The warm-weather perennial or small shrub known as scaevola, or “fan flower,” is commonly planted as an annual flower. Anyone living in an area with warm summers will find this plant to be ideal. With the correct conditions, Scaevola will produce an almost non-stop display of dark blue fan-shaped flowers from early summer until the end of the season. Its robust stems offer drought tolerance in full sun situations, even at triple digit temperatures, for gardeners looking for a heat-tolerant plant for their summer containers.
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Scaevola is a fast-growing plant that is typically planted in the spring once the soil has warmed, or from seeds grown inside in early spring.
Scaevola plants are well-liked in hot areas because they can withstand the hottest days of summer without losing their blooms and because they require so little maintenance. When Scaevola plants fail, it’s usually due to overwatering or inadequate soil drainage, not to pinching or fertilizing them. As long as you give your plants plenty of light, warmth, and water, they’ll be low-maintenance performers.
One of the tougher Australian natives, Scaevola does not suffer from any significant pests and diseases. Thrips and mealybugs may occasionally be a problem for drought-stressed plants. Do not use insecticides to control Scaevola as these plants are a vital nectar source for butterflies.
For the finest scaevola performance, select a location that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day. It is possible to keep plants in hot, arid desert environments alive by planting them in a dappled shade area.
Scaevola plants can thrive on poor soil. Good drainage is the most crucial aspect in ensuring healthy plant growth in a soil of normal fertility. Planting container plants in a typical commercial potting mix, possibly with some sand thrown in, is just fine for these plants. Scaevola can be grown in raised beds filled with adjusted soil, or in the garden in heavy clay soil that has been altered to make it more porous.
Even though Scaevola plants enjoy arid conditions, they aren’t real xeriscapes and will require watering from time to time. Fungus gnats and root rot can both affect plants growing in moist soil. Don’t water until the earth is completely dry. After being watered, wilted plants will swiftly recover.
Temperature and Humidity
Scaevola plants thrive in hot and humid conditions. Temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit will cause flowering to delay or halt. Hotter temperatures can be handled by plants that prefer temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The Scaevola enjoys the high levels of humidity.
Scaevola plants only require a light feeding because they are used to the austere circumstances of their natural habitat in Australia. During the growing season, use a balanced flower fertilizer once a month.
Types of Scaevola
Scaevola aemula, the pure species plant, can grow up to 18 inches tall and has a growth style that resembles a shrub in hardy zones. There is a place for the native plant in the landscape, but gardeners are more likely to opt for one of the cultivars. For container gardening and other uses, cultivars tend to be shorter than their wild cousins.
- Six to eight inches in height and three to four feet wide, ‘Blue Wonder’ features blue flowers that bloom throughout the summer.
- Blue, pink, and white options are available in the ‘Bombay’ collection. The plants’ height and width range from 8 to 12 inches.
- Plants of the ‘Fairy’ series are available in blue, pink, and white, and grow between 6 and 10 inches tall and 18 and 24 inches broad, respectively.
- The plants in the ‘Whirlwind’ series come in a variety of hues. Containers and borders will be filled with these strong plants.
- In the course of the growing season, ‘Purple Fanfare’ produces an abundance of lavender-blue flowers.
- In the ‘Carpet’ series, you’ll find a variety of plants that can be used to create dense ground cover.
A few snips here and there are helpful for Scaevola, as well as for most other trailing annuals, in order to maintain the plant neat and encourage it to develop a branching habit rather than long, lanky stems. Scaevola is a self-cleaning plant that doesn’t require deadheading, but you can encourage new growth and flowering by cutting it back by half after the first major flush.
Scaevola is often propagated by the use of stem cuttings that have been rooted in soil. This is also the most common method for ensuring the survival of a plant for the following year: Take scaevola cuttings at the end of the season:
- Make use of a good pair of pruning shears to Cut a non-flowering stem into 4- to 6-inch lengths. Make sure to leave at least two pairs of leaves on the cutting’s summit.
- Apply rooting hormone to the cutting, then plant it in a container filled with garden soil. Place in a well-lit area at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take care not to overwater the cutting, which can lead to rot. In about a month, roots will begin to form.
- Move the potted cutting to a warm, bright spot to continue developing until it is time to transplant it outside once a good root system has grown. Temperatures in the soil should be at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit before planting these plants outside.
How to Grow Scevola From Seed
Because Scaevola seeds are so small and sluggish to germinate, it can be difficult to grow from seed. However, seed starting may be the only way to get Scaevola plants in your area, as many nurseries don’t carry them. You should obtain prepackaged seeds from a commercial source rather than harvesting seeds from existing plants.
Sow the seeds in a coarse potting mix indoors about two months before the last date of frost. Spritz the seeds with a little dusting of potting soil. Keep the seeds at 70 degrees Fahrenheit in a well-ventilated area, but out of direct sunshine, by misting them with water. Germination takes around a month on average, but it can take up to 60 days.
The seedlings can be transferred to a warm, sunny place once they have sprouted genuine leaves. However, you should not move them outside until the soil temperature reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit or above. For the first week or two after their germination, seedlings need to be exposed to everyday outdoor conditions to be “hardened off” before being planted in the garden or into their permanent outdoor pots.
Potting and Repotting Scaevola
When used in containers, Scaevola is a great choice—either as an individual specimen or as a “spiller” plant. If you want to cultivate Scaevola plants in containers, try a potting mix that has a combination of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. They don’t need to be replanted because they are usually grown as annuals.
Containers with high drainage, such as clay pots, are ideal, but practically any container will work if it drains well.
