Cultivation: It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, where several cultivars have been selected with varying pastel colours, including pink and purple. Centaurea is also grown for the cut flower industry in Canada for use by florists. The most common colour variety for this use is a doubled blue variety such as 'Blue Boy' or 'Blue Diadem'. White, pink, lavender and black (actually a very dark maroon) are also used, but less commonly. It is also occasionally used as a culinary ornament. Cornflowers have been used and prized historically for their blue pigment and are often used as an ingredient in some tea blends and herbal teas. It is famous for its inclusion in the Lady Grey blend of Twinings.
Cornflowers germinate quickly after planting. It flowers from June until August. The cornflower is considered a beneficial weed and its edible flower can be used to add colour to salads.