Annual Scabious

White-Scabious-Thumbnail-opIt’s almost the end of August and my annual flowers are still churning out lots of lovely fat buds and beautiful blooms. Particularly striking right now are my Scabious plants. They are in fact short lived perennials but are best treated as hardy annuals… apparently.

I’m not sure if this is a marketing tactic by some of the seed companies or if they truly produce the best flowers in their first year. So when they have finished flowering I will cut them back and give them a good feed, mulch them with compost and keep them going to see what happens next spring. This year some of mine have grown to about 80cm tall, that’s almost three feet. They most definitely need support in the form of netting or canes & twine.

Scabiosa atropurpurea is commonly called the pincushion flower… you can see why when you get in close to see the detail. They have interesting pale green buds which fatten and turn brighter just before the flowers appear. Then the tiny individual flowers link up to form one beautiful bloom.


They are amazing. Butterflies and bees love them



There are many different “annual” varieties to choose from. I’m growing several this year.
All lovely so far.

  • Scabiosa ‘Black Cat’ is crimson / black and grows to a height of 1 metre/over 3 feet
  • Scabiosa ‘Tall Double Mixed’ flowers in shades of white, pink, mauve and red and also reaches 1 metre/over 3 feet
  • Scabiousa ‘Blue Cushion’
  • Scabiosa ‘Burgundy Beau’ is the shortest of this bunch reaching just 45cm/18 inches tall.


I would be very interested to hear your views. What’s your verdict about Scabious?
Have you managed to keep them going for more than one season?

Update 24th January 2017. My scabious plants carried on flowering and were quite hardy through the UK winters of 2015 and 2016. We’ve had exceptionally mild winters for the past two years and I mulched around the scabious with home made garden compost which both of which must have helped them to keep producing flowerslong into autumn. I’ll keep some going for summer 2017 and sow some new seeds this spring to compare the vigour of both groups of plants.

Hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend.
Happy Gardening.  Gillian 🙂

7 thoughts on “Annual Scabious

  1. Gorgeous examples! I’ve always loved scabious, esp. the blue ones. I grew them once, but was discouraged by their floppiness & lack of longevity. Perennials and *self-sowing* annuals have become what grows in my gardens. I keep intending to make a bed for annual cut-flowers, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m generally overwhelmed in the spring! 😉

    1. Yes, I agree Eliza, they are quite floppy. Just providing some netting (pea and bean net stretched horizontally) does the job for me. Even then the stalks grow quickly and some bend into interesting shapes. I actually quite like that. I think that a country garden should produce things that are a little twisted and less than perfect. It sounds to me that you have some lovely mixed borders with perennials and annuals. You’ve got it sorted!

  2. I have some coming into their 2nd season now, they have gotten huge with lots of flowers ready to bloom, I have also sown some mixed just for a few out the front.

    1. Right…that’s really good to know Jill. I will keep them going this winter and hopefully mine will perform well next year too.

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