Scabiosa, Pincushion Flower, Mourning Bride

Posted by

Lawn & Garden

Scabiosa is a type of annual flower that produces large flowers resembling a pincushion with numerous yellow or white stamens. The plant is native to southern Europe and is commonly known as pincushion flower or mourning bride. The original flowers had a sweet fragrance.

Scabiosa can grow up to 21/2 feet tall, but modern varieties are shorter. The plant is characterized by a multitude of branches and comes in white, pink, lavender, and deepest maroon colors. The name “mourning bride” comes from the deep maroon shade. Both double and single forms of scabiosa are available.

Scabiosas require moderately fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. They are sensitive to water and require watering in the morning so that the plant can dry off before nightfall. The plant should be planted outdoors after the frost danger has passed, with a spacing of 8 to 15 inches depending on the variety. The taller varieties will require staking, but the shorter ones can do without if protected from high winds.

Propagation of scabiosa is done through seeds, which can be sown outdoors after the frost danger has passed. The seedlings should be thinned to the proper spacing. For earlier bloom, sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before outdoor planting. Seeds germinate in 10 to 15 days at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scabiosa is a popular plant for cottage gardens and mixed borders. It can also be grown in greenhouses or sunrooms through fall and winter and makes an excellent cut flower.

Scabiosa has many related varieties, including Blue Cockade, Dwarf Double, Giant Imperial, Double Mixed, Ace of Spades, and Ebony and Ivory. Blue Cockade has double flowers of rich, lavender-blue and is a tall variety. Dwarf Double is a mix of colors, and Giant Imperial features large flowers on long stems. Double Mixed has fragrant, fully double flowers in purple, deep crimson, white, and pink. Ace of Spades is deep maroon, while Ebony and Ivory is a mix of white and deep red-black.

The scientific name of scabiosa is Scabiosa atropurpurea.

For more information, check out these links:

  • Annual Flowers. Discover your favorite annual flowers, organized by color, sunlight, soil type, and height to help you plan your garden.
  • Annuals. Learn about all the annuals that can enhance your garden, beyond just flowers.
  • Perennial Flowers. Complement your annuals with these delightful perennial flowers, also organized by height, soil type, sunlight, and color.


1. What is Scabiosa?

Scabiosa is a plant genus that belongs to the honeysuckle family. It is also known as Pincushion Flower or Mourning Bride. The plant is native to Europe, but it can also be found in other parts of the world. The flowers of scabiosa come in various colors such as white, blue, pink, and purple. The plant grows up to 24 inches tall and blooms from late spring to early fall.

2. How do you care for Scabiosa?

Scabiosa requires full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil. It is drought-tolerant and does not require frequent watering. However, it is recommended to water the plant deeply once a week. Deadheading the spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms. Scabiosa can be propagated by seed or division. Division should be done in the early spring or fall.

3. What is the symbolism of Pincushion Flower?

Pincushion Flower symbolizes purity, love, and admiration. It is also believed to have healing properties. In the Victorian language of flowers, Pincushion Flower represents a steadfast and loyal love. It is a popular choice for wedding bouquets and floral arrangements.

4. Is Scabiosa edible?

Scabiosa is not commonly consumed as food. However, the leaves and flowers of some species of scabiosa are used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as fever, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any medicinal plants.

5. How do you attract pollinators to Scabiosa?

Scabiosa is a favorite among pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. To attract these pollinators, plant scabiosa in an area with plenty of sunshine and water regularly. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides that can harm pollinators. Planting other pollinator-friendly plants such as lavender, salvia, and coneflower can also help attract these beneficial insects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *