Scabiosa: Sweet scabious
Height 45-90cm (18-36in)
Planting distance 23cm (9in)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Open sunny site
The sweet scabious (Scabiosa atro- purpurea) is an airy graceful plant. Its closely packed fragrant(in shades of blue, mauve, purple, red, pink and white) are carried on slender stems 90cm (3ft) tall. Its foliage is elegantly divided. The plant is ideal both for cutting and for a border.
Several popular varieties have been developed from Scabiosa atropurpurea. ‘Blue Moon’ has lavender-blue flowers, excellent for cutting. Left, the flowers fade to attractive papery blue-eyed seed heads. ‘Dwarf Double Mixed’ is a short variety reaching just 45cm (18in) high, but it carries large fragrant flowers in mixed colours. ‘Stellata’ is a 75cm (30in) high plant with silvery blue flowers which develop into attractive large round seed heads with a greenish, spiny, star-like centre. These are excellent for dried flower arrangements.
Sow the seeds in the flowering site in early autumn or early to. They grow in any fertile well-drained soil in an open sunny site. Protect autumn-sown seedlings with cloches over winter. Thin out all the seedlings in spring to 23cm (9in) apart.
Stake tall varieties in windy situations. To encourage further flowering, cut the stems at the first joint as blooms fade.
Pests and diseases
Slugs and snails often damage young plants. Root rot may cause the plants to collapse andmay appear on the leaves.