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Pins & Needles! Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ & ‘Pink Mist’

Pins & Needles! Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ & ‘Pink Mist’

Posted by John Friel on Apr 29th 2022

Cheerful, sun-loving and easy to grow – what’s not to like? 

Award-winning British breeder David Tristram (UK) gave the world’s gardeners many lovely varieties in multiple species. These two are probably his best-known and most widely-distributed work.

‘Butterfly Blue’ was the Perennial Plant Association’s choice for Perennial Plant of the Year in 2000. ‘Pink Mist’ was bred specifically to keep it company. Both perform best in full sun, and in slightly moist but well-drained soil. Once established, they can also handle a bit of drought. Both are perfectly proportioned for retail pot sales. 

Height: 12 – 18”. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 – 8

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Pink Mist’

The Game of the Name 

The genus name, Scabiosa, is a bit unsavory: The rough-textured leaves were once thought to cure “the itch,” i.e., scabies. The specific epithet columbaria, “dove-like,” is pleasant but puzzling: Only white-flowering forms are remotely dovelike.

So let’s stick with the pleasantly-evocative vernacular “pincushion flower.” Fewer and fewer of us actually own a pincushion, but it conjures up an accurate image: a fluffy flower poked full of prominently protruding pin-like pistils and stamens.

 If you aren’t offering these demure little lovelies, what are you waiting for? Get Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ and ‘Pink Mist’ into your lineup. They come in thrifty, fast-finishing 72-cell liners from Emerald Coast Growers – your easy choice!

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