Succisa pratensis ‘Devil’s Bit Scabious’
Blue is such a vivid colour in the crystal-clear light peculiar to early autumn. But it’s rather a rarity so the airy wands of small blue buttons found on Succisa pratensis are a particular blessing from August to October. The flowers bob among the many daisies almost like blue butterflies about to land and one wonders why this airy member of the teasel family is not grown more often.
This little wildflower is a very versatile plant and worthy of greater appreciation. In the wild it is quite unfussy about where it grows. Found in damp locations in meadows, stream banks and rocky grasslands on calcareous to slightly acid soils, it grows abundantly in marshes, pastures, and hedgerows and succeeds in grasslands and wastelands.
Although Succisa is usually found in wet meadows in their native habitats they are tolerant of ordinary garden soil and conditions. However, a full-sun, hot bake would almost certainly not suit either. They do best in cooler positions and overwinter well on wet ground.
Succisa pratensis is adept at popping up through other plants and the narrow leaves and tight, non-invasive habit make it a perfect addition to an airy informal border containing sultry Dahlias, late Heleniums and late Daisies. In the garden, grow it at the front of the border or weave several through an area.
There is, however, a huge difference between a garden-grown specimen and a wild one. Wild plants tend to have been grazed and rarely top a foot at best. Succisa pratensis grown in the garden will reach more than 3ft, it’s a different beast.
Of all our native wildflowers very few attract more butterflies than the Devils Bit Scabious. They will sustain late-flying butterflies and bees tempted by an Indian summer.
- Packet Size 250mg
- Average Seed Count 100 Seeds
- Family Dipsacaceae
- Genus Succisa
- Species pratensis
- Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
- Synonym Scabiosa succisa
- Common Name Devil’s Bit Scabious
- Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
- Other Language Names IR. Odhrach bhallach
- Hardiness Hardy Perennials
- Flowers Blue pincushion flowers
- Natural Flower Time August to October
- Height 60 to 100cm (24 to 36in)
- Position Full sun to partial shade
- Soil Moisture preferred, but will grow in most types
- Time to Sow Sow in autumn or in spring
- Germination Usually 2 to 4 weeks at around 18 to 21°C (65 to 70°F). but can occasionally be erratic.