Scabious Butterfly Blue - Click image to download

Scabious Butterfly Blue® Beauty is an amazing hardy perennial which first appeared in garden centres back in 1985. At that time it was unheard of to grow 20,000 of a single variety and expect them to sell in a season. But they went like hot cakes and it heralded a new era in how new plants were marketed. Since its launch, it continues to be a best-seller with total UK sales topping 1.5 million plants. But in spite of the fact that it’s been around for so long, many gardeners still don’t grow it. If you don’t you should – and here’s why:

1. It flowers continuously from April through to November - can be over 200 blooms on a single plant.

2. The flowers are incredibly insect friendly which is how it came to get its name.

3. The pretty pincushion flowers last well when cut to put in a vase. They go perfectly with Cosmos, Pompom Dahlias and Verbena bonariensis

4. Butterfly Blue® Beauty was initially selected because it has a fabulous neat habit. This makes its perfect for smaller spaces and it's a terrific tub plant for a sunny patio because it flowers for such a long time.

Where to grow Scabious

Scabious thrive in sun and a wide variety of well-drained soils and do particularly well in chalky/limy soil, where they originate from in the wild. If your ground is moist or stays very wet during our rainy winters these days, then simply plant it in a tub or a raised bed. Because this Scabious flowers for so long, it really benefits from some slow release fertiliser added at planting time, then every spring. This will feed the plant throughout summer so you don’t have to liquid-feed. And don’t forget to regularly water tub plants, especially in late summer and autumn when they are still full of flower!!

A bit of History

Butterfly Blue® Beauty was first spotted growing in an Irish garden by keen plantsman David Tristram, then working as a chemist for Dublin's Guinness brewery. Not only did it display a much tidier habit than most of its wild relatives, but as a botanist, David noticed that its flowers were sterile. Being sterile, this meant that no seed was formed and that was why the plant kept flowering so long. By 1973, David had decided to turn his hobby into a business and so he purchased Walberton Nursery in West Sussex. His 'Irish Scabious' came with him and following a decade of further development, was named Butterfly Blue® Beauty. It was launched commercially in 1985 and continues to be grown at Walberton Nursery in West Sussex.

The Walberton’s® portfolio

Every new Walberton’s® introduction is a significant improvement on existing varieties in the market. Bigger flowers, longer blooming, richer leaf colours and improved habit are just some of the features they select for. So look out for the Walberton’s® name at your local garden centre so you can enjoy better displays in your garden.