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Pincushion (Scabiosa) Flower Facts

purple scabiosa bloom

Did you know there are more than 1000 varieties of pincushion flowers – officially called Scabiosa? Whether you want to grow them yourself or you just appreciate bouquets featuring the blossoms, we’ve got all the fun facts about pincushion flowers you could ever want, so keep reading for more!

While you’re at it, find fabulous flower arrangements with pincushions for your favorite people today.

Pincushion Flower Growing Conditions

Want to grow pincushion flowers yourself? Here’s what they need to thrive:

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-11 (depending on variety)
  • Sun: Full sun (partial shade tolerated in warmer climates)
  • Soil Type: Moist but well-drained
  • Soil pH: Neutral, alkaline

Scabiosa Comes in Many Colors

Pincushion flowers come in pink, white, cream, lavender, burgundy, and red. The showy blooms can be up to 3 inches in size.

Pincushion Flower Varieties

There are more than 1000 varieties covering about 30 species of pincushion flowers. Some of the most popular Scabiosa varieties include:

  • ‘Pink Mist,’ which features pink, nearly-translucent flowers
  • ‘Butterfly Blue,’ popular in weddings, has flowers that are closer to lavender than blue
  • ‘Fama White,’ which thrives in cooler climates and has big, white blooms
  • ‘Black Night,’ a variety with burgundy flowers that have prominent white stamens

Scabiosa Represents True Love

In general, the pincushion flower radiates peace, purity, warmth, and love, making it the perfect gift for the important people in your life. However, the dark flowers of the species Scabiosa atropurpurea (sweet scabious) represent death and widowhood, contributing to the less-common pincushion names of mourning bride and mournful widow.

Pincushion Pest and Disease Problems

Scabiosa is a relatively healthy plant, but it can be impacted by aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and powdery mildew.

A Healthy Pincushion Flower Plant Produces 20-50 Blooms

Scabiosa plants are small but mighty. Although they typically only grow to be 12-24 inches tall and 12-18 inches wide, each plant can produce up to 50 flowers, each on its own stem.

Other Scabiosa Names

Pincushion flowers are also known as Grandmother’s Pincushion, Sweet Scabious, Mourning Bride, Egyptian Bride, Mournful Widow, Egyptian Rose, and Starflower Pincushion.

Dividing Pincushion Flowers

Every few years, you can divide established patches of Scabiosa by digging out 6-inch clumps and transferring them to a new location.

Pincushion Flowers Are Originally From Eurasia and Africa

A member of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae), Scabiosa originates in Eurasia, the Mediterranean region, southern Africa, and the mountains of eastern Africa. Scabiosa is the national flower of Mongolia.

Pincushion flowers have been used in traditional herbal medicine in various places to treat things like internal inflammation, fevers, coughs, and skin conditions.

How Did Pincushion Flowers Get Their Name?

Scabiosa flowers are nicknamed pincushion flowers due to their prominent stamens emerging from small, round blooms like pins in a pincushion. Their Latin name of Scabiosa comes from the word “scabere,” meaning “to scratch.” This plant was thought to cure scabies, an extremely contagious parasitic skin infection caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei itch mite.

How Long Do Pincushion Flowers Live?

After they have been cut, pincushion flowers last 5-10 days with the proper care. Keep cut Scabiosa away from drafts, excessive heat, and direct sunlight. Frequently re-cutting the stems helps them take in plenty of water to continue thriving.

What Do Pincushion Flowers Attract?

Pincushion flowers attract many beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies.

How Long Do Pincushion Flowers Bloom?

Most species of pincushion flowers bloom throughout summer and into early fall, although some may bloom year-round.

Do Pincushion Flowers Come Back Every Year?

Yes! Well, mostly. Many pincushion flower varieties are perennials and come back every year in certain USDA Growing Zones. Other varieties, or those grown in colder climates, may be annuals that need to be replanted every year.

More Plant and Flower Facts

If you love learning about flowers and plants, check out these cherry blossom facts and succulent plant facts.

Send Scabiosa

The Bouqs Co. offers several mixed bouquets with Scabiosa you can send to your loved ones for any special occasion.

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