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Scabiosa, Pincushion Flower 'Butterfly Blue'

Scabiosa columbaria

Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Scabiosa (skab-ee-OH-suh) (Info)
Species: columbaria (kol-um-BAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Butterfly Blue



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 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:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Light Blue


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

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:

Lincoln, (258 reports)

Birmingham, Alabama

Moody, Alabama

Citrus Heights, California

Glen Avon, California

JACUMBA, California

Knights Landing, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

Oildale, California

Pedley, California

Perris, California

Redding, California

Rubidoux, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Sonoma, California

Sunnyslope, California

Truckee, California

Fort Collins, Colorado

Indian Hills, Colorado

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

Seymour, Connecticut

Daytona Beach, Florida

Deltona, Florida

High Springs, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Madison, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Fishers, Indiana

Logansport, Indiana

Storm Lake, Iowa

Wichita, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Brusly, Louisiana

Lutcher, Louisiana

Boston, Massachusetts

Haydenville, Massachusetts

Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Woburn, Massachusetts

Fountain, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

Hopkins, Minnesota

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Florence, Mississippi

Springfield, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Norfolk, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Hudson, New Hampshire

Browns Mills, New Jersey

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

North Tonawanda, New York

Putnam Valley, New York

Smithtown, New York

Charlotte, North Carolina

Davidson, North Carolina

Columbus, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Mount Orab, Ohio

Owasso, Oklahoma

Cave Junction, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Olivet, South Dakota

Knoxville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Baytown, Texas

Cedar Creek, Texas

Cibolo, Texas

Cleburne, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

Garland, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Gilmer, Texas

Haltom City, Texas

Helotes, Texas

Joshua, Texas

Killeen, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

Mansfield, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Orange, Texas

Palestine, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Portland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

East Barre, Vermont

West Dummerston, Vermont

Charlottesville, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Woodbridge, Virginia

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

MOXEE, Washington

Vancouver, Washington(2 reports)

Petersburg, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 14, 2013, mehitabel45 from Whidbey Island, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

It's my third or fourth year with mine, and it didn't do as well for me this summer. Of course, we didn't have our usual cool weather, and I didn't water or deadhead much, and that probably had something to do with it. (duh)
I'm dividing it to rejuvenate it for next year. I'll try to remember the update....


On Jan 5, 2013, DATURA12 from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant it blooms right up until frost and sometimes right through it. I bought it originally for a nectar plant for the butterflies. Its a staple in my garden.


On Jun 9, 2011, StellaElla from Graham, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A gorgeous color of light blue, blooms continue May-Sept here in Ontario. Very pretty addition to any cottage garden, especially if you'd like to attract fuzzy bees and butterflies. This plant thrives in my heavy clay soil!


On Mar 17, 2011, cghanks from Orange, TX wrote:

I am really impressed with this plant. I bought it last spring and it has bloomed all winter and is still blooming. I will try to grow it from seeds it has produced but will buy more if I find it at the nursery. It was left out in freezing weather all winter and it has just kept on going. Now it is attracting the butterflies!!!!!! VERY EASY TO GROW AND BEAUTIFUL!!!
I highly reccommend this plant to any here in Orange, TX


On Apr 23, 2010, MiniPonyFarmer from Gilmer, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is an absolute winner. It blooms here from March thru November nonstop. It suffers from no pests or diseases and looks fantastic all the time! Probably my favorite perennial because it is so hard working.


On Jul 8, 2009, littlelamb from Virginia Beach, VA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This little plant just wants to bloom all the time in my area. Even during the warmer part of winter, the plant would send up a few flowers. The stems easily bend so they weave themselves through other plants and look quite pretty. The only thing you need to do is to dehead to keep it tidy. I've cut all the flowers off and within a week, it has put up new flowers so it's pretty forgiving. Makes a wonderful plant near the front of the garden.


