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Genus Scabiosa (Pincushion flower, Scabious)

Scabiosa Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' Photo/Illustration: Scott Kunst
skab-ee-OH-sah Common Name: Pincushion flower, Scabious
Scabiosa is a genus of about 80 species of annuals, biennials, and perennials mostly from the Mediterranean region. From mainly basal leaves arise thin stems topped by frilly, pincushion-like flowers, generally in summer. Smaller species are useful in rock gardens, while larger ones are welcome in borders or wild gardens.
Noteworthy characteristics: Pincushion flowers in blue, white, yellow, or pink that attract bees and butterflies. Good cut flower.
Care: Moderately fertile, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil in full sun. Won't tolerate excessive moisture in winter. Deadhead to prolong flowering, although the seedheads of some species are attractive. Divide perennials every three years and replant in fresh soil.
Propagation: Sow seed of annuals or biennials in early spring at 43° to 53°F indoors or in situ in mid-spring. Sow perennial seed in a cold frame as soon as ripe or in spring. Alternatively, divide or take basal cuttings in spring.
Problems: Infrequent.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Scabiosa

Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue' Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue'
(Pincushion flower)
(3 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This Scabiosa cultivar is a compact perennial with gray-green leaves and a long bloom period featuring pretty lavender-blue flowers that look like pincushions surrounded by frilly petals. It's nice when used as edging or in large groups in borders or rock gardens.