About Basketflower: This American relative of bachelor’s button or cornflower grows wild in the south-central region of the United States as well as in Mexico. Its common name is derived from the basket-like base of each blossom that holds the delicate petals. The genus name Centaurea comes from Greek mythology, as according to legend, one of the centaurs used this flower for healing purposes after battle.
Basketflower Germination: Direct sow in late fall or early spring, planting the seeds thinly and ½” deep. In the spring, keep the soil moist after sowing; germination should occur within 7-10 days. To start indoors, plant three or four seeds ½” below the surface in individual peat pots. Keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination; thin to the strongest seedlings. Transplant the seedlings before they reach a height of 5”, placing them 12-15” apart.
Growing Basketflower Seeds: Water seedlings occasionally until they become established. Mature plants prefer dry soil and handle drought well. Prune off developing tips to force the plant to produce more branches and fuller growth, as well as more flowers. This plant attracts butterflies and bees, in addition to providing nutritious seed for birds.
Harvesting Basketflower: Basketflowers make excellent cut flowers, and have a sweet honey-like fragrance. They usually have a vase life of 4-5 days. When dried, the flowers retain their color and make a good addition to dried flower arrangements or potpourri. To dry the flowers, choose blossoms that have just begun blooming; pick them as soon as the dew has dried. Bundle the stems and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated, dark place for about 2 weeks.
Saving Basketflower Seeds: After the flower fades, the tiny oblong seeds will form. As soon as the seed can easily be removed, it is mature. Remove the dried seed heads and rub them lightly to separate the seed from the husk. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Basketflower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: American Star Thistle, American Napweed, Thornless Thistle, Sweet Sultan, Shaving Brush, American Basket-Flower, Powderpuff Thistle, Cardo del Valle Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Early Summer Height: 36-60 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3a-9 Seeds Per Oz: 29,937 Produces narrow, upward pointed leaves and 4-5” lavender or pink fluffy flowers with white centers.