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Growing Pincushion Flower Seeds: [Harvest & Propagation]

Most gardeners assume that Pincushion Flower seeds don’t germinate in the harsh winter. But you can turn the tables by starting them indoors before the last frost date!

To sow Pincushion Flower seeds, take a moist potting mix, plant the seeds sideways, maintain a temperature of around 60-70°F, and offer direct sunlight and humidity.

The seeds germinate within a few days, grow into seedlings, and gain true leaf sets. 

From hereon, you must start caring for the seedlings so that they can flower for next spring and summer!

What Is A Pincushion Flower?

A versatile cut flower, the Pincushion Plant blooms from late spring to mid-summer or fall with many colors, from blue, pink, lavender, and yellow, to white.

Pincushion Plants behave as perennial plants in regions with warm winters, while they bloom as annual plants in regions with colder winters.

Scientifically, Pincushion Plants are called Scabiosa species hailing from the plant family Caprifoliaceae.

Pincushion Flowers have protruding stamens that resemble many pins pushed into a cushion-like flower head, hence the name.

Image illustrates Pincushion Flower and Seeds
Pincushion Flower seeds are present in clusters inside a papery covering.

Symbolically, they are connected to love, purity, and peace. However, some dark color varieties also mean unfortunate love, widowhood, and mourning.

They usually prefer the USDA Zones 3-9, and their growth conditions also depend on the varieties.

Each Pincushion Plant takes about 90-100 days to germinate and beget flowers.

How Do You Grow Pincushion Flower Seeds?

Ripe Pincushion Flower seeds are 1-1.5 inches long, somewhat globose, and brown, with a black star-shaped center and a papery shuttle cock-shaped covering.

Additionally, Pincushion Flower seeds are also photo-blastic as they need light to germinate and are very sensitive to temperature changes (60-70°F).

You can harvest the Pincushion Flower seeds during mid-summer or fall and sow them directly in the garden soil, but they may take a month longer to germinate this way.

However, before sowing Pincushion Plant seeds, you must harvest and learn to store them.

How To Get Pincushion Flower Seeds?

Follow these steps to harvest and store the Pincushion seeds.

  • Select the bloom heads that are completely brown and spent.
  • Using sterilized pruners, snip them off from the base.
  • Then, keep the seeds in a dry paper bag and crush them to release them from the husk.
  • Separate the seeds and husk and store them in a labeled paper envelope.
Seeds of Pincushion Flowers can remain viable for 1-3 years when stored in a clean glass jar at temperatures of around 40-50°F.

However, you can sow the seeds as soon as possible to give the best shot at germination.

Image illustrates developing seeds of Pincushion Plant
When the central star-shaped part of the seeds turns papery black or brown, you can collect them barehand.

When & Where To Sow Pincushion Flower Seeds?

The best time to sow Pincushion Flower seeds is 6-10 weeks before the last frost date.

However, in areas with warm winters, you can sow the seeds directly outdoors in the fall. 

But in regions with cold winters, the seeds don’t germinate until spring when the ground is warm enough.

Follow these steps to sow Pincushion Flower seeds.

  • Take a seedling starting tray with a humidity dome and fill it with porous soil having a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Plant the seeds on the sides in the topsoil layer and barely cover it with some potting mix.
  • Place the setup in a heating mat and sustain a soil temperature of around 60-70°F.
  • Keep the Pincushion soil moist but not soggy by watering the seeds when the substrate is dry.
  • Ensure to remove the humidity dome occasionally to release the moisture.
  • Then, place the seeds in a well-light area near an east-facing window until germination.

With appropriate conditions, the seeds may germinate within 10-12 days.

When To Transplant Pincushion Flower Seedlings?

After germination, you can remove the dome and keep the seedlings off from the heating mat.

Once the seedlings bear 2-3 sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted outdoors. Ensure to transplant the seedlings about 12-18 inches apart.

Besides, you can transplant the seedlings into separate terracotta pots with drainage holes.

Check out this video for more details!

How To Care For Pincushion Flower Seedlings?

As the Pincushion Flower seedlings grow, they need regular care requirements like that of adult plants.

  • Light: 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily & rest hours in partial shade
  • Temperature: 65-85°F (prevent temperature surge above 85°F)
  • Watering: Every 1-2 weeks in spring & summer and Monthly during fall & winter
  • Humidity: 40-50% (ambient humidity)
  • Soil: Well-draining, porous and organic substrate
  • Fertilizer: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly in spring & summer
  • Pruning: Early spring & Late fall
  • Repotting: Annually in spring (for perennial varieties)

From Editorial Team


Ensure you prune the Pincushion plant back to 6 inches tall and remove the dead, decaying, pest-infested, and diseased parts.

Since they are invasive and self-seed, ensure to deadhead them to prevent their vigorous spread.