Scaevola pronounced [skee-VO-luh) is a genus of flowering plants from the family Goodeniaceae with over 130 species to its name. The plants in this genus are Polynesia and Australian natives.
Robert Brown (1773–1858), named the species Scaevola aemula, after the Roman soldier Gaius Mucius.
The story goes that Gaius was so brave he burned his right hand off to demonstrate his bravery.
The genus plant name is inspired by Latin meaning ‘left-handed’.
It is a reference to the Scaevola flowers, which are shaped like half-moons.
This is also the reason for the common names:
- Half flowers
- Fairy Fan flowers
Scaevola Plant Care
Size & Growth
Scaevola plants grown in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 are counted as low maintenance tender perennials.
However, when grown anywhere else they can be considered trailing annuals.
The plants generally grow 8” to 10” inches tall with flowers spreading up to 24” inches.
Flowering and Fragrance
This plant is characterized by light green leaves that are slightly toothed at the edges.
The flowers are five petals wide and a curious half-circle shape.
The bloom time runs from late spring to late fall
They grow on stems and are most commonly blue flowers but can also be pink or white.
The most popular Scaevola varieties are:
Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Fan’
- Lilac blue petals
- Distinct white eye
- Hanging basket plant type
- Blooms profusely under right conditions
Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder‘ is another easy to find lavender blue variety.
Snowy white varieties are also available – ‘Whirlwind White’ and ‘White Charm.’.
Light & Temperature
This is a light loving plant that requires at least six to eight hours of full sun every day. They tolerate dappled partial sun.
However, if you choose to grow your plants in partial shade, they will not flower quite as robustly.
The best temperatures to grow Scaevola are from 70° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit in the morning with temperatures of about 68° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit at night.
These plants can grow in cooler landscapes, but flowering is delayed when temperatures dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
Scaevola is both a heat and drought-tolerant plant. It need a soil with good drainage and does not do well in very wet soil. At the same time, it begins to wilt if it is not given enough water.
Make sure you keep an eye on the plant and water it moderately and regularly.
Don’t allow the soil to become waterlogged and don’t let it dry out too much.
During its growth phase, feed your plants regularly with a fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Soil & Transplanting
Scaevola plants need a well-drained, loamy potting mix that is slightly on the acidic side.
In addition to this, apply a layer of compost and peat moss to enrich the soil further.
A layer of mulch with pine chips or cedar will help the soil retain moisture and reduce the chances of weed growth.
Grooming and Maintenance
Force Scaevola to grow thicker by pinching back the growths and remove any weeds that grow around it.
Halfway through the season plants can become a little stringy and need hard pruning to produce new shoots.
How To Propagate Fan Flowers
Propagate Scaevola through stem cuttings or seeds.
Take stem cuttings when they are only half ripe, ideally, in late summer. Let them dry out for a few days before you plant them.
If you’re using seeds, make sure that the temperature is not too low otherwise there is a risk of frost.
Once you’ve planted the seeds, cover them with sandy loam.
When sowing seeds indoors, you will need to make sure that you maintain a temperature between 70° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit until they take root.
This can be anywhere from thirty to sixty days.
Fan Flower Pest or Disease Problems
These fanflower does not have any significant pests or insect problems. Wet soil can lead to root rot.
When the conditions are favorable aphids, scales, caterpillars, and thrips can attack plants.
Suggested Scaevola Uses
This unique plant makes for a wonderful addition to any garden not only because of its appearance but also because the flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
The tumbling, low-spreading habit makes Scaevola a candidate for use as a groundcover, as a “spiller” in mixed container planting, in hanging baskets or window boxes.