These long-blooming flowers add pretty garden color.

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Scabiosa is a genus of flowers that look a little like sewing accoutrements. These flowers are also called pincushion flowers, and they belong to the family Dipsacaceae. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, they “resembl[e] a pincushion full of pins, [and] each Scabiosa flower has stamens that protrude well beyond the curved surface of the flower head.” They’re noted for their appearance, but they’re also prized for their long blooming season, as they can bloom from spring to frost in the right conditions.

About Pincushion Flowers

Scabiosa species get their common name from the fact that they resemble pincushions. Their protruding stamens look like pins pushed into the flower head. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, Scabiosa “bloom begins in midsummer [and] continues until frost if flowers are deadheaded or cut regularly. [They are] good in mixed or mass plantings, excellent cut flowers, and are not usually browsed by deer.” They can grow to a foot tall and wide.

How To Plant Pincushion Flowers

These flowers thrive in full sun with moderate to regular water, though they can tolerate drought conditions. When you plant them, keep in mind that they require well-drained soil and will not thrive in extremely wet conditions. Once they’ve been seeded in the garden in a spot with plenty of sun, water them regularly and keep an eye on their progress. To ensure the plants bloom from season to season, it’s important to deadhead the flowers, remove spent foliage, and cut them regularly. They make for good cut flowers, so that shouldn’t be too much of a garden hardship. They also make wonderful additions to arrangements and look lovely gathered together in a simple vase.

Types of Pincushion Flowers

Scabiosa columbaria is a related perennial and produces lavender, blue, white, and pink flowers. They’re popular plantings in the South because they bloom all year long. Of this species, ‘Butterfly Blue’ and ‘Pink Mist’ are popular hybrids to plant. Scabiosa atropurpurea is also known as mourning bride. It’s an annual that’s sometimes sold as S. grandiflora. It has a wide variety of flowers in a shade range from deep purple to bright pink and white. Scabiosa caucasica is a perennial with blue, lavender, and white flowers.

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Pincushion flowers are great additions to cutting gardens in particular, but we love seeing them wherever they're planted. Do you plan to plant any in your garden this year? 

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