Safflower (False Saffron)
Carthamus tinctorius. ASTERACEAE (COMPOSITAE).
Planting and Growing Safflower
You’ll find everything you need to know to plant and grow safflower in the accompanying table’s tabs:
- Flowers, foliage, and root structure of safflower
- Plant hardiness and growing conditions for safflower
- Season of bloom and planting time for safflower
- When, how deep, and where to plant safflower
- How to plant safflower
- Watering, fertilizing, care, and pests or diseases of safflower
- Landscape and container uses of safflower
- Comments about safflower and its features
A few cultivars of erect, branching, narrow, spiny annual herbs, to 3 ft. (90 cm) tall and 12–18 in. (30–45 cm) wide. Alternate, shiny, textured, gray or olive green, lance-shaped, spine-toothed leaves, 2–3 in. (50–75 mm) long.
Spineless cultivars available.
Planting and Care Guide
Showy, solitary, golden yellow, thistlelike, thread-rayed, edible flowers, to 1-1/2-in. (38-cm) wide, in a rosette of green, armed bracts, in summer, form edible seed.
Self-seeding, zones 2–10. Best in arid climates.
Soil Type and Fertility
Damp, well-drained, sandy loam. Fertility: Average. 6.5–7.5 pH.
Where and How to Plant
Spring in full sun, 4–6 in. (10–15 cm) apart.
Easy. Keep damp; allow soil surface to dry between waterings. Fertilize every 2 months. Stake tall cultivars. Propagate by seed.
About This Plant
Good choice for accents, backgrounds, barriers, borders, fencelines, massed plantings, walls in cottage, meadow, seaside gardens. Good for cutting, drying. Pest resistant. Fungal disease susceptible. Seed is the source of safflower oil.