Sunday, December 3, 2023
HomeGardeningMethods to Develop and Care For Pincushion Flowers

Methods to Develop and Care For Pincushion Flowers

Should you want extra bees and butterflies or whimsical vegetation in your summer time backyard, think about rising scabiosa! Additionally recognized 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 vegetation are drought-tolerant and simple to take care of, making them a plant-and-forget choice in lots of areas!

Our information will inform you the whole lot you should learn about rising an exquisite scabiosa plant in your backyard. They’re lovely as they dot your panorama. They’re immune to quite a lot of bugs and drought. The bee species and butterflies will thanks for summer time meals, too!

Fast Care Information

Widespread Title Scabiosa vegetation, pincushion flower, candy scabiosa
Scientific Title Scabiosa atropurpurea, Scabiosa spp.
Household Caprifoliaceae, the honeysuckle household
Peak & Unfold 2-3 toes tall, 9-12 inches extensive
Mild Full solar, 6+ hours of direct mild
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

Close-up of blooming Scabiosa flowers against a blurred green background. The flowers are medium in size, characterized by their round, cushion-like shape with a central cluster of protruding stamens surrounded by long thin blue-violet petals.
Pincushion flowers within the Scabiosa genus have flat flower heads that entice pollinators.

The genus Scabiosa (the botanical identify for the pincushion flower) is stuffed with flowers within the honeysuckle household, with a number of styles of pincushion flowers that principally 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 vegetation 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 vegetation come out in a panorama from a clump of shallow roots. They’ve skinny, tough foliage that provides them the identify “scabiosa,” the Latin phrase for scabies. This refers back to the scratchy texture of the leaves! 

Most pincushion flower vegetation 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 may develop in zone 3. Different varieties, like Scabiosa ‘Beaujolais Bonnets,’ can’t get sufficient summer time warmth and may develop as much as zone 11.

Each annual and perennial styles of pincushion flowers have white stamens. They are often present in nearly 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 slightly late-spring selection isn’t a foul factor!

As a result of the bloom interval for this flower is so lengthy, it’s a terrific supply of meals for pollinators, particularly butterflies. Bees are additionally very interested in 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 engaging Scabiosa atropurpurea vegetation are such adamant self-seeders, they’re thought of invasive within the state of California. Subsequently, for those who’re gardening there, it’s possible you’ll need to forego planting Scabiosa atropurpurea, though Scabiosa columbaria is sort of welcome and infrequently used as an alternative. 

Sorts 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 received you coated. Here’s a record of some of the preferred varieties that gardeners love. Keep in mind that these planted in non-native areas may change 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 nearly black blooms.

This pincushion has an interestingly-colored bloom that could be a deep maroon to nearly 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 possibly can get ‘Black Knight’ seeds at Botanical Pursuits, one of many few seed corporations 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 engaging blue petals that entice each butterflies and hummingbirds.

The engaging blue petals of this perennial plant aren’t solely butterfly attractants, however additionally they herald hummingbirds. It’s barely smaller than the final selection we coated, 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, possibly don’t overlook pink! This perennial dwarf selection brings in all of the bee species, butterflies, and hummingbirds too.

Plant these 12-inch tall vegetation immediately within the panorama, or dapple the backyard with containers crammed with 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 mild lavender-purple petals that entice butterflies.

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

With lengthy slender stems that want staking infrequently, the engaging pin-head of this Scabiosa atropurpurea cultivar frequent identify comes from its pretty violet-blue petals. 

Caring for Scabiosa Vegetation

Enticing scabiosa is without doubt one of the flowering vegetation which can be newbie pleasant since they don’t want a complete bunch of TLC to thrive via the summer time season to the primary frost in fall. Loads of solar, sufficient moisture, and low humidity gives 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 desire cooler temperatures.

Scabiosas love the summer time solar, in order that they’ll want full solar publicity with at the very least 6 hours of direct daylight each day. Should 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 vital, as they aren’t followers of humidity.

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

A scorching mid-summer day or a cold spring night received’t kill them off, however control the forecast to make sure the intense temperatures don’t stick round for too lengthy! Offering slightly afternoon shade on the most popular 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 vegetation 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 vital when rising scabiosa pincushion flowers.

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

When rising in an space that receives constant rain in early spring, you doubtless received’t have to water your flowers until you’re in a dry spell. Should you not often get rain, watering as soon as per week in order that they obtain one inch of water shall be sufficient to maintain your vegetation pleased.

An excessive amount of water will improve 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. Make certain 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 stage.

Scabiosa pincushion flower grows nicely in common soil however will look its greatest once you present loads of natural matter to the soil profile. Plant them in a flower backyard that has loads of compost and leaves combined into the soil for the perfect outcomes.

