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Centaurea montana

Mountain cornflower

Reader rating

From 18 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Flowers, Attractive to wildlife



Skill level


Centaurea montana

Plant details

Centaurea montana is a variable but attractive plant native to the mountain meadows and woodlands of continental Europe. It typically has grey-green, lance-shaped leaves and large, deep blue or violet flowers, borne in early summer. It grows best in a moisture-retentive soil in sun or partial shade.

It bears purple spidery flowerheads with a violet-purple centre. It's perfect for growing in sunny borders and gravel gardens. It's easy-to-grow, bearing clumps of mid-green leaves that perfectly complement its summer flowers.

For best results grow Centaurea montana in a sunny border in moist soil, and remove faded summer flowers to encourage a second flush in autumn.

Family: Compositae

Genus: Centaurea

Species: montana

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Blue

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Attractive to wildlife

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 45cm

Spread: 60cm

Time to divide plants: March to April

Reader reviews


Beautiful flowers and I have had long, repeat showings since it was planted three years ago, in what I consider to be a tough place in the garden, due to competition from other plants and lack of light. There is a lot of leaf for what might be considered rather delicate flowers though.

That said, I find it pretty much indestructible, and I'm ruthless with non-flowering stems.

I've used the flowers indoors this year and they seem quite happy in a vase


I have had large clumps of this Mountain Cornflower for years, and this year for the first time ever, they's succumbed to some sort of sticky blight and look dreadful. Anyone know what might have caused this, or how to treat it organically?


Sorry! Must correct the aberrant grammar in my previous post: 'they's succumbed ...' should of course read '... they've succumbed...'


We have this lovely plant in our garden and I deadhead regularly taking quite a lot of stem at the same time - but I shall certainly be cutting out non-flowering shoots from now on as has been commented on the thread, it does have quite a lot of leaf - but very attractive and the bees just love it.


Wow, I love this flower. I had never seen it until last night! Just reading the other comment re: a vase... That would look unreal on the kitchen table! Thanks heaps... Gav


hi, this plant has been in my garden since i bought the house several years ago and i've only found out what it is, could some one please tell me the best way to divide them as i would like more of these lovely plants .......

*Mrs H*

This plant is so easy to divide. Just lift a clump and you will see that you can easily separate it. The divided plants will re-establish surprisingly quickly.

When the flowers fade, the leaves often succumb to a powdery mildew. I recommend cutting the plants right back. They will flower again later in the summer.

This is a great plant! Highly recommended.

*Mrs H*

I meant to give the plant five stars, but am inept! Fingers crossed it works this time!


My friend grow them on her allotment, not only because they look lovely, which they do, but they also encourage lots of pollinators for other crops. Such a glorious shade of blue.


A useful and lovely plant.


I remember these in the garden when I was a child, so was delighted when a friend gave me a division of hers. They respond very well to Chelsea chopping, producing a second flush of beautiful flowers. Wouldn't be without it!

flowering rose

I have grown this plant for years in my heavey clay soil,it is such a hardy plant and if you dead head it regurlary it flowers for can take cuttings or divide up to make more plants.lovely for a border that needs not to much height.

Roy Hill

Common carder bumbles like it a lot. Black ants also like farming aphids on them. Despite the semi-hairy leaves, my local slugs also enjoy a meal. The flower head is just so wonderful.


I have this in my garden in a small border of flowers that are all in the blue spectrum and it attracts admiration from people passing by as well as the bees I planted it for. A very stunning and very hardy plant.

James Hodds

can you grow this from seed ??



Great plant bees and butterflies love it. Yes,cutting back after flowering does give a respectable second bloom later.
Has anyone come across a white variant of this plant?
I acquired a Small piece of what appeared to be a white version last year but it didn't survive the winter.


Yes Eclipse, the white version is Centaurea Montana Alba.

Ian Turner

Love this plant. Needs little maintenance other than splitting to contain its spread. However, this year I seem to have lost, virtually overnight, all the flower heads which appear to have been nipped off but no sign of the discarded heads. Anyone got any ideas?

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