How to Grow and Care For Pincushion Flowers

In case you want extra bees and butterflies or whimsical crops in your summer time backyard, contemplate rising scabiosa! Additionally identified to gardeners because the pincushion flower, this generally perennial plant has a dainty look that matches into most landscapes however can also be wild sufficient to be included in wildflower mixes.

Scabiosa blooms will first seem in late spring atop wiry stems. They final via the early summer time, and even into early fall till the primary frost. Scabiosa crops are drought-tolerant and simple to look after, making them a plant-and-forget possibility in lots of areas!

Our information will let you know every part it’s worthwhile to learn about rising a fantastic scabiosa plant in your backyard. They’re stunning as they dot your panorama. They’re proof against quite a lot of bugs and drought. The bee species and butterflies will thanks for summer time meals, too!

Fast Care Information

Frequent Identify Scabiosa crops, pincushion flower, candy scabiosa
Scientific Identify Scabiosa atropurpurea, Scabiosa spp.
Household Caprifoliaceae, the honeysuckle household
Peak & Unfold 2-3 toes tall, 9-12 inches vast
Gentle Full solar, 6+ hours of direct gentle
Soil Barely alkaline pH of 6.0-8.0, loamy or sandy
Water Drought-tolerant, water as soon as per week
Pests & Ailments Aphids, botrytis, crown rot, powdery mildew, root rot, slugs, spider mites, whiteflies

All About Scabiosa

Pincushion flowers within the Scabiosa genus have flat flower heads that entice pollinators.

The genus Scabiosa (the botanical identify for the pincushion flower) is filled with flowers within the honeysuckle household, with a number of sorts of pincushion flowers that largely look comparable in form, if not shade.

Annual flowers are typically a bit smaller than perennial varieties, however all of them have flat flower heads that entice bees and different pollinators, like hummingbirds and Lepidoptera. 

These standard crops are well-known hummingbird attractors.

All pincushion species are native to japanese Europe, western Asia, the Mediterranean, and japanese Africa. The wiry stems of scabiosa crops come out in a panorama from a clump of shallow roots. They’ve skinny, tough foliage that offers them the identify “scabiosa,” the Latin phrase for scabies. This refers back to the scratchy texture of the leaves! 

Most pincushion flower crops can develop in USDA zones 4-9 from spring till the primary fall frost, however some, like Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ and Scabiosa ‘Pink Mist,’ are extra tolerant of chilly temperatures and might develop in zone 3. Different varieties, like Scabiosa ‘Beaujolais Bonnets,’ can’t get sufficient summer time warmth and might develop as much as zone 11.

Each annual and perennial sorts of pincushion flowers have white stamens. They are often present in virtually any shade. Annuals are extra generally purple, pink, and maroon, whereas perennial varieties are sometimes lavender, blue, and white. Mixing them up in your backyard for somewhat late-spring selection isn’t a foul factor!

As a result of the bloom interval for this flower is so lengthy, it’s an ideal supply of meals for pollinators, particularly butterflies. Bees are additionally very drawn to the blue and lavender varieties. The pincushion flower has a flat form that makes it simple for bees and butterflies to land on all summer time lengthy. These distinctive shapes and the wiry foliage add curiosity to the backyard.

As a result of the enticing Scabiosa atropurpurea crops are such adamant self-seeders, they’re thought of invasive within the state of California. Due to this fact, in case you’re gardening there, it’s possible you’ll need to forego planting Scabiosa atropurpurea, though Scabiosa columbaria is sort of welcome and sometimes used as an alternative. 

Kinds of Scabiosa

In case you are on the lookout for a pincushion so as to add to your backyard, however you don’t know the place to begin, we’ve acquired you lined. Here’s a record of some of the most well-liked varieties that gardeners love. Keep in mind that these planted in non-native areas might develop into invasive. 

Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Knight’

Close-up of blooming flowers of Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Black Knight' against a blurred green background. The flowers are medium sized, rounded, dark purple in color on long wiry stems. The flowers are pincushion-shaped and surrounded by pinnate green foliage.
Scabiosa ‘Black Knight’ is an annual pincushion with deep maroon to virtually black blooms.

This pincushion has an interestingly-colored bloom that may be a deep maroon to virtually black. It’s an annual, self-seeding species that present a bloom within the backyard that butterflies will flock to.

The plant itself grows 2 to three toes tall, and helps are wanted to maintain the stems upright. You may get ‘Black Knight’ seeds at Botanical Pursuits, one of many few seed firms that carry this selection.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’

Close-up of a blooming flower of Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue' against a blurred green background. The flower is small, round in shape, similar to a daisy, with lavender-blue ruffled petals and protruding thin stamens from the center.
‘Butterfly Blue’ is a perennial plant with enticing blue petals that entice each butterflies and hummingbirds.

