- Author: Leslie E. Stevens
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Leslie E. Stevens UCCE Master Gardener
PERENNIAL PINCUSHION FLOWER
Planting Zone: Sunset zones 1 – 10, 14 – 24
Size: 1-1/2 – 2-1/2 feet high, 1 – 2 feet wide
Exposure: full sun except in hottest areas where it needs partial shade
Bloom season: spring through fall
Pruning needs: deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms
Water needs: moderate water once established
Snapshot: These cheery bloomers earn their common name from the tiny stamens that stick up from the flower's round center, mimicking a pincushion. They are available in shades of blue, lavender, pink or white flowers making them a valued addition to perennial beds.
The clumping perennial features lance-shaped grayish-green foliage supporting long-stemmed blooms that wave in the breeze and add movement to the garden. They also make excellent cut flowers.
Scabiosa prefers good drainage and is subject to rot in water-logged soils especially in winter. Otherwise, it is an easy-care plant with few disease or pest problems. It requires little if any fertilizer under normal growing conditions.
The plant spreads slowly over time, rewarding the patient gardener with a bounty of new offshoots. Regular deadheading assures a long boom season. Thin plants every three-to-four years to avoid overcrowding.
Scabiosa grows easily from seed and also is normally available as small container plants at local nurseries during the growing season. It is particularly well-suited to San Luis Obispo County's milder summer climate areas.
An added bonus—butterflies love them!