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Centaurea (Knapweed)
at Digging Dog

Including Centaurea atropurpurea, Centaurea macrocephala, and Centaurea pulcherrima

Centaurea

Knapweed

Centaurea’s heritage extends all the way back to ancient Greek mythology when Achilles’s wise teacher, Chiron the Centaur was wounded by one of Hercules’ poisoned arrows and subsequently cured by this herb’s miraculous healing powers.

Equally at home in a present day border or a more naturalized setting, our hardy undemanding selections paint a bright picture inside as well. The long lasting boisterous blooms are celebrated cut flowers, bringing high-spirited accents to both fresh and dried arrangements.

Appreciative of well draining “sweet” soil, the ever amenable Knapweed withstands some drought, but not wet, wintertime feet.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Centaurea atropurpurea  full sun

Milling about the mountainous meadows of Europe’s Carpathian Range, this garden rarity spotlights large ruby red thistle-styled blooms bolstered by impressively tall sturdy stems. Even before the marvelous flowers appear, intricately detailed buds with brown-tipped green scales and curvy white spines beg a closer glance. A delicate-looking rosette of long feathery leaves—silver-gray and narrowly cut—completes the picture, while yellow blooming Centaurea ruthenica makes an ideal companion.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Centaurea atropurpurea (P-1646)
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Centaurea hypoleuca ‘John Coutts’  full sun
Centaurea hypoleuca John Coutts

Cradled by silvery, paper-thin bracts, a vivacious summertime showing of deep rose-pink thistlelike blooms with pale centers promises a fall encore when deadheaded regularly.

Long green leaves—deeply divided, lobed and powdery white beneath—line stiff-backed stems, bolstering the fragrant high energy performance.

A magnet for butterflies and gardeners alike, this carefree Centaurea exhibits a compact, not-so-tall profile that can be featured atop a wall or near the border’s front, obliges dry soils and keeps us coming back well after the flowers have faded to relish its long lasting, decorative seed heads.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 4.

Centaurea hypoleuca ‘John Coutts’ (P-1392)
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Centaurea macrocephala  full sun
Great Golden Knapweed
Centaurea macrocephala

An overgrown, sun-struck relative of the Bachelor Button, this “big-headed” native of the Caucasus Mountains has so many good qualities you’ll soon be inviting it into your garden. A medium green, rowdy mass of oversized, wavy-edged lanceolate leaves attached to stout stems gives way to intriguing, rust-colored buds as big as a chicken’s egg.

Scaled by papery bracts, the bud’s rotund profile opens to offer a large, bright yellow thistle, a cheerful mop of threadlike petals bursting with sunshine and color. Back this easy-to-grow cut flower with Cotinus ‘Grace’ and surround it with Nepeta ‘Pool Bank’.

Blooms late July–mid-September.

Size: 3'–4' high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Centaurea macrocephala (P-0834)
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Centaurea montana ‘Jordy’  full sun

Ringed with spidery ultra-fringed tubular florets, the dark-as-midnight blooms are presented singularly, strutting sumptuous reddish purple shades on tall staunch stems. Black embroidered buds, intriguing seed heads and silver felted new growth further enhance the tidy clump of broadly lanceolate green leaves that sport minute pearly hairs. A fan of lean chalky sites, this fanciful bloomer appreciates periodic pruning and works best as a filler in a Mediterranean planting, cottage garden or a naturalized setting, where it will bring on the bees, butterflies and other admirers.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 18" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Centaurea montana ‘Jordy’ (P-1797)
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Centaurea pulcherrima  full sun  new plant
Pink Bachelor Button

Touted as one of the prettiest species of the genus, Centaurea pulcherrima celebrates brilliant rose-colored flowers with silvery yellow bracts unfurling from large papery buds. This rarely offered robust perennial hosts handsome narrow pinnate grayish green leaves with hairy white undersides. Endemic to the Caucasus Mountains, Pink Bachelor Button makes a sterling prospect for stone walls, sun bathed rock gardens or even a bouquet.

Blooms June-August

Size: 16" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Centaurea pulcherrima (P-1876)
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Centaurea ruthenica  full sun
Centaurea ruthenica

“A border flower of the highest merit,” is how British horticulturist, William Robinson once described this awe-inspiring Centaurea, and we couldn’t agree more! Crowning long straight green stems, the fluffy thistle-style heads in unique pale citron yellows and tissue-thin buff-colored bracts will attract more than a few admirers. These ample-sized, sublime-for-cutting blooms heighten a graceful ferny pedestal of rich green pointed leaves with gray undersides, narrow silhouettes and a refined countenance. Appreciative of adequately draining soil, the ever amenable Knapweed withstands some drought, but not wet winter feet.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 3'–4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Centaurea ruthenica (P-1329)
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Latest News

September Perennial Specials!

Enjoy 20% off on your purchase of Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson', Helenium 'Rubinzwerg or Achillea millefolium 'Pretty Belinda', which are featured in our early September Newsletter. Please mention "September 2016" in the comments box of our online order form. Sale ends September 30, 2016, plants must be shipped no later than October 4th. Don't worry, we'll deduct the sale discount when we download your order.

Happy Autumn On-Line Sale!

Enjoy a special savings and get a jump start on next Spring's planting! Order a minimum of $50.00 in plants, and receive a 10% discount. Or order $100.00 in plants, and receive a 15% discount. Our online sale lasts for 2 weeks only, beginning September 24 and ending October 9. Mention code "Happy Autumn 2016" in the customer comments section of the order confirmation page to receive the discount. All orders must be shipped by October 11. All ordered items must be in-stock. Don't worry, we'll deduct the sale discount when we download your order.

Digging Dog Nursery's borders recently featured in the new Garden Conservancy's book

We are proud to announce that we are among "50 of America's most beautiful gardens" in the Garden Conservancy's new book "Outstanding American Gardens"

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Customer Comment:

“I just received my plant order this morning. Everything looks GREAT and seems to have come through in fine order.  I am so glad I ordered from your nursery and I will definitely be getting more plants from you.  They are very healthy and have obviously had a good start!”

~Cathy in Washington


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