It's the summer of cornflowers

We’ve got the perfect addition to your summer garden – cornflowers! Coming in deep blues and shades of pink, maroon and white, these ruffled flowers make a lovely addition to a border or garden path.

With some tips from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, you’ll be able to get growing in no time. Need some more inspiration? If you visited BBC Gardeners’ World Live, you would have seen Paul Stone’s headline A Garden Fit for a King, which featured an array of beautiful cornflowers. Scroll below to see the gallery.

What’s more, if you’re looking for even more garden inspiration for the season ahead, why not make a date for the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair at Audley End House & Gardens from 1-3 September.

Growing and caring for cornflowers

Grow cornflowers in sun and well-drained soil, sowing seed directly into weed-free ground or into pots, in spring. Thin out the resulting seedlings. After that, little care is needed apart from deadheading to encourage more blooms.

Grow cornflowers as a gap-filler in any bare spots in borders, as part of a seed mix to create an annual flowering meadow, or in pots. Well-drained soil is best, and sun for at least half the day. Cornflowers do best in soil with low fertility so there’s no need to add fertilizer or organic matter.

Cornflowers in pots need a general-purpose , peat-free potting compost mixed with a third by volume of coarse grit. Shorter-growing varieties are best for pots as taller ones tend to flop without support. Be aware that cornflowers bloom for around 10-12 weeks, which isn’t as long as many summer-flowering bedding plants.

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Ideally, sow seeds directly where plants are to flower. Otherwise sow in seed trays and harden them off before planting out in spring, spaced 15cm apart.

Remove faded flower heads to encourage more blooms to form. Once flowering is over, you can pull up and compost the plants, or leave them to self seed and provide food for birds such as goldfinches.


Cornflowers usually self-seed readily, but if you want to save the seed, collect it from the faded flowers. Store the seed in an envelope and sow from early spring to early summer, 0.5-1cm deep, either in drills, or simply by scattering the seed and lightly raking to cover with soil. Thin the resulting seedlings to 10-15cm apart. Making several sowings throughout spring will ensure a succession of flowers through summer.

If ground or weather conditions do not permit outdoor sowing, an alternative is to sow in modular trays or small pots under cover in an unheated greenhouse or polythene tunnel.


Find garden inspiration for the season ahead at the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair at Audley End House & Gardens from 1-3 September.

New year, new garden, new trends!

We’re through the garden gate into 2023, with a host of gardening trends blooming throughout the country. From house plants reaching dizzying heights of popularity, to the colour of the year ‘Viva Magenta’, read on for our full list of trends.

To get up close and personal with fresh garden inspiration, new plants, the latest gardening kit and more, join us in 2023.

Colour of the Year 2023

Hand-picked by Pantone, the colour of the year has been named as ‘Viva Magenta. 

Pantone describe the colour as ‘brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.’

Discover a world of colour and scent in the stunning Floral Marquee,  bursting with award-winning nurseries and display.

Sustainable gardening

Whilst your garden might seem to already be very green, it can always be greener!

Discover ways you can make gardening more sustainable, like upcycling common items to make stylish features. What was a pallet, hessian bags, bits of pipe, and tin cans, could become a planter, grow bags, water features, and wildlife habitats.

Be inspired by the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editorial team as they’re joined by experts to give tips and advice.

Grow your own food

Looking to go from soil to supper this year? Get brilliant advice from the National Allotment Society at the event.

Peat-free gardening

Learn about the latest peat-free compost from exhibitors who can offer face-to-face advice.

Indoor gardening

Foliage doesn’t just belong outside – bring nature indoors and be inspired by the Houseplant Hub.

Mindful gardening

Beautiful Borders returns with this year’s theme ‘My Garden Escape’ to give you space savvy ideas.

Gardening on a budget

Discover different ways you can let your garden bloom under a tighter budget, with advice from expert gardeners.

Fermented foods

Visit the BBC Good Food Summer Show (with free entry with your ticket!) and discover the latest foodie trends.

Feeling inspired? Find out what else is happening at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this June!