What is Scabiosa and Scabious?

The Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria), is also known as the pincushion flower, and is also called scabiosa. Scabiosa is the genus name that the Scabious is classified into. It is a low-maintenance perennial that has a long season of blooms. Find helpful facts and information on this beautiful flower.

Facts and Information on Scabiosa

Scabious is grown in zones 5-8 and grows to a height of 24” and 30” wide. It grows in a rounded form and has fine textured foliage. This flower is so pretty, it has always been one of my favorite flowers.


Beautiful Scabiosa Bloom

Scabious prefers full sun and moderately fertile well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5-7.5. It has wiry stems that bear solitary violet-blue flowers that resemble pincushions from summer into early autumn. The plants are heat-tolerant and pest-resistant.

They bloom on and off all winter long in the South. Plant them in odd-numbered groups in the border or use them in container plantings. Good companion plants include ‘Taplow Blue’ globe thistle, white gaura, ‘Kobold’ blazing star, ‘Alba Meidiland’rose, and speedwell.

Care of Scabious

Plant them 18-24” apart in spring or autumn. Apply a slow release granular plant food in spring. Cease feeding 6-8 weeks prior to first frost date. Apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer and winter to reduce weed seed germination, retain soil moisture, and keep soil temperatures stable.

Water them deeply when the soil is dry. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage reblooming. Plants will lightly self-seed in the landscape. Prune them back in the fall once frost withers the foliage, or leave them erect in warmer zones for winter viewing and occasional flowering.


Scabiosa has wiry stems

"Scabious Grows in Mounds"

Mound of Scabious

Propagation of Scabiosa

If the plants are in moderately fertile soil, they may be divided in spring every 3 years to maintain vigor. Dig around the root clump and lift them.

Use a sharp spade to slice through the root system. Reset portions that contain healthy roots and top shoots. Discard any pieces that don't have healthy roots and top shoots. Water deeply and apply 3” of organic mulch.

Some related species include the cultivar ‘Butterfly Blue’ which has purplish-blue flowers in midsummer, and ‘Pink Mist’ which bears purplish-pink flowers in midsummer.

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