Perennial Scabiosa

Big dark blue Scabiosa caucasica flower in a hand

Scabiosa is often referred to as the pincushion flower because of how its straight stamens topped with anthers come out of its dome-shaped center looking like pins in a pincushion.

Scabiosa is a lovely cut flower with long, straight (usually), wiry stems. It’s an easy to grow perennial that blooms mid-spring through late fall.

I’ve even had a few flowers into December, surviving frosts and even snow! But don’t count on that.

Color choices of Scabiosa caucasica are white or blue, with some individuals being pale blue and some a nice very dark blue— nice cooling colors to go with the hot colored flowers of the summer.

There are annual scabiosa flowers which provide a wider range of colors. And other perennial scabiosas used in landscaping, with shorter stems. But these perennials are the best for cutting. They’re easy care with big flowers, cool colors, and long, long stems.

Dark blue and white perennial scabiosas in a summer bouquet
Perennial scabiosas in a summer bouquet


2-2 ½ ft. tall and wide in bloom, with a cluster of basal leaves around a foot tall and wide when not in bloom.

3 White Scabiosa caucasica flowers on the plant
White perennial scabiosa in bloom
White Scabiosa caucasica in a hand
White perennial scabiosa


Full sun, good, fertile garden soil. I have grown these in good garden soil and once established gave them a deep watering every two weeks, and they did beautifully. I’d water more often in extreme heat.

Zones: USDA 3-8

Pale blue perennial scabiosa
Pale blue perennial scabiosa that comes in the Isaac House mix

Favorite Varieties:

Isaac House blend: This seed collection is a blend of white and blue flowers. The blues range from pale to dark and you may hit on an especially dark one. I’ve started a lot of them and some of the blue ones have been darker than the famed ‘Fama Blue’ described below! They’re very pretty.

Fama Blue and Fama White: These have larger flowers, and the blue is a very dark blue-though I have gotten even darker blue by seed, as described above. Both of these are available by seed and plant.

Blue scabiosa bud, closed tight
Blue scabiosa bud
Blue Scabiosa caucasica plant in bloom
Blue Scabiosa caucasica plant in bloom

Starting your Scabiosas:

This perennial flower is easy to start from seed in containers, and in Speedling trays.

They’re an old-fashioned cutting flower undergoing a well-deserved resurgence in popularity, making them more available. So look for them in 4” pots. Be sure to get the Scabiosa caucasica, not the landscaping species.


No pruning necessary, except to deadhead any unharvested flowers at bottom of stem or to the next node.

Dark blue scabiosa in a bouquet
Dark blue perennial scabiosa


Cut when outer petals are open.

The long wiry stems include the main flower and down partway are two side-stems with their flowers. You can cut the main flower stem and remove the side stems, or leave them on, or you can cut and remove the main flower early and allow the side stems to develop. Any way you choose.

Blue scabiosa flower with its pins out
Flower getting past its prime and its "pins" are coming out

Post-harvest Handling:

Normal post-harvest handling. Plunge into a clean bucket with warm water.

Scabiosa flower in a bouquet
Bouquet with scabiosa, lavender golden yarrow, feverfew, and alstroemeria