Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa caucasica likes an alkaline soil, so that an annual top dressing of hydrated lime, 4 ozs. or more, per square yard, will be of great help. In the first year of planting it may be necessary to use overhead irrigation during dry spells, although much will depend on the type of soil being dealt with. The extra moisture will certainly increase the size of the flowers and length of stem. Spring is the best and safest time to move the plants.

Watch must be kept for slugs, which often go for the young shoots as they begin to develop. Metaldehyde slug-baits will be found to be effective killers. Both greenfly and thrips must be cleared off the young growth before they gain a hold.Scabiosa caucasica

The cutting of the blooms is important, and is best done as early in the morning as possible, when the petals are just fully open, before the centre florets flatten. The stems should be stood in deep water as soon as they are cut.

Varieties: `Goldingensis’ was for long a favourite, but now there is ‘Clive Greaves’, with its large lavender-mauve flowers. There are several others, including Penhill Blue’, a real beauty, taller than `Goldingensis’, and ‘Clive Greaves’ and the newer ‘Malcolm’, dark blue; ‘Purple Prince’ and ‘Vincent’, cobalt blue.

Scabiosa caucasica is also to be found in white, the variety ‘Miss Willmott’ being reliable.

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