Scabiosa superba 'Mongolian Mist'

Common Name: pincushion flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Purple blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Grow in medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants must have good drainage to perform well. Plants tend to rot in wet, poorly-drained soils, particularly in winter. Best flowering occurs in cool summer climates. Plants are generally intolerant of the high summer heat and humidity in the deep South (south of USDA Zone 7). Remove spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scabiosa superba, commonly known as pincushion flower, is an herbaceous perennial that is native to mountain slopes, steppes and sand dunes in Mongolia, central to eastern China, Korea and eastern Siberia. It typically forms a rounded 9-12” tall foliage mound of narrow elliptic to oblong, dark green basal leaves. Showy pincushion-like flowers bloom in summer atop substantial stems rising above the foliage to 18” tall. Each flower head has an outer ring of petals with a central cushion featuring protruding stamens resembling pins in a pincushion.

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.

Specific epithet from Latin means superb.

‘Mongolian Mist’ has demonstrated superior flowers and a more vigorous form than the straight species. It was identified from a collection of species plants collected in the mountains of Inner Mongolia by representatives from Great Plants of Nebraska in 1997. It was released into commerce in 2004.


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


Borders, cottage gardens or cutting gardens. Rock gardens.