Scabiosa not only decorate the garden with their delicate flowers, but also attract insects as a bee pasture. Learn how to plant and care for scabiosa here.
The flowers of the scabiosa seem to dance on their long filigree stems when the wind makes them move. This playful look makes scabiosa a visually attractive perennial. But the flowers also have an attractive effect on many insects.
The flowers of the scabiosa are cupped. On the outside sit the larger petals, and the inside is filled with closely spaced smaller petals. The color spectrum of the flowers ranges from creamy white to pale purple and bright pink to intense blue or dark red. The flowering period extends from July to September. Depending on the species, scabiosas grow between 30 and 90 centimeters high.
The perennial plant is undemanding and easy to care for and is a good addition to any insect-friendly garden. In fact, scabiosa is considered a bee pasture – a flowering plant, in other words, that offers bee species and other pollinators a particularly large amount of pollen and nectar. But other insects also benefit from this rich food supply. By planting bee pastures like scabiosa in your garden, you can do something about the species extinction that can be attributed to a lack of food sources and refuges for bees and other insects.
Plant and care for scabiosa
Location and soil
The scabiosa thrives best in a warm, sunny spot and in well-drained, nutrient-rich, loose garden soil. The soil should be neutral to alkaline and not prone to waterlogging.
The scabiosa also does well in a pot. To make it feel comfortable there, you should fill the pot with a mixture of commercial potting soil and sand.
In May you can plant pre-pulled scabiosa in the garden. Either you buy the pre-pulled seedlings in a specialized trade or you grow them yourself on the windowsill from February on.
You can easily grow your own scabiosa from seed starting in February. Note that these scabiosas, which are available as seeds, are annual varieties. To grow them, proceed as follows:
- Fill seed trays with soil and place the seeds on them. Cover with a thin layer of soil and drip water over it.
- Cover the trays with foil and air them daily.
- Keep the soil moist.
- The location should be a maximum of 20°C.
As soon as two pairs of leaves have formed, you should prick out the scabiosa. From mid-May you can plant the seedlings outdoors.
Planting in the open ground
This is how you plant the pre-potted scabiosa:
- Soak the still potted root ball with water.
- While the root ball draws water, you can dig the planting pits. They should be spaced about 40 centimeters apart.
- Mix the excavated soil with compost.
- Remove the scabiosa from its pots and place it in the center of the planting hole. Fill the planting hole with the substrate until it reaches the bottom pair of leaves on the scabiosa.
- Press the soil down and water the scabiosa.
- Spread a layer of bark mulch and foliage around the scabiosa.
The scabiosa is an undemanding plant that needs little care:
- Water the scabiosa regularly, but avoid waterlogging.
- Remove wilted flowers every two to three days. This will allow you to extend the flowering period from June to September or even October. To do this, use pruning shears on the nearest branch of the stems below the wilted flower.
- Extra care for potted scabiosa: You can fertilize potted scabiosa with compost every four to six weeks. Cut back foliage close to the ground in the fall. In spring, transplant the potted scabiosa into fresh soil.
- Most varieties of scabiosa are perennial and hardy.
- The above-ground parts of the plant retreat in winter, but the roots tolerate frost very well.
- Cut off the retracted foliage and use it as additional winter protection by spreading it around the plant on the ground.
- Potted scabiosa should be moved to a frost-free winter area and watered occasionally.
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