Scabiosa 'Ultra Violet'

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 September
Bloom Description: Deep purple blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Best grown in light, medium moisture, well-drained soils with a neutral pH in full sun. Good drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Allow soils to dry between waterings. Plants tend 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. Plants are generally intolerant of high heat and humidity, and do not grow well in the deep South (south of USDA Zone 7). Remove spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.

‘Ultra Violet’ does not produce viable seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scabiosa, commonly called pincushion flower, is a genus of about 80 species of annuals, biennials and perennials primarily from the Mediterranean region but also from other parts of Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, Asia and Japan.

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

‘Ultra Violet’ is a vigorous, clump-forming pincushion flower that typically grows to 18-24” tall. Deep purple-blue flowers bloom singly on strong, stiff stems from late May to late summer. The center cushions of these flowers have protruding stamens resembling pins in a pincushion, hence the common name. Grayish-green foliage features entire, lance-shaped, basal leaves and pinnately-lobed stem leaves. U.S. Plant Patent PP14,038 issued July 29, 2003. It should be noted that plant patent documents designate ‘Ultra Violet’ as a cultivar of S. caucasia. It was apparently discovered growing in a mass planting of S. caucasia ‘Blue Pacific’. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) currently lists this plant as Scabiosa ‘Ultra Violet’.


No serious insect or disease problems. Must have well-drained soil to thrive. Watch for aphids and whiteflies. Powdery mildew may occur.


Small groups or mass. Borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens or containers.