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'Black Boy' Bachelor's Button Flower

About 6-7 years ago, during my Gothic gardening phase, I received a packet of seeds labeled ‘Black Boy’ Bachelor’s Button. I put the seeds away in my seed pack keeper bin with the intention to sowing it one day. I love black flowers, but there was something about this flower that nagged me without me truly understanding.

Bachelor's Button 'Black Boy' Centaurea cyanus

This year I decided to take the ‘Black Boy’ Bachelor’s Button seeds out of storage and sow them in the garden to make sure my seed collection remained viable. As with other so-called black flowers, the blooms of this Bachelor’s Button aren’t really black. They are a very deep maroon.

'Black Boy' Bachelor's Buttons' Centaurea cyanus

Grow enough black flowers and you’ll see that the color the blooms are is dependent on the age of the flower and the light. On bright, sunny days the purples and blues that make up the tones of black flowers really come out. On cloudy and overcast days the shades of the blooms are dark, and can look pretty black.

There are several Centaurea cyanus cultivars that you can plant in your garden. They’re pretty flowers and easy annuals to buy seeds for and grow in your garden. But don’t be fooled by the pictures of ‘Black Boy,’ ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Black Ball.’ None of them are as black as they look in the seed catalogs and seed packets.

The buds are always a good indicator of just how black the flower will be when it opens up. I’ve noticed that the darker the flower bud, the less black it will look once it is opened. As you can see, ‘Black Boy’ is no exception to this rule. While growing this bachelor’s button I tried to find out what was the difference between ‘Black Boy,’ ‘Black Magic,’ and the ‘Black Ball’ Bachelor’s Buttons and can’t find one. I did find a reference on to ‘Black Boy’ as a "rare heirloom" listed in the Buist's seed catalog in 1942.

Coincidentally, I see that Gayla Trail at YouGrowGirl was also growing this plant at the same time. She mentions that the plant isn’t black enough to overcome the "casual racism" of its name and warrant a space in her garden. I think I have to agree. I always felt weird about sowing the seeds, and now I understand why some seed companies may list it under the more acceptable names of ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Black Ball.’

How to Save Bachelor’s Button seeds

Previously: How to save Bachelor's Button seeds pictures. Like black plants? Navigate the black flowers label for more "black" annuals and perennial garden plants.


  1. I find that black flowers often get lost in the garden unless they are tall and stand proud of surrounding plants. Despite this they work well near grey foliage or next to white walls. A personal favourite is the dark coloured scabiosa.

  2. I like it. The deep maroon is nice.
    That would sure be a kick with my blue bachelor buttons!

  3. They're gorgeous. I love the colour.

  4. Nice color, but they really ought to change the name (heirloom or not :)



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