Botanical name: Scabiosa, Knautia
With a long flowering season, scabious are valued border perennials. Their colours and airy nature lend themselves to cottage garden plantings or naturalistic settings, while the shorter species are at home in the rock garden.
Thin stems are topped by pincushion-like flowers with a central tuft of short, curved petals, surrounded by longer, sometimes ruffled petals. Although blue and lavender are the core colours, white, pink, lemon and wine reds can also be found.
Perennial scabious like a sunny position in a soil that is well draining, neutral to slightly alkaline (chalky). Many, like S. caucasica will carry on flowering into early autumn if you keep dead heading.
Most scabious dislike soggy soils and shade. Though they can grow in acidic conditions, plants are likely to be short lived.
Did you know?
Scabious is the common name for a range on pincushion-flowered plants apart from Scabiosa, like Knautia (Macedonian scabious), Cephalaria (giant scabious), Succisella and Succisa ( devil's bit scabious).
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