Scabiosa caucasica
Common Name: pincushion flower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: Caucasia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Lavener to blue, occasionally white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Culture

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 such as hay/straw or evergreen boughs. Also intolerant of high heat and humidity. 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.

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.

This species is uncommonly sold in commerce because of the availability of several excellent cultivars, e.g., see 'Alba' and 'Kompliment'.

Problems

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

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens or cutting gardens.