#1 pollinator favorite! This annual forms large, dense colonies along the roadsides and in pastures throughout all of Texas. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and in the early summer it blooms into solitary flower heads 2 to 3½ inches in diameter. The blooms are a beautiful pink, with a creamy center. They make interesting cut flowers, and are suitable for dried flower arrangements as well.
The Natives are Friendly
A true Texas native the American Basketflower, Centaurea Americana, is widely overlooked because its bloom is similar to the blooms of some problem thistle species. American Basketflower has beautiful delicate blooms without the prickly foliage and is actually a close cousin to bachelor buttons or cornflower. The 4 inch flower heads are filamentous, made up of hundreds of delicate thin petals. The blooms have a cream colored center with a lavender to purple outer edge and will close at night. The name basket flower refers to the basket weave pattern that the inflorescence has underneath the flower and this gives the appearance that the bloom is setting in a ready made basket.
American Basketflower is easily started from seed and it can reach a height from 2 to 5 feet. This hardy annual has low water requirements and likes well drained soils best. It is very useful in cutting gardens. Cut blooms will last 4 to 5 days and they make excellent dried flowers. The dried flowers retain their colors and petals can be added to potpourris. This native is also a must have for butterflies and birds. The butterflies feast on the generous supply of nectar that American Basketflower produces while Dove, Quail and other birds enjoy the relatively large nutritious seeds that it produces in late summer and early fall. Not to mention the bonus of the sweet honey fragrance wafting through the air for all gardeners to enjoy. American Basketflower is a showy, annual, native wildflower that is easy to grow from seed and will readily reseed itself. It is found in the wild throughout most of North America from Texas, North to New York, West to Arizona, and to South Carolina on the East coast, and should easily grow most everywhere. In Texas, American Basketflower can be found in sandy soils, clay-loam soils, bare ground, overgrazed pastures and most of the prairies of the Edwards Plateau and South Texas Plains. Take a second look at this wonderful native and plant American Basketflower this fall.