Knautia macedonica 'Thunder and Lightning'
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: Reddish purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

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.

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.

'Thunder and Lightning' was discovered by Marc R. Laviana of Sunny Border Nurseries as a naturally occurring mutation of Knautia macedonia. Named for the lightning-shaped patterns created by its toothed light green and cream colored leaves, it grows 1 to 1.5 ft. in height and width. Its pincushion-shaped flowers are dark reddish purple and about an inch wide.

Problems

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

Garden Uses

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