
Culinary note: Add petals to salads as a colourful garnish or sprinkle over omelettes or even pasta.
Sow cornflower seeds outdoors where they are to grow from March to April. Choose a position in full sun on well-drained soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 3mm in drills spaced 30cm apart. Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. Germination usually takes 14-21days. When cornflower seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 15cm apart. Alternatively, grow cornflowers indoors from August to September for early summer flowering next year. Sow cornflowers on the surface of a good quality seed compost at a temperature of 18-23C and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to move outdoors. Overwinter cornflowers plants in cool, light, frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring, or growing on as greenhouse pot plants.