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Growing Scabiosa Flowers, A Favorite Nectar Plant | Flower Patch | North American Farmer

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Growing Scabiosa Flowers

About Scabiosa: Easy-to-Grow, Long-Stemmed and Charming Garden Flowers

by Frances Santos

Growing Scabiosa FlowersScabiosa is one of the showiest garden flowers that you can add to your garden. It’s just so serene and relaxing to see bountiful clumps of flowerheads stand above verdant foliage, gently swaying with the slightest breeze.

Scabiosa also beckons hummingbirds and butterflies on warm summer days. It is a favorite nectar plant of key pollinators such as bees, and interestingly it is also deer-resistant.

Scabiosa is commonly known as Pincushion flower, Scabious, Sweet Scabious and Mourning-bride. It belongs to Scabious family, which is native to Asia, Africa and Mediterranean region. It produces dome-shaped blooms that come in various shades of yellow, blue, red, pink, burgundy, purple, lavender, and white.

Scabiosa is either annual or perennial, endowed with long stems and neat, decorative foliage.

Scabiosa plants can grow up to 60 cm and are often mat forming so they are ideal for use as garden borders. Clusters of scabiosa plants form a fast-growing groundcover or plant smaller clumps on a rockery.

Scabiosa plants also make good companion plants for Pinks, Bellflower, Lady’s Mantle and Geranium.

Scabiosa Propagation

Scabiosa is propagated from division every two to three years. This also prevents overcrowding and promotes vigorous growth. Scabiosa is best propagated in the spring. Dig up the parent plant, separate two to three well-rooted stems and transplant to your desired location. Just make sure that the planting area has well-drained, humus, limy (alkaline) soil and well-lit. When propagated by cuttings, remove rooted plantlets. Other varieties self-seed, but if you want to start growing scabiosa from seeds, take note of the following:

Proper Timing – Start the seeds indoors. Perennials must be started at the beginning of spring or fall, whereas annuals are usually sown when the last frost date is over. Scatter the seeds and cover lightly with soil. Spacing is 30 to 40 cm apart. The germination process takes about 14 days at 20 to 25oC.

How to Grow Scabiosa

Scabiosa plants are easy to grow and thrive well in moist and alkaline soil. However, they also tolerate some drought and dry soils. They prefer full sun to light shade. Keep the soil moist especially during dry season, but do not overwater and make sure the spot has good drainage. These plants are not fussy at all, except if the soil has waterlogged conditions.

Care – Deadheading or pinching out spent blooms makes scabiosa plants bloom profusely. Stake plants that reach 3 inches or more to protect their delicate, wiry stems from the harsh wind. Generally, it is suggested to feed the plants with slow-release fertilizer (3:1:5) every 8 weeks. However, if the soil is well-prepared before planting, the plants may only require little feeding. The most ideal time to fertilize is during early spring or late spring. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Water scabiosa plants immediately after application.

Scabiosa Diseases

Scabiosa plants are not prone to diseases and pests. However, if your plants are situated in a planting area with poor circulation or too shady, they can be prone to stem rot, leaf spot, mildew and antharacnose. Pests that are most likely to attack Scabiosa are vine weevil, slugs and spider mites. Treat using insecticide or fungicide as necessary.