Scabiosa caucasica (Perfecta Series)
Common Name: pincushion flower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Pale lilac blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Best grown in light, well-drained soils with a neutral pH in full sun. Good drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Tends to rot in wet, poorly drained soils. Particularly intolerant of wet soils in winter, and benefits from a light, dry winter mulch. Best performance is in cool summer climates such as the Pacific Northwest. Generally intolerant of high heat and humidity, and does not grow well in the deep South (south of USDA Zone 7). Remove spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scabiosa caucasica, commonly called pincushion flower, is, as suggested by the specific epithet, native to the Caucusus Mountains. It is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows 18-24" tall and blooms from late May to mid-summer. Flowers (2-3" diameter) are lavender to blue (occasionally white), with an outer ring of frilly petals and a center cushion with protruding stamens resembling pins in a pincushion. Flowers bloom singly on strong, stiff stems. Grayish-green foliage features lance-shaped, entire or pinnately-lobed basal leaves and narrow pinnately-lobed stem leaves.

The Perfection Series of cultivars features plants with frilly outer petals. ‘Perfecta Blue’ or ‘Blue Perfection’ features outer petals of lilac blue. Plants sold as ‘Perfecta’ generally are the same as ‘Perfecta Blue’. ‘Perfecta Alba’ features outer petals of creamy white. Flowers bloom singly on strong, stiff stems from late May to late summer. Good fresh cut flower. Grayish-green foliage features entire, lance-shaped, basal leaves and pinnately-lobed stem leaves. The center cushions of these flowers have protruding stamens resembling pins in a pincushion, hence the common name.

Genus name comes from the Latin scabies meaning the itch in reference to the plant's rough leaves which could supposedly cure the itch.

Specific epithet means of the Caucasus.


No serious insect or disease problems. Must have well-drained soil to thrive.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens or cutting gardens.