Perry's Perennial Pages

Centaurea montana 'Gold Bullion'

    Perennial of the Month-- December 2003 

(cen-tar' ee-ah) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Gold Bullion Mountain Bluet, Perennial Bachelor's Button

Family: Asteraceae, Aster/Daisy

Height x width: 12-18" x 18-24"

Growth rate; habit: moderate; spreading, not too aggressively by rhizomes underground especially in cooler climates, upright stems

Foliage: bright chartreuse, almost golden, may fade in late summer, lance shaped to 7" long

Flowers: deep blue cornflowers to 2" wide on upright stems, late spring South and early summer in North

Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 3-8, AHS heat zones 9 to 1

Soil: average, well drained; spreads more in moist, organic; avoid wet and soggy

Light: full sun to part shade, better leaf color in sun

Pests and problems: may dieback seriously from stem rot in wet summers; sometimes rust, aster yellows

Landscape habit, uses: fronts of borders and beds, massed or specimen, gold and yellow gardens; combine with other gold plants such as Illumination Vinca or variegated Sedum, or golden evergreens such as some junipers; contrast with purpled-leaved plants, gold variegated hostas, gold-striped cannas, Carex Ice Dance, Camassia bulbs, dark green junipers or conifers in background

Other interest: genus named after Greek centaur or healing; used by Chiton the Centaur in Greek mythology to heal his wounded foot; flowers resemble annual Bachelor's Button; unique leaf color for this genus, excellent contrast between foliage and flowers

Other culture: may self-sow green seedlings which need roguing out, cut back after bloom if stems die; removing past flowers may promote rebloom in warmer climates; divide every 2-3 years to control spread

Propagation: division, patented so commercial propagation by licensed growers

Sources: Blooms of Bressingham growers and retailers, specialty perennial nurseries locally and mailorder

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