Centaurea ruthenica

Big and Buttery

by Andrew Keys on February 20, 2012

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if there’s one color I adore in flowers, it’s pale yellow. There’s something about those shades between butter and crème fraiche that makes my heart sing. Maybe it’s a foodie thing? Whatever it is, pale yellow is what I’m always after.

So you can imagine when I discovered this tall, cool drink of butter, it played hopscotch over the wishlist and directly into my shopping cart. It’ll be here in the spring. It’s Centaurea ruthenica, a knapweed without any better common name. Mountain bluet (Centaurea montana), its much shorter cousin with a prettier common name, grows like gangbusters here, so I’m ruthenica will be similarly happy. I’m planting it with grasses, just like in this lovely photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Hardiness: Zones 5-9
Best features: Super tall (3-4 ft.) high pale yellow fuzzy flowers, ferny leaves
Likes: Sun and good drainage
Comes from: Eastern Europe to Central Asia
Sources: Arrowhead Alpines, Digging Dog Nursery

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