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January 2011
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Bachelor button – “Dwarf Blue” (an annual)

The Bachelor button Dwarf Blue is an annual which is known as Centaurea cyanus in Latin and also known as cornflower. It can grow up to a height of 12-24 inches and bears blue colored flowers. The plant grows grains same as corn and hence the name. They are natives of Europe. They were brought as they were thought to cure eye ailments. The leaves of the plant when used as a decoction acts like an eye lotion. Earlier bachelors sported this flower when they went courting and hence the name Bachelor’s button.
The Bachelor Button needs full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It grows well in zones 7-10. The flowers bloom from spring to summer. Blue Dwarf produces double flowers that are 2 inches. The plant is multi stemmed in the upper half and bears many flowers. This plant can self sow year after year. It makes a good border plant, cottage gardens, meadow gardens, flowerbeds and used as a cut flower and as a dried flower. This plant attracts bees, birds and butterflies.

Growing conditions of Dwarf Blue

• The Bachelor Button needs full sun to partial shade.
• It needs well-drained soil.
• It grows well in zones 7-10.
• Sow the seeds inside one month before planting outside.
• Sow the seeds in spring for early spring blooms six weeks after the last frost.
• Soak the seeds for quick germination.
• The seed has to be sown 1/8 inches deep.
• The seeds have to space at distance about 6-12 inches apart.
• Add organic material to the soil for enhancing growth.
• It will take 7-25 days to germinate and seedlings to appear.
• Around May the seedlings might appear.
• Once seedlings appear transplant them outdoors.
• Sow two to three times the seeds in intervals to ensure flowers all through.
• These plants prefer alkaline soil.
• Thin the plants from 6-12 inches apart as an annual.
• Thin the plant from 2-3 feet apart as a perennial.

Care for Dwarf Blue

• Add ½ teaspoon of fertilizer during the growth season.
• This plant is usually attacked by pests called aphids.
• Aphids are easy to remove by simply washing the plants off with a strong spray of water using a garden hose.
• The two fungal diseases that cause problem in this plant is rust and powdery mildew.
• By proper spacing of the plant, this disease can be avoided as this will provide proper air circulation.
• Do not wet the leaves and remove the infected leaves of the plant.
• Spray a sulphur or soap fungicide to control rust.

Images of the plant.

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