Knautia: Perfect Perennial Cut Flowers For Pollinators

The Knautia macedonica plant, aka Knautia (pronounced “naughty-ah”) is a relative of scabiosa and produces domed, purplish-red flowers within the backyard. In actual fact, it’s a detailed sufficient relative of scabiosa that it was beforehand named Scabiosa rumelica. Like Scabiosas, Knautia is deer-resistant! 

The Knautia plant is thought for its lengthy blooming time, which begins in early summer season and into the autumn till the primary common frost date. Its flowers are usually not solely pleasing to the attention, however they’re additionally enticing to a wide range of pollinators, together with butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees! The flowers additionally deserve a prized place in your reduce flower bouquets. 

Discover a full solar space in your backyard, water recurrently till established and Knautia macedonica will thrive! It is a nice starter perennial plant for many newbie gardeners. It’s straightforward to look after, with few pests/illnesses and is usually an incredible alternative. They aren’t as long-lived as different perennials, however regardless of that, they’re nicely suited to amateurs’ full-sun cottage gardens, and readily self-seed for years to return. 

The one actual downside to this plant is in extraordinarily sizzling climates, it could cease producing flowers throughout the peak summer season warmth. Outdoors of this, should you promptly take away spent flowers, you may encourage an extra bloom. On the finish of the rising season, depart the final spherical of spent flowers standing as a wintertime snack for the birds who love these seeds! It makes a beautiful and enticing pure feeder for birds.  

Fast Care Information

Knautia macedonica ‘Mars Midget’.
Widespread Title Widow flower, Area scabious, Pincushion flowers, Macedonian scabious
Scientific Title Knautia macedonica
Household Caprifoliaceae
Peak & Unfold 1.5-2 ft huge and tall
Gentle Full solar
Soil Effectively-drained soil
Water Drought tolerant as soon as established
Pests & Ailments Aphids, disease-resistant

All About Knautia Crops

Knautia plants in a field
Knautia crops in a discipline.

Knautia crops are available in many various varieties and species, equivalent to Knautia macedonica, Ok. arvensis, and Ok. drymeia simply to call a couple of. We’ll be specializing in the Knautia macedonica plant since it’s the most typical and broadly out there in backyard facilities. Knautia macedonica widespread names embody widow flower, discipline scabious, and pincushion flowers. 

Also called Macedonian scabious, Knautia grows as a local in Southeastern Europe, together with North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Turkey. Knautia macedonica is a short-lived perennial, normally lasting between 2-3 years. Though particular person crops don’t final for a lot of rising seasons they’ll generously self-seed and new crops will spring up 12 months after 12 months. 

Some kinds of the Knautia macedonica plant, equivalent to Thunder and Lightning, have variegated foliage which makes them stand out within the backyard. Most varieties characteristic domed flower heads that sit atop slender, branching stems and deep inexperienced foliage on the base of the plant. The flowers bloom from early summer season by means of fall, bringing in butterflies and moths.

The tall stems topped by small pincushion flowers sway within the wind and entice many helpful pollinators. Knautia grows in clumps. Knautia will die again utterly within the winter and are available again to life within the spring to bloom once more in early summer season. This can be very hardy and may survive temperatures as little as -4 levels Fahrenheit. 

Sorts of Knautia

There are various forms of Knautia you may plant in your backyard to herald butterflies and different pollinators! Though we can be specializing in the Knautia macedonica plant right here, there are a couple of species which are additionally value mentioning! All of those varieties have comparable progress habits to Knautia macedonica. 

Knautia arvensis, also referred to as the meadow widow flower, blooms in mid-summer fairly than early summer season, between July and September, and is utilized by marsh fritillary butterflies and the narrow-bordered bee hawk moth as a meals supply. This species of scabious was used to deal with scabies and different sores, together with these attributable to the Bubonic plague. 

Knautia drymeia, also referred to as the Hungarian widow flower, is a European species that prefers a southern temperate local weather and might be discovered rising alongside the perimeters of varied forests and meadows. It blooms in early summer season, from June to September.

Lastly, let’s study Knautia macedonica Thunder and Lightning. This Knautia plant has enticing blossoms which are deep fuschia. Its foliage can be fairly enticing, donning serrated inexperienced leaves with cream margins. The form of the leaf margins offers onlookers a way of lightning strikes. The common bloom time of this Knautia is from early summer season to early fall.

Caring for Knautia Macedonica Crops

Closeup of knautia flower
Closeup of knautia flower.

The Knautia macedonica plant could be very low upkeep and drought tolerant as soon as established within the backyard. It’s long-blooming and attracts a wide range of pollinators equivalent to butterflies and hummingbirds. Learn on to seek out out what to anticipate when caring for this enticing plant. 

Solar and Temperature

Knautia grows greatest in full solar, so choose an space in your backyard that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of full solar per day. Given optimum situations, Kanutia will come again every year. That being mentioned, it’s a short-lived perennial that usually lasts 2-3 years. Nevertheless, it’s going to self-seed and unfold if given an opportunity. 

The plant thrives in USDA rising zones 5-9 with a really perfect temperature vary between 65-80 levels Fahrenheit. Knautia macedonica appears to favor backyard climates that embody heat summer season days with a number of solar and funky summer season nights. 

Though the plant loves full solar, within the warmth of the summer season the plant could appear to droop and should not bloom as a lot, diverting butterflies to different areas of the backyard. Within the winter the plant will die again nearly utterly to the bottom however will come again to life because the soil warms within the spring. They require no safety from the chilly when grown in zones 5-9. 

Nevertheless, if stands of the plant are grown in additional northern zones, they will both be grown as annuals or overwintered as perennials with safety like burlap baggage, a chilly body, frost blanket, and slightly little bit of luck. Above rising zone 9 tends to get too sizzling for Knautia, and though they will survive in gentle shade, they could not flower as a lot.

Water and Humidity

The Knautia plant will want water recurrently for the primary 12 months after planting to assist them get established. In the course of the peak rising season (summer season) they need to be watered twice per week and as soon as per week throughout the shoulder seasons (spring and fall). This may be decreased to as soon as per week in peak season throughout 12 months two and as soon as each 1-2 weeks in 12 months three. 

The plant may also profit from winter watering in particularly dry areas that don’t obtain common snowfall. Water throughout the winter provided that the air and soil temps are above 40 levels Fahrenheit, the soil isn’t frozen, and there’s no snow on the bottom or within the instant forecast. Mulch may also preserve the roots protected in chilly climate. 

These crops favor deep and rare watering and may stand to dry out between watering. A layer of mulch across the crops might help retain moisture across the roots for longer. That is particularly necessary in areas with low humidity which is the place they have an inclination to thrive naturally. Their low water wants make them a superb alternative for the water-wise backyard, and are thought-about to be drought-tolerant as soon as established. 


The Knautia plant prefers dry and extra alkaline soils, though it’s tolerant of most soil varieties. A very powerful issue right here is that the soil is well-draining. Though, as talked about above, Knautia can profit from a layer of mulch to assist the soil retain moisture, it’s important that the soil drains nicely and doesn’t promote standing watering. 

If the soil is heavy with clay, it may be amended with compost and perlite to assist enhance its drainage. Keep away from planting in low-lying areas in your backyard or close to downspouts the place water might acquire. If you unfold mulch, don’t apply a lot that it chokes out your plant, stopping blooms which are enticing to butterflies and forage for birds.

Fertilizing Knautia

Knautia macedonica leaves
Knautia macedonica leaves.

When you’ve got good to common soil, you shouldn’t must fertilize knautia. They’re gentle feeders and may do high quality with a facet dressing of compost originally of every season. Should you select to fertilize knautia, use a balanced product and apply it in accordance with the producer’s instructions. 

Keep away from utilizing a fertilizer excessive in nitrogen, as this may promote foliage progress on the expense of manufacturing enticing flowers.

Pruning Knautia

Knautia can profit from pruning in early or late winter after the foliage has died again and the blooms have pale, however this isn’t completely mandatory. It may be left in place till spring and pruned simply earlier than new progress seems. Leaving the useless foliage standing over the winter can present the plant with additional safety, and the standing seed heads will present birds with winter snacks. 

Should you want to management the unfold of your knautia, it’s possible you’ll select to deadhead the spent blooms in early fall after the final flowers have pale to forestall additional germination of seeds. Knautia is superb at self-seeding and may unfold if left unchecked, although it’s not thought-about a type of invasive perennials. 

Like most flowering crops, knautia can profit from deadheading all through the rising season to encourage extra enticing flowers that butterflies love. This additionally offers a possibility to make the most of them as reduce flowers. As all the time, prune away useless or diseased foliage as wanted. 

