Care of Scabiosa (Butterfly) Plant

Updated April 17, 2017

Scabiosa are easy to care for. Their fragrant, bluish-purple, pincushion-like flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden. Scabiosa are commonly referred to as "butterfly plant" because they attract butterflies as well as birds and bees. They are a perennial, so once planted they will come back year after year. They will grow to about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The scabiosa will bloom from mid summer to late fall.

Plant scabiosa in an area that gets full sun and good drainage. When you first plant it, water on a weekly basis. In really hot weather, make sure to supply extra water. Keep the soil moist until the butterfly plant takes root and starts to grow. Do not overwater or you can drown the plant and it will die.

Deadhead the flowers when they fade. When deadheading perennials, cut off the flower stalk as close to the base as possible. This will prolong flowering.

Fertilise with a 15-30-15 fertiliser solution in late spring. Follow instructions on the bottle.

Cut back the butterfly plant all the way to the ground at the end of the season. Since the butterfly plant is a perennial it will come back in spring, and bloom again in late summer.

Break up the clumps of scabiosa every three years or so. You can do this with your hands. This will keep the plant healthy and help it to breathe more oxygen.


Scabiosa will grow well anywhere in the U.S., but it thrives in cool, humid regions. Keep the soil moist but be careful not to overwater. Scabiosa likes full sun but if you live in an extremely hot climate, plant it where it can get some shade during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • 15-30-15 fertiliser
  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Carey Sorensen began her professional writing career in 2009. Sorensen writes for eHow on the subjects of skin care, nutrition, organic gardening and green living. She graduated from Palomar Institute of Cosmetology and holds an esthetician's license.