Lovin’ the Blues

We veteran gardeners certainly remember the time we saw our first fan flower (Scaevola aemula). Blue Wonder was first, and it was generally sold in big hanging baskets. Some of us transplanted it immediately into very large patio pots for the drama it brought to our gardens. I still do that.

Rich blues prevail in fan flower. Check out the newest selections.

However, New Wonder was introduced with much fanfare and to the acclaim of many awards in 1997. It became the new standard of excellence, and since that time other cultivars have come into the market. We have no shortage of lovely choices for anyone who wishes to plant them.

Fan flowers are sold in shades of blue, pink and white. Blue is the most striking. It also seems to flower the most heavily.

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What you’ll want to know…
Common names: Fan flower, fairy fan flower (I’ve never heard that one used here in Texas), scaevola
Scientific name: Scaevola aemula
Native home: Australia (New South Wales)

Cheery combination of Dahlberg daisy and fan flower.

Annual or tender perennial
Winter hardy to Zones 10-11 (deep South Texas and coastline)
Sun or part sun
Height: 10 to 15 inches
Spread: 15 to 30 inches
Growth form: trailing, sprawling, even arching
Uses: spiller plant in large patio pots, hanging baskets, flowering annual groundcover

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Red wax begonias are great ways to add red if you want a little variety in your patriotic plantings.

Propagation: primarily by cuttings by home gardeners
Soil needs: highly organic, well-draining.

Sweet alyssum and fan flowers are great partners in patio pots and garden beds.

Water, fertilizer needs: tolerates drought, but grows and blooms best with consistently moist soil and weekly feedings of liquid high-nitrogen food.
Pest problems: none that I’ve ever seen or read about.

White fan flower provides a bright, clear white to the garden.
Posted by Neil Sperry
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