Centaurea sp.
Amethyst centaurea montana

Centaurea montana

centaurea dealbata

Centaurea dealbata

Centaurea nigra

Zone: 3 to 8

Soil: Sand to loam

Light: Full sun to part sun

Bloom colour: Mostly blue and pink

Bloom period: Early summer onwards

Height: 24 to 36 inches

Moisture: Dry to medium

Attracts: A variety of small bees, bumblebees and syrphid flies. It also attracts smaller butterflies.

Notes: I like Centaurea as a plant because it flowers early in the season and is popular with bees when many other garden plants are not in bloom. However, Centaurea is not native to Canada and can be invasive. Therefore, I recommend that gardeners only use this plant in highly managed gardens, where its distribution can be well controlled, or not at all. There are many native alternatives and they are listed below. I will no longer plant it.

Alternatives to Centaurea include perennials such as Robin's plantain, Golden Alexanders, Penstemons, False indigo and Lupins; shrubs such as Viburnums, Dogwood or Shadbush; or flowering trees.