Yellow scabious Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
pale yellow scabious


The plant commonly known as the yellow or cream pincushion flower has an enchanting appearance, typically characterized by its soft, creamy yellow blooms that bear a resemblance to small pin cushions due to their unique structure. The flowers are held aloft on slender stems, which rise above a rosette of foliage. The leaves of the plant are predominantly basal, which means they primarily grow at the base of the plant, forming a low mound. These leaves are deeply lobed, giving them a somewhat lacy or fern-like texture. The blossoms of the yellow pincushion flower consist of numerous small florets, gathered together into a dense, globular head that may give a slightly tufted impression. Each floret is tubular and contributes to the overall spherical shape of the flower head. The flower heads are surrounded by an array of bracts—modified leaves—that can be slightly different in color than the true petals, adding to the ornamental appeal of the bloom. This perennial plant is a favorite among gardeners and flower enthusiasts for its charming flowers that attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Additionally, the plant is prized for its longevity as a cut flower, making it a lovely choice for fresh flower arrangements. The yellow pincushion flower blooms mainly during the warmer months, offering a continuous display of its delightful flowers throughout the growing season.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Yellow Scabious, Cream Pincushions, Cream Scabious, Pale Scabious

    • Common names

      Scabiosa ochroleuca, Scabiosa columbaria var. ochroleuca.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Pincushion Flower, Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, is not widely recognized as a toxic plant to humans. There is little to no information on its toxicity levels or the symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion. Therefore, no specific symptoms or consequences of ingesting parts of this plant are commonly reported or well-documented in scientific literature up to my knowledge cutoff date.

    • To pets

      Similar to its profile for humans, the Pincushion Flower, Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, does not have a well-known toxic effect on pets. Toxicity information specific to this subspecies is limited, and there is no significant evidence to suggest that it is poisonous to pets such as cats and dogs. Consequently, there is no detailed account of poisoning symptoms or the potential consequences of pets ingesting parts of this plant readily available in standard references or toxicity databases as of my last update.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts pollinators: Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, commonly known as the small scabious, is highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, which can help pollinate surrounding plants.
    • Aesthetic value: With its delicate flowers and soft foliage, small scabious adds beauty and a natural aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes.
    • Drought tolerance: As a plant that can withstand periods of drought, small scabious is suitable for xeriscaping and low-water gardens, reducing the need for irrigation.
    • Wildlife habitat: It provides nectar and habitat for wildlife, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Easy to grow: Small scabious is known for being relatively easy to cultivate, making it a good choice for novice gardeners or low-maintenance landscapes.
    • Seasonal interest: With its lengthy blooming period from summer to fall, small scabious offers visual interest across multiple seasons.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Scabiosa columbaria may possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could be used to reduce inflammation in various conditions.
    • Diuretic: It has been noted to have diuretic effects, which can help increase the passing of urine.
    • Astringent: The plant may act as an astringent, potentially useful for toning skin and mucous membranes.
    Please note that while some sources may suggest medicinal uses for Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, also known as the Yellow Scabious, this information may not be backed up by scientific research, and such uses are not recognized by major medical authorities. Always consult healthcare professionals before considering any herbal treatments.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, commonly known as pincushion flower, can be used as a natural dye source, providing various shades of yellow to fabrics when used with different mordants.
    • The dried seed heads of the pincushion flower retain their intricate structure and can be used in floral arrangements, adding a unique texture to bouquets and wreaths.
    • The pincushion flower can attract beneficial insects, such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, to the garden, which helps with pollination and pest control.
    • Pincushion flowers can be used in educational settings, such as schools or botanical workshops, to demonstrate plant structure and pollination strategies.
    • The flowers of Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca can serve as an inspiration for artists and designers due to their unique form and color, influencing patterns in textiles and artwork.
    • Pincushion flower is suitable for creating living borders or edges in gardens, as they form neat mounds that clearly define garden paths and sections.
    • The plant can be integrated into sensory gardens, where its soft, feathery leaves and flowers provide a textural experience to visitors.
    • Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca seeds can be used for seed art, where the seeds are strategically placed to create patterns and images due to their size and shape.
    • Incorporating the pincushion flower in green roofs can contribute to urban biodiversity and provide a critical habitat for pollinating insects in city environments.
    • Cultivation of Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca can be a part of conservation gardening, which aims to preserve native plant species and prevent the invasion of non-native plants.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The pincushion flower is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The pincushion flower is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Love - Scabiosa, commonly known as Pincushion Flower, is often associated with love. Its intricate and cushion-like head represents the complexity and comfort in relationships.
    • Admiration - The delicate and ornate blossoms signify admiration and the deep respect one may have for another's qualities.
    • Purity - The Pincushion Flower's soft, pale colors are symbolic of purity and innocence.
    • Peace - With its gentle appearance, Scabiosa is sometimes used to signify peace and tranquility in a setting or between individuals.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For pale pincushion (Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca), water the plant deeply to ensure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged, usually every week during its active growing season if there is no rain. Adjust the frequency to account for rainfall, and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. In the summer months, especially in hot climates, pale pincushion may need watering twice a week. During the winter or dormant season, reduce watering to every few weeks, just enough to prevent the soil from completely drying out. It is preferable to use a watering can or a hose with a gentle nozzle to avoid disrupting the soil and root system; approximately one gallon per plant per week should suffice during the growing season.

  • sunLight

    Pale pincushion thrives best in full sun, with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. It can tolerate some light shade, particularly in hot climates where some afternoon shade can prevent scorching. The ideal spot for this plant would be in a south-facing garden that receives ample sunlight throughout the day, ensuring vibrant blooms and healthy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Pale pincushion prefers a temperate climate and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. It can withstand winter cold down to about -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and summer temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for pale pincushion is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which encourages healthy growth and abundant flowering.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune pale pincushion to shape the plant, encourage bushier growth, and promote more blooms. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to extend the blooming period and prevent self-seeding if not desired. Cut back the plant by about half in late autumn or early spring to maintain a tidy shape and stimulate new growth. The best time for pruning is immediately after a flush of blooms has finished.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Pincushion flower thrives in well-draining soil with added organic matter. A soil mix with equal parts garden soil, compost, and gritty material like perlite is ideal. The recommended soil pH is neutral to slightly alkaline, around 6.0 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Pincushion flower doesn't require frequent repotting. It can be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot, to refresh the soil and provide room for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Pincushion flower is tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and does well in typical outdoor humidity conditions without any special requirements.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light and good airflow for pincushion flower.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sunny spot with well-drained soil for pincushion flower.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, commonly known as cream pincushions, starts its life cycle from seed, which upon germination gives rise to a small seedling. The seedling grows into a rosette of leaves at ground level where it undergoes vegetative growth. Over time, the plant develops a strong root system and begins to produce flowering stems, typically in its second year. The flowers, which are hermaphroditic, are pollinated by insects, leading to the production of seeds. Following pollination and seed set, the plant can die back during colder months and re-emerge if it is a perennial variety. The seeds are then dispersed, either by wind or animals, completing the cycle and giving rise to new plants.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • Propogation: Scabiosa columbaria subsp. ochroleuca, commonly known as the Scabious, is most popularly propagated through seed. The ideal time to sow seeds is in late winter or early spring. To propagate, seeds should be sprinkled on top of well-drained soil mix and covered with a light layer of soil. The container should be kept at about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius) and maintain consistent moisture until germination, which typically occurs within two to three weeks. Seedlings can be transplanted outdoors once the threat of frost has passed and they have grown sturdy enough to handle the conditions.