How to Grow Fan Flower — Scaevola

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Scaevola–commonly called fan flower–produces fan-shaped blue, lilac, or white flowers in summer. Fan flower is an evergreen perennial, often grown as an annual, with toothed green leaves on trailing stems.

Fan flowers are ideal for window boxes and baskets and in warm regions can be grown in a border.

Scaevola is a genus of about 96 species of mostly short-live perennials. Scaevola is native to coastal dunes in Australia and Polynesia.

Fan flower (Scaevola aemula)

Get to know Scaevola

  • Plant type: Perennial is often grown as an annual
  • Growing Zones and range: 9-11
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: 6 to 18 inches (15-45cm) tall; 18 inches (45cm)wide
  • Foliage: Rounded to linear, entire or toothed leaves
  • Flowers: Rich blue, purple, lavender, pink, and white flowers
  • Bloom time: Spring to frost
  • Uses: Groundcover, bedding, hanging baskets
  • Common name: Fan Flower
  • Botanical name: Scaevola aemula
  • Family: Goodeniaceae
  • Origin: Australia and Polynesia

Where to plant Scaevola

  • Grow Scaevola in full sun in Zones 2-6; grow in full sun to light shade in Zones 7-11.
  • Plant Scaevola in humus-rich to average, moist, but well-drained soil.
Fan flower, Scaevola
Fan flower, Scaevola

When to plant Scaevola

  • Set Scaevola in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Planting and spacing Scaevola

  • Space Scaevola 18 inches apart.

How to water and feed Scaevola

  • Scaevola need moderate moisture; keep the soil evenly moist. The soil must be well-drained.
  • Fertilize Scaevola every 4 to 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer, or work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time.

Scaevola care

  • Mulch around Scaevola to conserve soil moisture.
  • Scaevola are commonly pest and disease free.

Scaevola propagation

  • Sow seed in spring.
  • Roof softwood cuttings in late spring or summer.

Scaevola varieties to grow

  • Scaevola aemula is an evergreen perennials often grown as an annual; spoon-shaped leaves; bears leafy racemes of purple-blue or blue flowers; cultivars include ‘Blue Wonder’, ‘New Wonder’, and ‘Purple Fanfare’ are popular cultivars; ‘Mauve Clusters’ has a trailing havit and bears lilac-mauve flowers.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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