The Pincushion Flower: Types of Scabiosa Flower Plants and How to Plant Pincushion

Pincushion flowers are lovely plants that can be found in many colors and varieties. Let’s discuss the different types of pincushion flowers, how to plant them, and how they’re used by florists and houseplant lovers.
Mia Clark
Pincushion Flower

What Is a Pincushion Flower?

The pincushion flower belongs to the honeysuckle family. The name refers to the many species of the genus Scabiosa. Some of the most popular are:

  • Scabiosa atropurpurea – a red or purple pincushion flower, known as the mourningbride, mournful widow, or sweet scabious;
  • Scabiosa columbaria – a pale lavender or blue pincushion flower, known as the small scabious or dwarf pincushion flower;
  • Scabiosa caucasica – a light blue pincushion flower, known as the Caucasian scabious.

The common name comes from the flowers’ characteristic pincushion-like shape. They’re traditionally called scabious because their lush foliage can be used to treat skin diseases like scabies.

The plant itself is native to Africa, Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to North America, where it grows as a weed in meadows and open woodlands. Its stem grows up to 12-18 inches tall, and it blooms from late spring until the first frost.

Are These Flowers Annual or Perennial?

Some species of pincushion flowers – including Scabiosa atropurpurea – are annuals, which means they live for one growing season and then die. In warm climates, they may be evergreen, but in most places, they’ll die back in the winter and regrow from seed in the spring.

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Others, like Scabiosa caucasica, are perennials, which means they live for more than two years. They’ll die back in the winter, but they’ll regrow from their roots in the spring.

Why Are Scabiosa Flowers Worth Growing?

Pincushion flowers are popular among gardeners and florists for their long blooming period and attractive pincushion-shaped flowers. They’re also very easy to grow, and they’ll attract pollinators like butterflies and bees to your garden.

So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that will add color and interest to your garden for months, pincushion flowers are a great choice. Because there are many species and varieties of this plant, you can easily pick something that will complement the other plants in your garden.

How to Plant Pincushion Flowers?

If you want to grow pincushion flowers from seed, it’s best to start them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil and press them lightly into the soil. water the seeds well and keep them moist until they germinate.

Once the seedlings have two true leaves, you can transplant them into individual pots. When all danger of frost has passed, you can plant them outdoors. Choose a spot with exposure to full sun. If you live in a climate with hot summers, partial shade can work as well. The soil should be neutral to slightly alkaline in pH, well-drained, and rich in organic matter.

How to Care for Pincushion Flowers?

Pincushion flowers need to be watered regularly, although they’re drought-tolerant once established. Protect them from too much water in the winter, or the roots may rot. These plants are low-feeders and do well without any fertilizer.

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To keep pincushion flowers blooming all season, deadhead them regularly. You can also cut the plants back by a third after the first blooming period to encourage a second flush of flowers.

Where Can You Get Pincushion Flowers?

Pincushion flowers are readily available at most nurseries and garden centers. You can also find them online or at your local farmer’s market. There are many varieties to choose from, so take your time and pick the one that’s right for you. Here are some examples:

  • ‘Butterfly Blue’ with lavender flowers;
  • ‘Black Knight’ with burgundy flowers and white stamens;
  • ‘Fama White’ with large white flowers.

Whatever color or variety you choose, pincushion flowers are sure to add a touch of beauty and elegance to your garden.

How to Decorate Your Home with Pincushion Flowers?

Pincushion flowers make beautiful cut flowers and can be used in bouquets or as a standalone flower. They’re also popular in dried flower arrangements. If you want to dry your own scabious, cut them when they’re just beginning to open and hang them upside down in a dark, dry place.

If you like floral scents, you can also use pincushion flowers to make your own potpourri. Simply add the dried flowers to a mixture of other dried herbs and spices. Or, try adding them to homemade candles for a beautiful, natural fragrance.

Are Pincushion Flowers Worth Adding to Your Garden?

Pincushion flowers are definitely worth adding to your garden. They’re easy to grow, long-blooming, and attractive to pollinators. Plus, they make great cut flowers for bouquets and dried arrangements. So why not give them a try? You won’t be disappointed!

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