The enticing blue petals of this perennial plant will not be solely butterfly attractants, however in addition they herald hummingbirds. It’s barely smaller than the final selection we lined, at a stature that reaches about 18 inches complete. Neglect pink! Begin planting these blue flowers. 

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Flutter Pink Rose’

Close-up of blooming flowers of Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Pink Rose' in a sunny garden. This is a perennial plant with delicate pink flowers resembling a fluttering butterfly.
‘Scabiosa columbaria ‘Flutter Pink Rose’ is a perennial dwarf plant with pink blooms.

Okay, perhaps don’t overlook pink! This perennial dwarf selection brings in all of the bee species, butterflies, and hummingbirds too.

Plant these 12-inch tall crops straight within the panorama, or dapple the backyard with containers full of pink pincushions atop slender stems. 

Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Purple Pincushion’

Close-up of a Scabiosa flower against a blurred green-yellow background. The flower is round, lavender in color with a central domed disk surrounded by a ring of ruffled petals.
Scabiosa ‘Purple Pincushion’ is an annual plant with gentle lavender-purple petals that entice butterflies.

Much like Butterfly Blue, the sunshine lavender-purple petals of this annual cultivar are good for feeding hummingbirds and several types of butterflies.

With lengthy slender stems that want staking every so often, the enticing pin-head of this Scabiosa atropurpurea cultivar widespread identify comes from its beautiful violet-blue petals. 

Caring for Scabiosa Crops

Engaging scabiosa is likely one of the flowering crops which might be newbie pleasant since they don’t want an entire bunch of TLC to thrive via the summer time season to the primary frost in fall. Loads of solar, sufficient moisture, and low humidity offers you an abundance of pincushion flowers!

Solar and Temperature

Close-up of monarch butterflies on blue Scabiosa Pincushion flowers in a garden. The flowers are similar to daisies with a central disk surrounded by purple petals. Monarch butterflies are a butterfly species known for their distinctive orange-black wings with white spots and veins.
Scabiosas want full solar publicity, apart from varieties that choose cooler temperatures.

Scabiosas love the summer time solar, so that they’ll want full solar publicity with a minimum of 6 hours of direct daylight each day. In case you’re rising a pincushion flower selection that’s higher fitted to cooler temperatures, afternoon shade will profit them. Full solar in a damp local weather is necessary, as they aren’t followers of humidity.

The best temperature is 55-65°F, however pincushion flowers are tolerant of cold and warm temperatures within the fall and winter seasons for brief intervals.

A scorching mid-summer day or a cold spring night gained’t kill them off, however regulate the forecast to make sure the intense temperatures don’t stick round for too lengthy! Offering somewhat afternoon shade on the most well liked days helps, too.

Scabiosa is delicate to frost and freezing temperatures in early spring and extreme warmth and humidity in early summer time and mid-summer. Cool temperatures within the late spring aren’t the worst, although it’s possible you’ll discover that crops uncovered to chilly climate early on will flower ahead of those who weren’t.

Water and Humidity

Close-up of a blooming Scabiosa Pincushion flower with water drops on a blurred background of a green garden. The flower head is small, rounded, consists of many small flowers with elaborate petals and protruding thin stamens.
Correct moisture ranges are necessary when rising scabiosa pincushion flowers.

In case you’re new to rising scabiosa pincushion flowers, it’s possible you’ll discover moisture to be a problem, particularly in case you’re in a damp local weather.

When rising in an space that receives constant rain in early spring, you doubtless gained’t must water your flowers until you’re in a dry spell. In case you not often get rain, watering as soon as per week so that they obtain one inch of water might be sufficient to maintain your crops completely satisfied.

An excessive amount of water will enhance the chance of issues like root rot on this drought-resistant plant and should trigger your scabiosa pincushion flower to die again. That is very true in scorching, humid climates. Ensure that your flowers – wherever you reside – have well-draining soil to stop puddles.


Close-up of blooming Scabiosa Pincushion flowers in a shady garden against a blurred background. The flowers are small, rounded, pink-purple in color on tall thin stems. The flowers have frilly pink petals surrounding a central disc with protruding stamens. The leaves are dark green, narrow, deeply lobed, basal.
Plant scabiosa pincushion flower in soil with loads of natural matter, good drainage, and a barely alkaline pH degree.

