Pincushion Flower

Scientific Name:  Scabiosa atropurpurea

Light: Full sun

Zone: Annual

Height:  18 to 24 inches

Width:  9 to 12 inches

Flowers: May to September; Flowers come in shades of red, white, yellow, pink, blue and purple.


Fall Color:

Butterflies: attracts


Hummingbird:  attracts

Deer Resistant:  Yes

Insects/Pollinators:  attracts

Native: No, native to Mediterranean

Idea Garden:

Propagation:  Sow 4 to 6 weeks before last frost.  Barely cover as light aids germination.  Transplant to cell packs or large containers when the first true leaves appear.  Grow transplants at 50 to 55 F.  Harden off and transplant outside after the last frost.  Seeds can also be planted after last frost date.  Successive plantings every 2 to 3 weeks until midsummer give the best quality flowers and pods.

Seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days at 70 to 75 F.



This popular annual gets its common name of from its long, gray stamens that protrude like “pins” from the dense “cushion” of the flower.

Best performance is in climates with cool summers with plants generally intolerant of high heat and humidity.  So scabiosa is usually grown as a cool season annual in Carroll County.  Deadheading spent flowers encourages additional blooms but spent flower heads remain attractive and can be left in place for ornamental interest.

Cultivars / Varieties

‘Ace of Spades’ – highly fragrant, double flowers are very dark brown, almost black. The plants grow to 3’ tall.

Beaujolais Bonnets – 24”; Rich burgundy-centered flower with lighter rosy shaded outer petals & contrasting white stamens. Striking, easily grown color for containers, landscape.

Black Knight –  32”; Strong stemmed. Exotic black flowers tipped with white-dotted stigmas. Excellent  cutflower.

Blue Cockade – 46”; Light blue or purplish flowers up to 2″ in diameter. Excellent cutflower.

CutBrite Formula Mix – 32”; Strong stemmed. 7 Extra bright strong colors. Excellent cutflower.

‘Dwarf Double Mix’ – double flowers in shades of red, purple, white an pink on 1 ½’ tall plants.

‘Double Mix’ – 3’ tall plants with flowers in shades of red, white, pink, purple and blue.

Fata Morgana – 40”; Unusual blushing pinkish-yellow, blends well with many other colors and makes a beautiful show all on its own. Erect stems and durable blooms. Good  cutflower.

Fire King – 32”; Strong stemmed. Bright red flowers. Excellent cutflower.

Night and Day – 3 ft; Striking blend of pure white and deepest purple black. Delicate fresh fragrance.

Salmon Queen – 36”; deep, orange-pink flowers are double and long-lasting flowers.

Snowmaiden – 36”; Brilliant pure white flowers. Long strong stems. Excellent cutflower.

Summer Fruits – 32-36”; Strong stemmed. Formula mix of bright fruity colors ranging from pink through raspberry to blackberry. Excellent cutflower


Scabiosa atropurpurea – Missouri Botanical Garden

Specialty Cut Flowers by Armitage & Laushman

Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler

The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski

Recommended for Wildlife by

Pincushion Flower – Cornell University

Photo Credits

 Jukka Helnonen, CC BY-ND-2.0

Additional information






Loam, Moist

Flower Color

Blue, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow

Flower Season

Spring, Summer

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Hummingbird, Nectar

Notable Features

Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Long Blooming, Winter Interest

Local Availability



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