How to grow Centaurea (sen-taw-re-a)
From the classical myths of Greece; the plant is said to have healed a wound in the foot of Chiron, one of the Centaurs (Compositae). A genus of annual and perennial plants with flowers not unlike those of a thistle in structure. The annuals (cornflowers and sweet sultana) are good for cutting; some species of perennials are used as foliage plants for the silvery-white leaves.
Perennial species cultivated C. argentea, semi-erect, fernlike silvery leaves, pale yellow flowers, half-hardy. C. dealbata, 3 feet, lobed leaves, silvery white beneath, pinkish-purple flowers, summer; var. steenbergii, flowers rosy-crimson. C. glastifolia, 5 feet, upright branching stems, pale yellow flowers, June and July. C. gymnocarpa, 11 feet, sub shrub, much lobed white leaves, half-hardy. C. jacea, 3-31 feet, narrow leaves, rosy-purple flowers, summer. C. macrocephala, 2-3 feet, large yellow flowers, June to August, a good border plant. C. maculosa, 21 feet, mauve flowers, summer. C. montana, 2 feet, deep blue flowers, April to June, easy to grow, one of the most popular; vars. alba, white; roses, pink; rubra, rosy-red. C. pulcherrima, 21 feet, narrow leaves, grey beneath, flowers bright rose pink, May to July. C. ruthenica, 4 feet, finely cut leaves, graceful plant, yellow flowers on long stems, summer. C. rutifolia, 3 feet, silver foliage, yellow flowers, summer. C. simplicicaulis, 1 foot.
Cultivation Plant in November or March in fairly light soil including chalky soils Propagation is by division in spring.