Cephalaria Species, Giant Pincushion Flower, Giant Scabious, Yellow Scabious

Cephalaria gigantea

Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cephalaria (sef-uh-LARE-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: gigantea (jy-GAN-tee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Scabiosa gigantea



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:



6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Concord, California

Richmond, California

Bow, New Hampshire

Yachats, Oregon

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Kalama, Washington

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin (2 reports)

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 8, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The big bold pinnate foliage is as valuable when young as the creamy, pale yellow flowers. The leaves form a low dense mound, while the tall wiry see-through flower stems above can reach 7'. The foliage takes up a lot of bed
space, but it stays low.

The flowers are good in cut arrangements, and in the garden they attract many beneficial pollinators. They show best against a dark background like a yew hedge. They aren't usually produced in great profusion. The flower stems tend to lodge in less than full sun and on windy sites. Cutting back hard promptly after flowering can induce rebloom.

The foliage tends to deteriorate as the summer progresses. This plant does not like heat or drought.

Self-sows lightly where happy.


On Jul 7, 2013, Jolanda40 from Amsterdam,
Netherlands wrote:

This is great perennial for the back of your border. It's getting very tall, 2.5 meter, showstopper for people passing by and the bees love them. Flowers have a delicate light yellow/greenish color. Perfect for a a more informal garden. I raised them from seed. This wasn't easy, you'll need absolutely fresh seeds en they need stratification (a cold period). I used the wintersowing technique and got 6 seedlings. This year I can harvest my own seeds!
Pictures are from seeds sown two years ago. One of my favourites in my garden!


On Aug 13, 2010, eroebroek from calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Grows as border in the Reader Rock garden in Calgary zone 3
Plants are 8 feet tall in mid August and a half dozen or so of them in a mass planting create a "flowered hedge " 5 feet wide by 20 feet long growing in full sun . Quite a spectacular plant . If I had grounds rather than just a garden I would certainly grow this one .


On Jun 16, 2009, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Yellow Cephalaria is a strong grower thriving in poor soils. Too rich a soil and/or too much water will cause rotting of the flower stems. Self seeds nicely and not invasive. Leave the dried flower stalks on the plant for winter interest.

added July 17 2009: Since this has started blooming I've noticed it's very attractive to bumble bee's! Theres seems to be one buzzing around it every time I look! Even now I just saw one and it's almost 8pm on a cloudy day!


On Jul 6, 2005, Dacooolest from Brandon, MB (Zone 2b) wrote:

An amazing plant!!! It has survived our harsh -45 degree winter, only to come back in the spring, reaching up to 9 feet! The blooms on my plant are yellow, unlike some of the pictures.