I love to grow cornfield annuals on the allotment, such as Cornflowers, Corn Marigold, Corncockle, Corn Chamomile and Poppies (Long-headed and Common). Where space permits, I let them re-seed year after year. The poppies came along by themselves and I bought seed for the others, though only once.
In late winter I transplanted some of my self-sown cornflower and corn marigold plants and put them in pots in a sunny part of the garden, in ordinary peat-free potting compost. (I usually use New Horizon multi-purpose compost.) I also added a few Corncockle seedlings. At the same time I sowed some Corn Chamomile in the pots. By late May the cornflowers, corncockle and corn marigolds were flowering and the corn chamomile began to flower in early June. The plants are still giving a good display of colour as I write.
As well as being attractive to humans, these flowers help to encourage wildlife into the garden. Corn Marigold flowers are popular with hoverflies and bees love the cornflowers. An added bonus is that Goldfinches have started to eat the seeds on the cornflowers, now that they are going over.
Cornfield annuals sown in autumn tend to be bigger and stronger than ones sown in spring but if you don’t have room to start off the plants in a bed in the garden, you can sow directly into the pots. Once the plants are fully grown and flowering they will need to be watered every day or two until they have finished flowering.
I bought most of my cornfield annual seeds from Emorsgate Seeds, who supply cornfield annuals as individual species or as seed mixes. Just a small quantity of seeds will be enough for a pot and will be cheaper and more interesting than the usual range of bedding plants. Why not give it a try?