Scabiosa pincushion flower grows properly in common soil however will look its finest whenever you present loads of natural matter to the soil profile. Plant them in a flower backyard that has loads of compost and leaves blended into the soil for one of the best outcomes.

Select soil that’s loamy or sandy, and keep away from heavy clay soil. The scabiosa genus has shallow root programs that want gentle soils, so it’s simple for them to develop and obtain water. Unfastened soil can also be necessary for drainage. Keep away from potting soils with further water retention until you propose to skip watering fairly usually.

Scabiosa pincushion flowers like a barely alkaline soil pH of 6.0-8.0 and are fairly tolerant of a impartial pH, so you must have the ability to plant them virtually wherever.

Fertilizing Scabiosa Pincushion

Close-up of blooming Scabiosa flowers in a garden against a blurred background. The flowers are small, round, pink-purple in color with a central cluster of stamens surrounded by elongated oval thin petals.
Fertilizing Scabiosa is simply vital if the soil is missing vitamins.

Scabiosa flowers solely want fertilizer in case your soil’s well being is severely missing. A contemporary layer of compost every so often ought to be sufficient in common soil, however a month-to-month refresh could be higher in poor soils.

You should utilize an all-purpose or flower fertilizer in case you don’t have any compost. Select a balanced possibility like a 10-10-10. Liquid fertilizers will be utilized as soon as per 30 days, and slow-release fertilizers will be utilized as soon as within the spring for early summer time blooms.

Pruning Scabiosa Pincushion

Close-up of blooming Scabiosa Pincushion flowers in the garden. The flowers are small, round, with a central cluster of protruding stamens, surrounded by long thin petals that resemble pins stuck in a pincushion. The flowers are lavender blue. The leaves are deeply lobed, dark green, basal.
To advertise new development, take away spent blooms from scabiosa pincushion flowers in early fall.

The wiry stems of pincushions don’t actually have to be pruned, however doing so will assist the plant last more. Take away spent blooms in early fall to advertise new development so you possibly can have flowers all season lengthy. 

Because the small flowers are self-seeding, they will probably develop into invasive, so take away flowerheads earlier than they go to seed so you possibly can maintain your scabiosa inhabitants underneath management. The blooms make nice reduce flowers; you should use their lavender-blue shade to offset vivid yellows and oranges.

Perennial varieties might have to be separated and planted elsewhere each few years to make sure the crops have good airflow and satisfactory rising situations. Let’s discuss this extra within the subsequent part!


Close-up of small cothelidons sprouting from Scabiosa seeds in moist soil. Sprouts have two oval smooth green leaves on a short thin stem.
Propagate annual and perennial scabiosa pincushion flowers via seed germination.

One of the simplest ways to propagate annual and perennial varieties is thru seed germination. It can save you seeds to be planted subsequent 12 months, or you possibly can permit the crops to self-seed. Self-seeding is when spent flowerheads drop seeds, and the seeds keep on the bottom all winter and germinate within the early spring. Equally, seeds will be began indoors two weeks earlier than the final frost date.

As talked about within the final part, you possibly can divide perennial clumps of flowers each 2-4 years in early spring or fall. Replant these clumps in pots, flower beds, rock gardens, or wherever else to get a brand-new plant that may final you some time!

Not solely does this provide you with new crops, however it additionally reduces the chance of your present crops growing illnesses as a result of lack of airflow and crowding.


Pincushion flowers actually solely provide you with issues if rising situations aren’t proper, like an excessive amount of water or not sufficient full solar. These flowers and foliage are deer-resistant and usually proof against bugs and illnesses, making them many gardeners’ favorites.

Rising Issues

Close-up of blooming flowers of Scabiosa ochroleuca among green thin stems. Scabiosa ochroleuca, also known as Cream Pincushion Flower, has creamy yellow, almost white flowers that bloom in domed clusters on thin, wiry stems. The flowers are small, with frilly petals surrounding a central disc filled with stamens.
To encourage new development, deadhead spent blooms, stake crops as wanted, and monitor soil moisture.

In case your plant has loads of vitamins, plenty of sunshine, and applicable water ranges, however you don’t see many flowers bloom in late spring, you may must deadhead spent blooms as quickly as they die, and also you’ll see new development very quickly. These won’t produce new flowers on stems which have already flowered, so snip the stem off simply above a leaf node to maintain your plant tidy.

Scabiosa has lengthy stems which might be skinny and wiry. Often, you may see them falling over, which implies they have to be staked or given some assist.