Select soil that’s loamy or sandy, and keep away from heavy clay soil. The scabiosa genus has shallow root techniques that want mild soils, so it’s simple for them to develop and obtain water. Free soil can also be vital for drainage. Keep away from potting soils with additional water retention until you plan to skip watering fairly typically.

Scabiosa pincushion flowers like a barely alkaline soil pH of 6.0-8.0 and are fairly tolerant of a impartial pH, so it is best to have the ability to plant them nearly 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 just 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 now and again 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 for those who don’t have any compost. Select a balanced choice like a 10-10-10. Liquid fertilizers might be utilized as soon as monthly, and slow-release fertilizers might 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 should be pruned, however doing so will assist the plant last more. Take away spent blooms in early fall to advertise new development so you’ll be able to have flowers all season lengthy. 

Because the small flowers are self-seeding, they will probably change into invasive, so take away flowerheads earlier than they go to seed so you’ll be able to hold your scabiosa inhabitants beneath management. The blooms make nice minimize flowers; you should use their lavender-blue shade to offset brilliant yellows and oranges.

Perennial varieties could should be separated and planted elsewhere each few years to make sure the vegetation have good airflow and sufficient rising circumstances. 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.

The easiest way to propagate annual and perennial varieties is thru seed germination. It can save you seeds to be planted subsequent 12 months, or you’ll be able to permit the vegetation 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 might be began indoors two weeks earlier than the final frost date.

As talked about within the final part, you’ll be able to 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 can final you some time!

Not solely does this offer you new vegetation, but it surely additionally reduces the danger of your present vegetation growing ailments as a result of lack of airflow and crowding.


Pincushion flowers actually solely offer you issues if rising circumstances aren’t proper, like an excessive amount of water or not sufficient full solar. These flowers and foliage are deer-resistant and usually immune to bugs and ailments, 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 vegetation as wanted, and monitor soil moisture.

In case your plant has loads of vitamins, plenty of sunshine, and acceptable water ranges, however you don’t see many flowers bloom in late spring, you would possibly have to deadhead spent blooms as quickly as they die, and also you’ll see new development very quickly. These is not going to 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 can be skinny and wiry. Sometimes, you would possibly see them falling over, which implies they should 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. Should 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 might be affected by pests reminiscent of aphids and whiteflies.

Scabiosa could also be subjected to the pests your different vegetation are attracting. Aphids and whiteflies each suck the sap out of vegetation and may trigger your flowers to have yellowing foliage, which begin to die. The best solution to eliminate these is to scrub 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 advantageous webbing in your vegetation. Yow will discover pesticides made for spider mites, or you’ll be able to wash them off with water.

Slugs and snails eat up scabiosa rapidly, so for those who discover slug injury, act quick! The simplest solution to eliminate them is to select them off. Should you assume they’re gross, put on some gloves. Slugs are nocturnal, so wait till it’s darkish outdoors and go slug looking 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.
Stop scabiosa ailments by spacing out vegetation and watering on the base.

Most ailments are attributable to extra moisture, so the easiest way to stop them is to area out your vegetation in order 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. Should you’re in a damp local weather, give your scabiosa loads of daylight to counter all of the moisture.

Fungal ailments are probably what you’ll be coping with.

Botrytis blight is a gray fungal downside. Early levels of the fungi look greyish, however it could 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 to be 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 mild infections of powdery mildew, however often eradicating the contaminated foliage and treating the remainder of the plant with neem oil is simpler. 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 ailments attributable to an excessive amount of water within the soil. Make sure your soil readily drains extra water and that it doesn’t pool up on the floor. Potted vegetation ought to have drainage holes, and vegetation within the floor could profit from being planted on a slight hill. Enable the soil to dry fully between waterings for those who are typically beneficiant with water, and don’t water your vegetation if it lately rained.

Should you’re frightened about fungal ailments, you should use fungicides to stop them from exhibiting up.

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Q: Is scabiosa annual or perennial?

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

Q: The place is the perfect place to plant scabiosa?

A: Plant your scabiosa in a sunny location that drains nicely. 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 best local weather. Take away flower heads earlier than they go to seed and divide clumps each few years to maintain them beneath management. Fortunately, they’re pretty as minimize flowers.

Q: Is scabiosa onerous to develop?

A: Scabiosa flowers are simple to develop for those who reside in a sunny, dry space. They’re more durable to take care of in humid climates.

Q: Do scabiosa vegetation 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 vegetation to develop much more flowers and lengthen your rising season. If you would like plenty of fairly blooms, it is best to 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 manage the inhabitants. They’re simpler to seek out at night time with a flashlight.

Q: What grows nicely with scabiosa?

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



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments