Scabiosa is a flowering perennial that can grow up to 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Selected as “Perennial of the Year” in 2000 by the Perennial Plant Association, scabiosa has been nicknamed the “pincushion” flower because of the dense mounded center of each of its blooms. The blooms can appear from May and into October and can be used for flower arrangements or for drying. Plant scabiosa in groupings or as a border plant for the greatest impact.
Select a sunny location to plant scabiosa if you live in USDA zones 3 to 6, and a sunny location with afternoon shade for zones beneath USDA zone 6. The area where you plant scabiosa should be well-drained, loamy soil. If mostly clay, the soil can be amended with a 50-percent blend of soil to organic matter like compost, leaf mold or commercial organic matter.
Plant scabiosa in the spring from seeds, divisions from larger clumps of scabiosa, or from containers. Dig the soil twice as wide and twice as deep as the clump or container-growth plant. Place the plant in the hole so the crown (where the roots meet the trunk of the plant) is level with the ground. For seeds, loosen the soil about 10 inches wide and deep where you will be planting. Press the seeds into the soil and lightly cover them. Seeds could also be started indoors for transplanting outside in the spring. Space scabiosa about 18 inches apart.
Apply 2 inches of mulch starting about 3 inches from the base of the plant.
Water every 10 days when there is no rainfall.
Apply a slow-release fertilizer for acid-loving plants in the spring. Fertilizer can also be applied in the fall.