Dry and crunchy stem leaves are often an indication of underwatering, and yellow or brown foliage and squishy stems are an indication of overwatering. In case you stick your finger within the floor and the highest 1-2 inches are bone dry, it’s time to water.


Close-up of a yellow aphid colony on a plant stem against a blurred background. Aphids are tiny insects with soft yellow oval bodies.
Scabiosa will be affected by pests akin to aphids and whiteflies.

Scabiosa could also be subjected to the pests your different crops are attracting. Aphids and whiteflies each suck the sap out of crops and might trigger your flowers to have yellowing foliage, which begin to die. The best solution to eliminate these is to clean them off with water. You too can use neem oil to suffocate them. Pesticides will work for aphids however aren’t at all times profitable for whiteflies.

Spider mites create nice webbing in your crops. You could find pesticides made for spider mites, or you possibly can wash them off with water.

Slugs and snails eat up scabiosa rapidly, so in case you discover slug harm, act quick! The simplest solution to eliminate them is to choose them off. In case you suppose they’re gross, put on some gloves. Slugs are nocturnal, so wait till it’s darkish exterior and go slug searching with a flashlight.


Close-up of a green oval elongated leaf affected by powdery mildew, against a blurred garden background. The leaf is covered with a white powdery coating.
Forestall scabiosa illnesses by spacing out crops and watering on the base.

Most illnesses are attributable to extra moisture, so one of the best ways to stop them is to area out your crops so that they don’t contact and don’t get an excessive amount of water. Water on the base of the plant and keep away from getting the foliage moist. In case you’re in a damp local weather, give your scabiosa loads of daylight to counter all of the moisture.

Fungal illnesses are almost certainly what you’ll be coping with.

Botrytis blight is a gray fungal downside. Early levels of the fungi look greyish, however it may possibly finally trigger tan, translucent patches on leaves. Water on the base of the plant and guarantee it has good airflow to stop Botrytis from forming on the foliage. Prune off contaminated tissue and deal with with a copper fungicide to stop any unfold.

Powdery mildew seems like a white powder on the leaves. Like Botrytis, that is fungal in origin, and comparable prevention strategies work for this. Neem oil can generally eradicate gentle infections of powdery mildew, however often eradicating the contaminated foliage and treating the remainder of the plant with neem oil is more practical. With each this and Botrytis, clear instruments and fingers between touching diseased materials and wholesome materials to stop fungal spore unfold.

Crown rot and root rot are soil-borne fungal illnesses attributable to an excessive amount of water within the soil. Be certain your soil readily drains extra water and that it doesn’t pool up on the floor. Potted crops ought to have drainage holes, and crops within the floor might profit from being planted on a slight hill. Enable the soil to dry fully between waterings in case you are typically beneficiant with water, and don’t water your crops if it lately rained.

In case you’re apprehensive about fungal illnesses, you should use fungicides to stop them from displaying up.

Often Requested Questions

Q: Is scabiosa annual or perennial?

A: The scabiosa genus has some annual and perennial varieties. Annuals are sometimes barely smaller in dimension.

Q: The place is one of the best place to plant scabiosa?

A: Plant your scabiosa in a sunny location that drains properly. USDA zones 4-9 are perfect for these flowers, though some varieties can survive in hotter or cooler climates.

Q: Is scabiosa invasive?

A: Scabiosa can have invasive tendencies if grown in the proper local weather. Take away flower heads earlier than they go to seed and divide clumps each few years to maintain them underneath management. Fortunately, they’re beautiful as reduce flowers.

Q: Is scabiosa exhausting to develop?

A: Scabiosa flowers are simple to develop in case you dwell in a sunny, dry space. They’re more durable to look after in humid climates.

Q: Do scabiosa crops unfold?

A: Annual scabiosa flowers unfold by self-seeding, and perennials unfold by self-seeding and rising new clumps.

Q: Ought to scabiosa be deadheaded?

A: Deadheading spent scabiosa flowers permits your crops to develop much more flowers and lengthen your rising season. In order for you plenty of fairly blooms, you must deadhead them! Trim off the flower stem simply above a leaf node to advertise extra flower improvement.

Q: Do slugs eat scabiosa?

A: Slugs will eat scabiosa. Take away them by hand to regulate the inhabitants. They’re simpler to seek out at night time with a flashlight.

Q: What grows properly with scabiosa?

A: Scabiosa flowers will look stunning in any flower backyard or in rock gardens. However in case you want inspiration, attempt rising these flowers with daylilies, butterfly weed, salvias, sedum, and roses. It’ll rely in your different flower colours, so mess around with colours to seek out what fits your panorama.

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