Scaevola plants are normally abandoned in all except the hottest zones (10, 11) as winter cold approaches. Gardeners who want to keep their Scaevola plants outside throughout the winter may find success by transferring tiny bedding plants into pots and bringing them within for the winter.
A safe and effective way to test this theory is to gently transplant several garden plants into pots filled with commercial potting soil and then store them in a warm, bright location over the winter. During the winter months, watering should be minimized in order to foster some degree of dormancy. Branches that have become scarce throughout the winter can be pruned back.
How to Get Scaevola to Bloom
From early summer till frost, Scaevola will usually bloom profusely if it receives adequate light, water and warmth. Plants may temporarily stop blooming during cold summer spells with daytime temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants that don’t blossom may be suffering from poor soil conditions, which can be remedied by feeding them periodically.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for these plants. Your scaevola will not grow properly if the temperature drops below 60 degrees F. They also do well in humid environments.
Place your scaevola plants in a spot that receives some sunlight, but not too much. Scaevola, a warm-weather plant, thrives in a shady environment.
Scaevola prefers a dry environment over a damp one. They are not, however, xeriscape plants, and as a result, they will require some watering from time to time. Plants in moist soil are more susceptible to fungus gnats and root rot. When watering scaevola, take sure to wait until the soil is completely dry before adding any water. Proper watering will bring life back to your drooping plants.
They don’t need a lot of fertilizer because Scaevolas are native to Australia and have adapted to difficult growth circumstances, so they don’t require a lot of attention. If you do decide to use a fertilizer, look for one that doesn’t have a lot of phosphorus in it. Flowers and leaves can become discolored if you use too much of it. During the growing season, add fertilizer only once a month.
Scaevola plants do not require rich soil to grow. Planting them on soil that drains well is critical, however. Use elevated plant beds or thick soil if you wish to grow them in the ground
Potting and Transplanting
Scaevola plants planted in containers require a light potting mix to thrive. In regions with sandy soil, you can use ordinary potting soil to mix in the sand. Scaevola plants do not require repotting to reach the end of their lifespan.
Propagating Scaevola Plants
Scaevola can be propagated by cutting leaves. You can overwinter scaevola plants by taking cuttings from a non-blooming stem at the conclusion of the summer season. Carefully plant your scaevola cutting after dipping it in rooting compound. While digging a hole and sticking the cutting in it is preferable, make sure you don’t press it. You don’t want to overwater your plants, which might damage their roots and hinder their growth. After a month, you should see the roots forming.
Growing Scaevola in Containers
Containers full of Scaevola plants are a wonderful sight. Plants that will eventually dangle over the sides of the pots can be placed at the pot’s rim to encourage them to grow that way. With other hot-weather flowers like ageratum, begonia, stonecrop and blanket flower scaevola are excellent companion plants. If you’re looking to grow flowers like scaevola, you’ll want to make sure you’re not overwatering them.
Reasons Why Investing in a Mini Greenhouse Is The Best
It’s a terrific idea to grow scaevola in tiny greenhouses for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:
Protection from pests and diseases
Insects and illnesses don’t bother Scaevola, making it an ideal plant for gardens. After a long drought, thrips are more likely to attack. To avoid attracting butterflies, don’t apply insecticides on scaevolas. Pests and illnesses that prey on your plants are kept at bay by enclosing them in a greenhouse.
Great for gardeners with limited space
A tiny greenhouse can be used to grow flowers and commodities if you don’t have a lot of room. Small greenhouses come in a typical six-foot length, so they may be placed on balconies, patios, or decks. The benefits of mini-greenhouses are the same as those of bigger greenhouses, despite their modest size.
Create a microclimate inside the greenhouse
Scaevola can be grown successfully in a greenhouse even if you live in a cold climate. A tiny greenhouse allows you to cultivate your plants in the perfect conditions. That way, no matter what the weather, you’ll be able to get out there and plant whatever you want. You can begin growing scaevolas now, even if your area hasn’t yet entered its cold season. Your plants can be moved into your garden once it gets warm enough to do so.
Protection from bad weather
If plants are exposed to a wide range of weather conditions, they will not thrive. Ice, snow, strong rain, and high winds are no match for your scaevola plants in a greenhouse. Using the containers, you can keep your plants safe while they’re still young and developing. When the weather is scaevolas, you can transplant them outside.
Final Thoughts on How to Care for Scaevola
Scaevola plants look fantastic in gardens, living rooms, and other interior spaces. Scaevola plants are easy to care for and produce lovely blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your yard. If you want to make your scaevolas more eye-catching, you can grow them in a container or window box.
What is the difference between scaevola and lobelia?
From a distance, annual lobelia (Lobelia erinus) looks exactly like Scaevola plants. To the naked eye you can notice that lobelia flowers are small and numerous with three downward-facing petaloids unlike Scaevola blooms, which have five petaloids. Lobelia plants, on the other hand, like cool temperatures and will wither away in the heat of summer. Scaevola is an excellent replacement for faded lobelia plants in your garden.
How can I use scaevola in the landscape?
Scaevola plants truly sparkle in the outside container garden. At the front, they’ll drape over the pot’s rim and hide it from view. They can also be used as a bedding plant or a cascading plant along a retaining wall. Scaevola plants are wonderful companions for other sun-loving plants, such as Mexican zinnias, zonal geraniums, and tropical hibiscus, which thrive in hot climates and need plenty of light. These flowers, like the Scaevola, prefer well-draining soil and dislike being watered excessively.
If I grow scaevola as a garden perennial in my warm climate, how long does it live?
There are no limits to how long scaevola may live in a garden that is frost-free (zones 10, 11). Low-growing named cultivars are commonly utilized as permanent ground covers rather than low-growing native species plants.