How to Grow Scabiosa Flower (Pincushion Flower)

If you’re looking for a vibrant addition to your flower garden, try Scabiosa.

This easy-to-grow plant thrives in various conditions and adds an exotic touch to any garden.

Not only does it attract butterflies, but it also offers a delightful morning spectacle.

 

About Scabiosa

What is Scabiosa?

Scientifically known as Scabiosa spp., the pincushion flower belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family and originates from Europe and Asia.

It forms low mounds, typically 12 to 36 inches tall, with hairy, lobed leaves.

The flower blooms from late spring to early fall, showcasing colors like white, pink, purple, blue, and burgundy.

These dome-shaped flowers thrive in full sun to partial shade and prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. They are adaptable to hardiness zones 3 to 9.

What is Scabiosa?
What is Scabiosa?

 

Types of Scabiosa

Scabiosa atropurpurea: An annual plant with deep burgundy flowers, growing 2 to 3 feet tall.

Scabiosa caucasica: A perennial with blue, white, and violet flowers, reaching 1 to 2 feet in height.

Scabiosa columbaria: A perennial type, 1 to 2 feet tall, with light blue flowers.

Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’: A perennial with lavender-blue flowers, 1 to 1.5 feet tall.

Types of Scabiosa
Types of Scabiosa

 

Benefits of Scabiosa

Scabiosa adds beauty to gardens from summer to early fall and attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, crucial for ecosystem health.

Its blooms are perfect for cut flower arrangements and crafts.

The plant is easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and contributes to soil health.

Historically, Scabiosa has been used in traditional medicine and symbolizes love and peace.

Benefits of Scabiosa
Benefits of Scabiosa

 

Propagation

From Seeds

Gather seeds from mature flowers in late summer to early fall.

Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost, maintaining a temperature of 70-75°F (21-24°C) and keeping the soil moist.

Move seedlings outdoors after the last frost, spacing them 12-18 inches apart.

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Propagation From Seeds
Propagation From Seeds

 

Division

Divide plants in early spring or late summer. Gently separate the root ball into sections with shoots and roots, then replant immediately at the same depth, watering well.

 

Cuttings

Take cuttings in late spring to early summer. Choose healthy, non-flowering shoots about 3-4 inches long, remove lower leaves, and dip in rooting hormone.

Place cuttings in a well-draining medium, keeping them warm and humid until roots form (about 4-6 weeks). Then move them to individual pots or the garden.

Propagation From Cuttings
Propagation From Cuttings

 

How to Grow Scabiosa

Preparation

Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

Scabiosa thrives in neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Improve soil fertility by adding compost or well-rotted manure to the top 6-8 inches. If the soil is too acidic, add lime to raise the pH.

Use fresh, high-quality seeds from a reputable source.

Some perennial Scabiosa seeds benefit from cold stratification: place seeds in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 2-4 weeks to improve germination.

 

How to Grow Scabiosa Flowers (From Seeds)

Starting Seeds Indoors

Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost date. Use seed trays or small pots filled with a sterile, well-draining seed starting mix.

Sow seeds on the surface of the moistened soil mix and lightly press them in. Do not cover the seeds, as they need light to germinate.

Cover the containers with a clear plastic cover to maintain humidity. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Maintain a temperature of 70-75°F (21-24°C).

Starting Seeds Indoors
Starting Seeds Indoors

 

Transplanting Seedlings

Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them outside for a few hours each day, increasing the time over a week.

Transplant seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Space the seedlings 12-18 inches apart to allow adequate air circulation and room for growth.

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Apply a thin layer of mulch around the plants to help retain soil moisture. Water the plants regularly, especially during dry periods.

Transplanting Seedlings
Transplanting Seedlings

 

How to Care for Scabiosa

Light

Ensure the planting site receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

 

Soil

Choose well-draining soil. Scabiosa prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soil (pH 7.0-7.5).

 

Water

Water once a week when there is no rain and twice a week during drought conditions. Water at the base of the plants to avoid wetting the foliage, which helps prevent fungal diseases.

 

Mulch

Apply a thin layer of mulch around the plants to help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use organic mulches such as compost, straw, or shredded bark.

 

Fertilizer

Early growth: Apply fertilizer with a 1:1 nitrogen to potassium ratio at 100-150 PPM.

Later stages: Increase the nitrogen to potassium ratio to 1:1.5 with 150 PPM nitrogen and 225 PPM potassium. Adjust phosphorus levels to 20-40 PPM.

 

Pests And Diseases

Watch for aphids and control them with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Ensure good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew.

Water the plants in the morning so foliage can dry out during the day. Check regularly for spider mites and other pests, and treat as necessary.

 

Winter Care

Perennials: In colder regions, protect perennial Scabiosa plants by applying a layer of mulch or straw over the root zone to insulate against freezing temperatures.
Annuals: Annual varieties will die off with the first frost and can be removed from the garden.

How to Care for Scabiosa
How to Care for Scabiosa

 

Harvest

Harvest Scabiosa flowers in the morning when temperatures are cooler, and the plants are well-hydrated.

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Cut flowers when they are fully open but before they start to decline.

Cut stems to the desired length, typically 12-18 inches, making a clean cut at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area for water uptake.

Harvest
Harvest

 

Preservation

Arranging

Place the cut flowers immediately in a bucket of clean, cool water to keep them hydrated.

Strip off any leaves that would be submerged in water to prevent rot and bacterial growth.

Arrange the flowers in vases with fresh water and flower food. Change the water every 2-3 days and recut the stems to keep them fresh.

Arranging
Arranging

Drying

Hang the flowers upside down in small bunches in a dark, well-ventilated area to dry.

This helps retain their color and shape. Allow the flowers to dry completely, which usually takes about 1-2 weeks.

Drying
Drying
How to Grow Scabiosa Flowers
How to Grow Scabiosa Flowers

Hope that the above guide helps you grow scabiosa flowers successfully. Follow us to get other interesting gardening guides.

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