Scabiosa / Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa japonica var. alpina ‘Ritz Rose’ – A compact Scabiosa with soft rose disk-like blooms from May right through to October over glossy, finely cut foliage. Due to its size, it is an ideal foreground specimen for mixed perennial borders and also works well in containers, provided it is not overwhelmed by adjacent foliage. Grows 8″ high by 8-12″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ – The standard among Scabiosas, much in part to its long flower display and reliable performance. This Perennial Plant of the Year in 2000 bears 2″ wide lavender-blue flowers from May right through to frost. It has finely cut grey-green foliage and is a virtual butterfly magnet. Grows 12-18″ high and wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Scabiosa caucasica – The most common species of Scabiosa found in gardens, it bears very large blooms (up to 3″ wide) of lavender, pink, blue and white (‘Perfecta Alba’ = fringed double white flowers) from June to October. It was introduced to British gardens in 1803 and has long been a favoured cut flower. Needs deadheading. Grows 18-30″ high by 12-18″. Zone 4.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Misty Butterflies’ – A beautiful combination of soft lilac blue and pale pink makes it a perfect addition to gardens relying on pastel colours. These are borne from June to September on compact plants with deep green basal leaves. As with most Scabiosas, it prefers part to full sun with good soil drainage. Grows 10-12″ high by 10-12″ wide. Hardy to zone 4.

Cephalaria gigantea (syn. Cephalria tartarica) – Also known as Giant Scabiosa (it is closely related) this native of Turkey and the Caucasus bears 2.5″ wide primrose yellow flowers from June to August on very tall stems. Overall it is a bit wiry looking but is a good choice for a cottage garden and combines well with ornamental grasses. Grows 6-8′ tall by 24″ wide. Hardy to zone 3.

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