Knautia (Knautia macedonica)

Knautia Plant Features

Knautia is one of the best perennials no one's ever heard of! We're not sure why this unsung hero hasn't gotten more attention because this full-sun perennial is easy to grow, attracts butterflies, and is a long-blooming plant. The show starts in early summer and continues through early autumn and consists of a nonstop display of dark reddish-purple flowers that float over the foliage on fun wiry stems. A relative of pincushion flower, you'll definitely see the resemblance if you grow these cousins together. Get even more garden drama by looking for the variety 'Thunder and Lightning', which shows off green leaves edged in creamy yellow.

Knautia is perfect for the middle of the border where it adds texture to landscape beds. Don't overlook it for container gardens, though -- knautia grows well in pots, too! And because it's a deer-resistant plant, you can grow it in just about any sunny spot. 

Knautia Growing Instructions

Grow knautia in a spot with full sun or partial shade. Like most sun-loving perennials, you'll get more blooms if you plant it where it gets direct sun for at least 6 to 8 hours. 

Drought-tolerant knautia thrives in regular garden soil and doesn't need a lot of watering once established. But, water regularly the first year after you plant it to help it get settled in your garden. A layer of mulch over the soil around the plant helps the ground stay moist longer, especially in hot, dry weather (and mulch also helps reduce weeds). 

Remove the flowers as they fade to keep knautia blooming profusely. No other pruning is needed except in early or late winter, after frost kills the foliage back. 

If you have good or average soil, you shouldn't need to fertilize knautia to keep it healthy. If you do fertilize, use a balanced product and be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer label. 
  • Water

    Medium water needs

  • Light

    Outside: Part sun

    Outside: Sun

  • Colors



  • Special Features

    Attracts butterflies

    Colorful foliage

    Deer/rabbit resistant

    Super-easy to grow

Complement your Knautia

Pincushion Flower
Pincushion flower is a close relative of knautia. Both have long bloom seasons and attract butterflies.

Lamb's Ear
Contrast knautia's dark flowers with the silvery foliage of lamb's ear. Both thrive in hot, sunny spots.

Blanket Flower
Blanket flower is a tough, North American native perennial that blooms nonstop through the summer.