This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.
Dwarf pincushion flower
Size: Up to 2 feet tall and wide
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Bloom season: Pale lavender button-shaped flowers in spring and summer
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Pruning needs: Remove spent flowers if desired.
Water needs: Medium; water deeply once a week.
Snapshot: Looking for a great-looking, easy-care border? Stick a pin in this flower. Scabiosa is native to the hot Mediterranean coast of Tunisia in northern Africa, but it loves Sacramento summers just fine. This evergreen perennial forms an attractive mound of shiny scalloped leaves. From April through August, that mound is studded with pale lavender flowers. Butterflies love pincushion flowers, making this a good selection for pollinator gardens. For foothill gardeners, scabiosa is deer-resistant and can tolerate temperatures down to the low 20s.
For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.