On Sep 18, 2007, BlackDogKurt from Seymour, CT wrote:

For me, I found the flowers to be a little boring. Even though I deadheaded the spent blooms regularly, mine always seemed a little scraggly, maybe becase the blooms didn't last very long. And it was a very short-lived plant for me, lasting just one season. Maybe I will try them again in a different location.


On Jun 26, 2007, Roy_Green from Adelaide Hills,
Australia (Zone 9a) wrote:

A wonderful perennial that performs on every front. Has cottage garden elegance yet is as tough as old boots. Has copped blasts of 110 F winds in high summer, as well as frosts down to 20 F, and it just stands up every day. Is reasonably drought-tolerant too - just the odd watering needed in our semi-Mediterranean Zone 9a climate in southern Australia.

The other brilliant thing about this flower is that it flowers much of the year. Is not too bad in cut-flower arrangements either.


On Jun 5, 2007, efbiosis from Oakland, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I'm a fan of the flowers. However it seems to host powdery mildew. Does not respond as quickly as I would like to fungicides or abatement measures.


On Aug 24, 2006, kizilod from Uxbridge, MA wrote:

When new leaves form on the base of this plant, they don't look like the more mature leaves. I thought I had a weed mixed in with the plant until I looked more closely. It is a wonderful, long blooming perennial.


On Apr 28, 2006, CBernard from Perris, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Blue pincushion flower is a hardy, prolific plant. I planted three in Fall 2004. The mature plants are full of blooms. Earlier this week, I counted 121 blooms in flower and more to come.

Update: September 26, 2006. The pincushion flowers are still blooming. They bloom all year around. Does anyone know when I am supposed to prune them?




On Apr 27, 2006, chinacat from Smithtown, NY wrote:

It blooms all summer long from late may untill early october in long island, New york.

Wire-like stems and pretty pale purple flowers, even spent blooms look interesting (like pincushions!), but it's best to deadhead for repeat blooming.

In the spring, plant starts out in a compact clump, tall stems emerge abouve the clump beginning in May.


On Apr 12, 2006, pbtxlady from Garland, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

My third-year pincushion flowers bloom almost year-round in my garden, disappearing only in January and February. They are large and in full bloom when everything else is still just coming up. They slack off a little in our hot summers, but do still flower. Pest free and no special care. Very attractive to butterflies and bees.


On Dec 4, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The scabiouses like neutral to slightly alkaline conditions.

Deadhead to prolong flowering. Divide the clumps every few years to stimulate growth. This plant can take pretty dry conditions and requires a well drained soil. It is especially important to keep it out of wet conditions in winter.

'Butterfly Blue' will flower almost continuously in frost-free areas except during very hot mid-summer weather.


On Nov 28, 2004, leisurlee from East Barre, VT (Zone 4a) wrote:

I've divided it, traded it, and basically paid no attention to it whatsover. It just keeps coming back year after year, providing prolific flowers through all but the heat of mid summer. It's dependable in my zone 4a garden. I've had the same plant for 5 full seasons now, growing in a front, full sun, southern exposed border.


On Mar 11, 2004, sweezel from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This perennial grows wonderfully for me in part shade. It blooms through the intense Texas August heat (with deadheading) and blooms into Christmas time here where I am almost in Zone 7b. January and February were the only months it did not have at least one bloom on it. Plus, the foliage is evergreen and looked great all winter.


On May 23, 2003, mishie from Bend, OR wrote:

I've grown this plant in several perennial gardens in Northern CA where summer temps can top 100 for many days running and in Central OR where winter temps are below freezing and frost can extend well into May. This plant performed brilliantly in both of those climates. It blooms and blooms, is a "good neighbor" for all sorts of others (color, not invasive), makes even beginning gardners look good and, a real bonus in my current home in Oregon, NOTHING seems to eat it...neither deer nor chipmunks, which devour many of my other plants. In my experience, this is a winner!


On Jan 30, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Butterfly Blue' is very short-lived; it may be treated as a biennial. Seed may be gathered, most will come true; rogue variants.