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Scabiosa atropurpurea

Phonetic Spelling
scah-bee-OH-sah ah-tro-pur-pur-EE-ah
Description

The Pincushion Flower is a bushy, ornamental, flowering plant generally grown as an annual and is native to the Mediterranean countries. It gets its name from the flowers that resemble a pincushion loaded with needles. It grows best as an annual in cooler climates, but can persist as a perennial in warmer sites with mild winters. However, it does not perform at its best in areas that experience high temperatures and humidity south of USDA Zone 7. When grown in ideal conditions, it can self seed and, in some countries, is considered an invasive weed.

Grow in rich, alkaline soil high in organic matter and provide good drainage, as it will not tolerate wet feet. Plant in a site with full sun. The Pincushion Flower blooms from May to September and makes a good cut flower or an attractive addition to a dried flower arrangement. Deadheading will prolong bloom period; however, leaving the spent blooms on the plant may add interest to your garden. Plant from seed in the ground in spring and germination will occur as the soil warms. Seeds can also be started indoors with seedings planted 9 inches apart after all danger of frost is gone. Flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The genus name comes from the Latin scabies meaning the itch in reference to the plant's rough leaves. The species name comes from the Latin words atro meaning dark and purpureum meaning purple in reference to flower color.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: 

Due to its long stalk, this plant may need support or staking to keep an upright habit.  Aphids and mites are minor issues.  To prevent root rot, ensure that this plant is situated in an area with good drainage.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ace of Spades'
    Highly fragrant, double flowers, up to 3' tall.
  • ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’
    Burgundy flowers with white stamens on 24 inch high stems.
'Ace of Spades', ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’
Tags:
#hummingbirds#fragrant flowers#annuals#drought tolerant#beneficial insects#deer resistant#bushy#annual flowers#cutting garden#bee friendly#heat intolerant#humidity intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ace of Spades'
    Highly fragrant, double flowers, up to 3' tall.
  • ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’
    Burgundy flowers with white stamens on 24 inch high stems.
'Ace of Spades', ‘Beaujolais Bonnets’
Tags:
#hummingbirds#fragrant flowers#annuals#drought tolerant#beneficial insects#deer resistant#bushy#annual flowers#cutting garden#bee friendly#heat intolerant#humidity intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Scabiosa
    Species:
    atropurpurea
    Family:
    Caprifoliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    At one time, the plant was thought to cure scurvy.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa
    Distribution:
    West coast of United States and Texas, Central America
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Wheel
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Blooms from summer to frost on 2' stems that are above the cushion of foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Pinnatifid
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The basal leaves are oblong-spatulate to lyrate with toothed margins. Stem leaves are pinnatifid.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Long, wiry stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought