s we approach the most stressful period of the year for most garden
plants, the few species that really thrive in hot, dry conditions deserve
special recognition. Bachelor Buttons are readily available and easily
grown from seed.
According to Hortus Third, Bachelor Buttons came to us from tropical
areas of the Old World. They are documented as having been a part of
early American gardens.
Colors range from purple, rose, orange and
white, and flowers are about l inch across.
In addition to their ease of culture, Bachelor Buttons were popular with
our ancestors for their use as “everlastings.” Dozens of individual flowers occur on each plant which are attractive
mounds about 2 feet tall and wide. Cut stems of flowers hung upside down in a dark, dry area and allowed to dry
hold their color for a year or more and can be used in a variety of ways.
Experienced gardeners always save a few flower heads from their favorite color plants to use for next year’s seed.
This is definitely a plant that will not thrive until hot weather arrives. June and July are good times to plant the
seeds in most of Texas. Bachelor Buttons are so easily grown and transplanted that many gardeners simply sow
the seeds in a small area of the vegetable garden or flower border then transplant seedlings to permanent locations
when 2 or 3 inches tall.
Plants are usually spaced l to l-l/2 feet apart for a mass effect. They are normally attractive
in the garden until late fall. Dwarf forms are available, but appear to be more susceptible to rot.
Few insects seem to bother Gomphrena but occasional loss occurs from root rot. Good drainage is essential but
little fertilizer or water are necessary to produce a massive display. It’s not too late to start new plants now from
seed. Plants started in July or early August can make a beautiful fall display and provide lots of dried material for