Scabiosa “Butterfly Blue” attracts butterflies and withstands drought once it is established. It’s a great plant for southern gardens.
Plant Profile: Scabiosa “Butterfly Blue”
Among the perennial flowers for butterfly gardens, Scabiosa “Butterfly Blue” is one that is easy to overlook in my garden – until the butterflies arrive en masse. Scabiosa is a genus of flowering plants known for their nectar-rich blossoms. The flowers can be the typical blue (some people call it a light blue-lavender color), white or pink.
They need full sun, and they tend to bloom profusely once the hot weather arrives. Here in Virginia that means a LONG blooming time! They don’t mind drought once they become established, and they make nice edging plants. They only grow about 6-10 inches tall, and you can easily line a walkway or border with them.
Kits Included Butterfly Plants
My own plants arrived as part of the sunny perennial flower garden kit I purchased from a catalog in 2008. We followed the suggested garden design map that came with the plants, and so they are grouped in little arrangements of 3 plants that I find more attractive than lining them up like soldiers marching along the border. My garden tends to be informal and messy, so this works better for me than a more formal arrangement.
Transition from Spring to Summer
One of the reasons I like this plant is that it helps my garden transition from the spring colors into the summer colors. Colors tend to go in waves in my garden. Early spring brings pinks and lilac colors throughout the garden, with yellow as an accent.
Around this time of year – late May, early June – the pinks and lilacs transition into the hot yellows and reds, but I have some purples and blues to cool down all those hot tones.
That’s where the Scabiosa comes in. It’s among the Gaillardia, which has so many orange-yellow flowers that it can overpower that part of the garden. The neat little pincushion blue Scabiosa flowers, about the size of a quarter each, just add the right shade of coolness to the “hot” colors of the garden.
Butterfly Magnet Flowers
I love to grow flowers that attract butterflies, and that’s the best part of growing Scabiosa – butterflies! Today when I stepped outside to see what I could photograph, one butterfly (I think it’s a Painted Lady) happily posed for mees.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.