Description of corn cockle: Plants grow up to 31/2 feet tall, with thin, narrow foliage and slender, wiry flower stems. Flower color is a rich, plummy pink. Flowers are often more than 2 inches in diameter, each petal marked with dots or lines to guide insects to the flower center for pollination.
Growing corn cockle: Grow in full sun in average soil. Growing in partial shade will cause them to grow taller with weak stems (that may require staking) and reduce flower production. Space plants about 12 inches apart. Deadheading prevents seed formation and encourages bloom throughout the summer.
Uses for corn cockle: Because the foliage is light, it can be planted as a see-through plant surrounded and backed by other flowers. Their delicate grace makes them a good foil for more substantial plants. The flowers can be readily seen if grown at the back of borders or beds. Use them, too, for height in island beds. The informal character lends distinction to cottage gardens with a variety of plantings. They also make good cut flowers.
Propagating corn cockle: Seeds are large, germination is fast (10 to 12 days outdoors), and growth is rapid. Corn cockle is best direct-seeded into the garden. Plants readily reseed, so they can have their own space in the garden year after year. Currently, seed companies offer many separate selections.
Corn cockle related varieties: Milas is a somewhat shorter selection, and Milas Cerise is offered for its cherry-red color. Ocean Pearl is white. Pink Pearl is metallic pink. Cockle Shells is a mix of white and pinks.
Scientific name of corn cockle: Agrostemma githago