Care of Scabiosa (Butterfly) Plant


Scabiosa attracts butterflies and bees with its many purple, pincushionlike blooms. The mound of flowers can grow 10 to 24 inches tall and spread 18 to 24 inches wide. Scabiosa is hardy in USDA regions 3 to 9, which means it grows well throughout the United States. It prefers cool, humid regions, however. Knowledge of how to create the right environment for this plant will help you keep the plant healthy so it will bloom from spring to fall.

Step 1

Plant the Scabiosa in an area with full sun and rich, moist, but well-drained soil. In hotter regions, the flowers benefit from light shade in the afternoon to prevent scorching. Space multiple Scabiosa plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Step 2

Water the Scabiosa, keeping the soil consistently moist until the plant takes root and starts growing. They become more drought-resistant after this point, but flower best with consistent moisture. Make sure the soil is not soaked, because this may drown the plant.

Step 3

Fertilize the plant in late spring. Scabiosa requires little fertilization if planted outdoors in the correct area and soil. Use a fertilizer marked 15-30-15. This means that it contains 15 percent nitrogen, 30 percent phosphorus and 15 percent potassium, respectively. Follow the directions on the package for application instructions.

Step 4

Deadhead flowers as they begin to fade. This will encourage vigorous flowering throughout the growing season.

Step 5

Divide the clumps of Scabiosa every three years, or whenever they begin to fade. This will reinvigorate them, giving them more air to breathe.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Vermont Extension: Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
  • Cal's Plant of the Week: Scabiosa caucasica
  • Colorado State Cooperative Extension: Scabiosa
  • Florida Museum of Natural History: Butterfly Blue Scabiosa
Keywords: scabiosa care, scabiosa butterfly blue, scabiosa watering

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.