Centauria Macrocephala

Centaurea, a perennial cornflower with unusual flowers

The Centaurea genus of the daisy family includes several species such as annual cornflower and knapweed,  Centaurea macrocephala is a species plant native to Armenia.  They prefer full sun, but can bloom well in part shade.  This is a tough perennial that tolerates nearly any soil condition except consistently wet, and is not at all fussy about pH.  They are easy to grow, very tolerant of drought, and will naturalize.  The blooms are large, very showy, long blooming, and quite unique.

Centaurea macrocephala ‘Armenian Basketflower’

Centaurea-macrocephala-Armenian-Blanket-Flower-by-Midwest Gardening.jpg
  • Common Name:  Bighead Knapweed, Giant Knapweed, Golden Thistle, Globe Coneflower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  3-5 feet
  • Spread:  1-3 feet
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to part shade
  • Water Requirements:  Average moisture requirements, but quite tolerant of dry conditions
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained soil
  • Growth Habit:  Erect clumps
  • Bloom Time: Early through late summer
  • Bloom Color: Bright golden yellow
  • Bloom Form:  1 - 3” globe shaped thistle like blooms
  • Foliage:  Large, medium green, lance shaped leaves
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Can be susceptible to white mold, rusts and mildews and thread blight
  • Fertilize:  Feeding not required, may be fertilized in early spring if soil is unusually poor.
  • Maintenance:  Virtually maintenance free
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-9
Centaurea-macrocephala-Armenian-Blanketflower-by-Midwest Gardening.jpg

This unusual but rarely planted Centaurea is a great garden flower that will add stunning color to your garden.  The flower stems are thick and stiff, bearing great globes of rich yellow thistle like blooms.  The foliage is big and coarse medium matte green. Centaurea macrocephala is such a dramatic plant that you will need to work it into your design rather carefully, the strong and dramatic appearance can overwhelm fine, small plants.  It would be a superb plant to incorporate in a rock bolder garden or mixed border.  It is excellent for cut flowers or dried.  An Aremenian flower, it does well in the midwestern plains.  ‘Armenian Basketflower’ is virtually impossible to find in garden centers but fairly readily available from wild flower seed merchants.  Once established the plant is tough and hardy, and prefers not to be moved or divided.