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Scabiosa atropurpurea Pincushion Flower, Sweet Scabiosa1

Edward F. Gilman 2


Pincushion flower forms a wonderful, aster-like flower atop a 12-inch-tall herbaceous perennial (Fig. 1). The deep pink flowers appear during the warm months.

Figure 1. Pincushion flower
Figure 1.  Pincushion flower

General Information

Scientific name: Scabiosa atropurpurea
Pronunciation: skay-bee-OH-suh at-roe-per-POOR-ree-uh
Common name(s): pincushion flower, sweet scabiosa
Family: Dipsacaceae
Plant type: annual
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun; Jul; Aug
Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: border; mass planting
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: most emerge from the soil, usually without a stem
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: parted
Leaf shape: spatulate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: not applicable
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: pink
Flower characteristic: showy; summer flowering


Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: thick


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: unknown
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: not applicable
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Pests and Diseases

There are no major problems.


1. This document is FPS537, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS537

Date: 9/30/2015

      Organism ID


      • Gail Hansen de Chapman