Perennial Favorites: Scabiosa

20 Mar

Hello again,

After writing the previous post, I started thinking about the perennials I really love and all the information I have learned and gathered from different books and sites. I thought that it might be useful to others to share all that I have learned from personal experience growing certain perennials and the information I have gathered from all the different books and sites. Different books share different tidbits about perennials which is why I love to read any and all books (and websites) that I can. Some will actually tell me if something is considered invasive while others just say that the plant is “vigorous” or some other tag word that usually means it will take over your garden. For me, I don’t want anything that doesn’t behave. I don’t have the ability to control and dead head plants to keep them from spreading everywhere and through other perennials. So now I read thoroughly on each plant I consider before I get it. I have had a few times that I bought something without researching first and ended up with a plant that I still battle years after trying to eradicate it from the flower beds. I have also lucked out sometimes with really wonderful flowers (like Scabiosa) that I can’t get enough of. So just because it is sold on a store shelf, does not mean it is something you should consider buying. To help people maybe discover new perennials that are quite wonderful, I would like to share the plants I have discovered and why they are worth growing. Maybe it will help someone else discover a new favorite as well. 🙂

pincusion flower

Photo Taken by Heather Vanderdeen – August 2013

So today I chose to talk about a plant I stumbled on more than 10 years ago and have loved since the first season I bought it. It’s name is Scabiosa which sounds kind of ugly for a perennial that is quite beautiful. It’s common name is pincushion Flower which suits it better because of the way it’s stamens peek up above the petals which looks like little pins in a pincushion. 🙂 I have included a photo (that I took myself) on the left that shows one of the flowers from my plant last year.

In short, I love it because here in zone 3, it is the MOST well-behaved, easy care plant I have EVER found. It behaves so well that I wish it would spread a little more so I could divide it into more plants. LOL It doesn’t go to seed here and I am guessing that maybe the season isn’t quite long enough for that to happen. The flowers last so long and they are a beautiful pastel purple. It grows in an almost perfect mound and I have not had to divide it yet even though I would like to create more plants. It flowers beautifully even though it is in partial shade. The bees and butterflies love it which is another bonus. I have not ever seen it affected by disease or other pests which is great. It almost sounds too good to be true. lol But that is why I love it so much. If it would be in other conditions, it may behave differently (i.e-warmer zone or different soil) but I am not sure. According to anything I have read on it, it is well-behaved in many areas.

Below I will share the information I have gathered from different sources and will list where I got it from as well.

Veseys – “pincushion flowers bloom all summer and are outstanding! Domed, lace-edged flowers about 3″ across with a 1½” disc of silvery white. Superb shades of lavender and blue on long, wiry stems. Height 24-36″. ” 

Fine Gardening – “Noteworthy characteristics: long blooming period; attracts butterflies; easy to grow in proper conditions.
Care: Prefers medium, well-drained soil in full sun, but tolerates part shade. Intolerant of wet soils, especially in winter. Deadhead to encourage additional bloom. Divide and replant in fresh soil every 3 years.”


– in the book Larry shares that Scabiosa is easy to grow, especially in cooler climates. Deadheading does help them bloom for longer.

– Scabiosa got its name because it was once used to treat scabies and other causes of itching. However it is no longer considered a medicinal plant. He also states that he is surprised it isn’t more popular and I definitely agree.

Book – Reader’s Digest CAREFREE PLANTS

– preferred soil ph – Neutral to slightly alkaline. – prefers full sun to partial shade

– each flower lasts several days which makes them ideal for cut flowers

– a thin mulch will help keep the soil cool and moist, which is the way that Scabiosa likes it.

I hope this helps to answer some questions you may have about this beautiful perennial. I have been disappointed that I haven’t ever seen it again as a plant for sale in garden centres I visit because it is such a wonderful plant. Maybe it just isn’t popular enough…. yet. I hope to spread the word to friends and family about this wonderful plant and maybe get more people interested in it. I have yet to read anything very bad about it. You can buy seeds though from many places which is what I have done this year to grow more plants. Thanks for taking time to read about this perennial favorite of mine!


Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Perennial Favorites: Scabiosa

  1. Anonymous

    March 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

    This is a great blog! Thank you!

    • heatherv11

      March 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for your kind words! 🙂


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