Scabiosa (Scabiosa caucasia)

Scabiosa (Scabiosa caucasia) - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

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Plant Information Type: perennial
Propagation: dividing clumps, seed
Light: full sun
Flower Color: blue, mauve, lavender, violet, white
Bloom Time: mid summer to fall
Height: 2-2.5 feet
Soil Requirements: moist in summer and well-drained in winter
Zones: 3-10
Uses: beds, borders

This plant gets its name from the prominent, dark gray pollen-bearing stamens that stand out like pins from the center. Scabiosa has an exceptionally long bloom period for a perennial. Beginning in spring, the 2- to 2 1/2-foot stalks bear 3-inch blossoms, and they will continue to bloom into early fall if the plants are deadheaded regularly. In addition to the light blue of the basic species, mauve, lavender, violet, blue and white varieties are available.

Dwarf scabiosa is neat in appearance and makes an ideal edging. This nearly trouble-free plant is a heavy bloomer, and makes an excellent cut flower. Deer tend to avoid scabiosa, while butterflies are attracted by them. Scabiosa was voted Perennial Plant of the year 2000 by the Perennial Plant Association.


Pincushion flowers will grow in Zones 3-10 except in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. They do best in full sun and need soil that is moist during the growing season and very well drained in winter. Place plants 12 to 15 inches apart. New plants can be grown from clump divisions or from seeds sown in summer for blooming the following year. Divide clumps every two to four years to prevent overcrowding.

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