Knautia macedonica 'Mars Midget'
Common Name: knautia 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Ruby red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers neutral to alkaline soils. Locate in areas protected from wind. Promptly remove spent flowers to promote additional bloom. Plants perform best in climates with cool summer nights. Species plants in particular often struggle in the heat and humidity of the deep South where tall stems tend to twist and flop in the heat of the summer.

Species may self-seed under optimum conditions.

‘Mars Midget’ generally holds up better than the species because of its dwarf growth habit. This is generally a short-lived perennial. It may be grown from seed and may naturalize in the garden by self-seeding in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Knautia macedonica is an upright, clump-forming, somewhat short-lived perennial which typically grows 1.5-2' tall. Features deep purplish-red, domed, scabiosa-like flower heads (to 1.5" across) atop slender, branching stems. Deep green leaves are lightly lobed at the base of the plant, but deeply divided higher up. Long early summer to fall bloom period. Good fresh cut or dried flower.

Formerly known as Scabiosa rumelica.

Genus name honors German doctor and botanist Christoph Knaut (1638-1694).

Specific epithet is in reference to Macedonia on the Balkan Penninsula.

‘Mars Midget’ is a dwarf, clump-forming knautia seed strain that features domed, scabiosa-like, ruby-red flower heads (to 2” across) over a long early summer to autumn bloom period. Each flower head resembles a pin cushion subtended by a ring of bristly involucre bracts atop generally leafless stems. ‘Mars Midget’ is noted for its dwarfing habit, typically producing thin, branching stems rising to only 16” tall (species plants grow to 24-30” tall). This smaller habit generally results in a sturdier plant than the species. Basal leaves are pinnatifid and stem leaves are simple to pinnatifid.


No serious insect or disease problems. Plants may decline considerably by late summer in hot southern climates.


Mass in borders, cottage gardens, meadows or naturalized areas.