Knautia Propagation

Knautia macedonica might be propagated by seed in pots in a chilly body. These seeds require a interval of chilly stratification to be able to germinate. They have to be uncovered to temperatures of 39 levels Fahrenheit for a minimum of 4 weeks earlier than sowing. Inserting the seeds in a chilly body any time between February and April is a low-maintenance approach to obtain this. 

The seeds can be left after they first bloom in June or July to drop to the bottom on their very own within the fall, however this isn’t very best if you wish to unfold the crops to different areas of your backyard extra deliberately. They can be propagated by taking basal cuttings within the spring. Place the basal cuttings right into a glass of water, and roots will seem after a couple of weeks. 

As soon as measurable root progress has appeared, place the reducing into the soil and water a couple of instances per week till established. Plant them out nicely earlier than they’re in full bloom in July, ideally as a part of your spring planting. 

Repotting Knautia

Knautia macedonica might be grown in containers and pots. Nevertheless, the principle problem right here can be guaranteeing that the potting soil doesn’t change into too slowed down with moisture. Create a well-draining potting combine by including perlite to a normal potting soil. 

Since Knautia is a short-lived perennial, you may keep away from having to re-pot it by planting it in an appropriate-sized container within the first place. Observe the planting instructions offered by the backyard middle from which you’ve bought your Knautia crops. Then place your repotted crops in areas the place you need to preserve out deer. 


Cabbage white on knautia flower
Cabbage white on knautia flower.

Knautia macedonica is a fast-growing plant that requires little upkeep. That being mentioned, there are some points to be looking out for. Understanding these perennials might help you present your crops with optimum situations, which in flip will assist them produce extra flowers. 

Knautia Rising Issues

Most rising issues if you plant knautia in poorly draining soil. In case your plant progress appears stunted or is wilting exterior of full solar or the warmth of the day, this will point out that the roots are sitting in standing water resulting from poorly drained soil. 

In case your knautia plant is grown in a pot or container, it’s possible you’ll re-pot right into a potting soil combine with higher drainage. In case your knautia crops have been planted instantly into the bottom, then it’s possible you’ll select to amend the soil by including sandy soil to extend drainage. 

If a close-by downspout causes the standing water or if this can be a low-lying space in your backyard, then your greatest wager might be to dig it up and plant knautia in one other location.

Should you’ve allowed your plant to flower in July, feed butterflies, after which drop to the bottom for self-propagation and future enticing long-blooming, it’s potential that birds may eat the seeds earlier than they’ve time to germinate and return in spring. If this is a matter, take away the seed heads your self after the lengthy blooming interval, and sow them after cold-stratifying them indoors.   


The Knautia plant is thought for being deer resistant, an attractant for pollinators, and particularly attracts in hummingbirds and butterflies. They’re usually pest resistant. Nevertheless, they’ve been recognized to have occasional points with aphids. Widespread pests like aphids might be blasted off with a powerful spray from a hose. 

In additional superior infestations, neem oil can be utilized to manage them. In excessive infestations, various pesticides equivalent to spinosad spray could also be thought-about. Though, as they are saying, the most effective protection is an efficient offense. Offering numerous habitats for predatory bugs like ladybugs, the praying mantis, paper wasps, and many others, will assist preserve these pests in test. 


Not solely is Knautia macedonica deer-resistant, however it’s also thought-about to be usually illness free and doesn’t undergo from any main points. 

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Knautia going to seed
Knautia going to seed.

Q: Is Knautia a perennial?

A: Sure Knautia macedonica is a perennial. 

Q: Can I divide Knautia?

A: Sure, a Knautia plant might be divided each 3-4 years within the spring. 

Q: How large do Knautia develop?

A: Knautia macedonica can develop 1.5-2 ft tall and huge. 

Q: Do Knautia make good reduce flowers?

A: They make stunning reduce flowers. Since they’re smaller in measurement, they make wonderful fillers in flower preparations. 

Q: Must you in the reduction of Knautia?

A: If you wish to stop your Knautia macedonica from self-seeding you may in the reduction of spent flowers. As a result of they’re perennials, you may depart the stems and seed heads over winter as forage for birds. 

Q: Are Knautia hardy?

A: Knautia macedonica crops are hardy perennials from zones 5 by means of 9. Most can take full solar to partial shade, and wealthy soil isn’t utterly essential to develop them. 

Q: Does Knautia self-seed?

A: Sure! It should readily self-seed and unfold 12 months after 12 months except you recurrently deadhead the spent flowers. 

Q: Are you able to develop Knautia in pots?

A: Sure, they are often grown in containers as nicely. 

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