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SCABIOSA columbaria

Image of Scabiosa columbaria

James H. Schutte

Family

Dipsacaceae

Botanical Name

SCABIOSA columbaria

Plant Common Name

Pincushion Flower

General Description

A smaller, more finely textured version of pincushion flower, this short-lived hardy perennial is native over much of Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. Appearing from late spring to late summer, the flat lilac-blue flower heads are singly borne on long slender peduncles that emerge from the bases of the dissected stem leaves. Comprising numerous tiny individual flowers, the flower heads have fringed edges and a central bristle of protruding stamens. The wiry flower stems arise from a basal clump of scalloped oval gray-green leaves. Butterflies and hummingbirds flock to the blooms. Among its cultivars is the floriferous and compact 'Butterfly Blue'. Its yellow subspecies ochroleuca is also well worth growing.

This charming and easy perennial grows best in full sun and fertile well-drained acid to alkaline soil. Deadhead regularly to encourage continued bloom. A splendid companion for summer-blooming campanulas, veronicas, foxgloves, and verbascums, it is a natural for perennial borders and cottage gardens. The long-lasting blooms are perfect for cutting. It self-sows freely and may become a pest in some gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Mediterranean, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Yellow, Pink, Light Blue, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes