by Jennifer Poindexter
Pincushion flowers are unique and gorgeous additions to the flower garden. Have you ever seen these beauties in bloom? They’re colorful, easy to care for, and come in different varieties to work in almost any planting zone. If you need a subtle flower for your growing space, consider the pincushion flower.
Here’s everything you must know to properly plant, care for, and protect your pincushion flowers as they add simple charm to your landscape.
Growing Conditions for Pincushion Flowers
There’s a great deal of information to cover in this section. It isn’t because pincushion flowers are difficult, but because they come in so many varieties. To begin, the pincushion flower belongs to the genus scabiosa. These flowers are perfect in garden beds, containers, or even for use as a border plant.
No matter where they’re planted, you might attract butterflies because they love these flowers. The pincushion flower received its name because the bloom looks like a pincushion with pins sticking out of it. You can enjoy these blooms during the spring and summer months. However, it’s important to pay attention to which variety of pincushion flower you plant.
They come in both annual and perennial varieties. The annual variety could potentially reseed under the right growing conditions. Even if they don’t, you can replant them each year. Some people prefer the annual varieties because they come in more color choices.
Annuals bloom in white, pink, deep red or pink, and blue with hints of purple. If you choose the perennial varieties, they should return each spring. The foliage of the perennial varieties is evergreen, and the blooms are typically white or blue. Many people choose the perennial varieties because the blooms are larger.
Now that you understand your options, let’s discuss where the flowers should be grown. Pincushion flowers do well in planting zones three through seven.
These flowers aren’t fond of cold or wet conditions, but they don’t like extreme heat and humidity either. This explains why they do well in these specific planting zones. You can grow annual varieties in warmer planting zones, but be mindful of the heat.
Whether you’re growing annuals or perennials, they should be planted in full sun. Without adequate lighting, the blooms will fall from the plant.
Pincushion flowers also need well-draining soil that’s nutrient dense. By providing the proper growing conditions, you should be able to enjoy pincushion flowers in your growing space.
How to Plant Pincushion Flowers
Planting pincushion flowers is a straightforward process. You can start the flowers indoors, prior to the final frost, to provide a jumpstart on the growing season.
If you choose to grow your seeds indoors, start them approximately one month prior to the final frost date.
Place the seeds ¼ inch beneath the soil in a grow tray, mist the dirt with a water bottle to keep it consistently moist, and cover with plastic wrap. This will create a greenhouse effect. Place the growing tray in a warm location. It can take up to two weeks for the seeds to germinate.
After the seeds have germinated, move them to where they’ll receive adequate lighting until all threat of frost is over. If you choose to direct sow your flowers, place them ¼ inch beneath the soil. Whether direct sowing or transplanting seedlings, place one foot of space between each plant.
You can plant perennial pincushion flowers in either spring or fall. The annuals should only be planted in the spring.
Once your flowers are planted, it’s time to learn how to care for them. This is what will keep their subtle beauty going during their growing season.
Caring for Pincushion Flowers
Pincushion flowers don’t require a great deal of care. They must be watered, deadheaded, and pruned. Understanding how to do these things correctly will make all the difference in how well they produce in your growing area.
Since everything needs water, let’s start there. Pincushion flowers shouldn’t need to be watered by you once they’re fully established.
This plant only needs one inch of water per week. Therefore, mother nature should take care of this for you. However, if you’re in a period of drought, water the flowers deeply one day per week to ensure the water reaches the roots. It will also encourage stronger root systems.
Many flowers thrive from receiving regular applications of fertilizer. You can skip this with pincushion flowers as long as they’re growing in nutrient-rich soil. If you doubt the quality of the soil your plants are growing in, consider adding a balanced fertilizer to your flowers once every two months.
The next thing you must do to care for pincushion flowers is to deadhead spent blooms. This keeps your plants looking younger and more vibrant.
Our last item of care deals with pruning and propagating perennial varieties of pincushion flowers. When fall arrives, perennial flowers should be cut back to the bottom leaf of the plant. This will protect the plant during the colder portion of the year. Once every three years, you should divide the perennial flowers.
If you’d like to propagate more pincushion flowers, you can also save their seeds to replant. However, every three years, you might notice your flowers becoming a little crowded.
To prevent this, you should divide the plants. Dig up the entire plant including the roots. Use a spade to divide all the way through the plant.
Plant one division in the original plot and transplant the remaining divisions into other areas. You must consider adequate growing conditions when transplanting to a new location.
By watering, deadheading, pruning, and dividing your pincushion flowers they should have every reason to thrive in your garden area.
Garden Pests and Diseases for Pincushion Flowers
The final things you must consider when growing pincushion flowers are pests and diseases. The only diseases which frequently impact pincushion flowers are fungal based.
If you notice signs of fungal disease, treat your plants with a fungicide. You should also check the airflow around the plant, reduce the amount of water being applied to the flowers, and ensure the soil is draining properly.
Once you’ve tackled the potential threat of fungal diseases, it’s time to discuss pests which could impact your plants.
The most common threats to impact pincushion flowers are thrips, aphids, and spider mites. These can all be treated with an insecticide.
In some cases, you can spray your flowers with soapy water to remove the pests. You must do this regularly as these pests are persistent and will most likely return.
You’ll know your flowers have been infested with thrips when the foliage loses its color and takes on a silver tint.
This occurs because thrips feed in groups and drain the color from your plant as they feed. Aphids can be spotted by discoloration in your plant as well.
Spider mites are the hardest pest to find on your plants because of how small they are. Many times, you’ll notice their webs between your flowers before you notice the pest.
When you spot any of these signs, take steps to protect your flowers from any potential threats they might be facing.
Growing pincushion flowers isn’t a difficult experience. In fact, they require very little work and add a great deal of beauty to the scenery around you.
Hopefully, these tips will encourage you to grow these unique flowers and brighten up your landscape in a fuss-free way.