Use this annual as a colorful groundcover or a trailing plant in containers.
Also called fan flower, the abundant blooms of scaevola are borne along fleshy deep green stems. This Australian native is heat- and drought-tolerant so it's a good plant to endure in the heat of the summer. The trailing and cascading habit makes them a natural choice for mixed containers and hanging baskets.
Most commonly available in shades of blue, scaevola is also found in pink, white, and purple. No matter what color you choose, the fans or petals sport a bright yellow-and-white center in asymmetrical blooms that cover the plant throughout the growing season. The low-spreading or tumbling habit allows their use as a groundcover or planted in containers and window boxes.
Scaevola Care Must-Knows
These plants come from the arid Australian outback environment, so they have little problem dealing with summer heat and drought. However, fan flowers will not tolerate wet soil. If you plan to plant them in a container or hanging basket, use a general-purpose potting mix that will drain freely.
Plant scaevola in full sun. These tough plants thrive in the hot, dry weather of summer and put on their best displays in the heat. Their thick, fleshy foliage has also adapted to drought, retaining water for those dry spells.
Related: 5 Container Annuals You Can't Kill
Fan flowers don't require much maintenance. There is no need to worry about deadheading spent blooms. They may benefit from a pinch early on to encourage branching at the base. Few pests bother scaevola, but keep an eye out for aphids, thrips, or whiteflies that may occasionally appear.
More Varieties of Scaevola
Scaevola Companion Plants
There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.
Gerbera daisies are so perfect they hardly look real. They bloom in nearly every color (except true blues and purples) and produce fantastically large flowers on long, thick, sturdy stems. They last for a week or more in the vase, making them a favorite of flower arrangers. This tender perennial will last the winter in only the warmest parts of the country, Zones 9-11. In the rest of the country, it is grown as an annual. It does well in average soil; it likes soil kept evenly moist but not overly wet. Fertilize lightly.
Geraniums have been a gardener's favorite for well over a century. The old-fashioned standard for beds, borders, and containers, geranium is still one of the most popular plants today. Traditional bedding types love hot weather and hold up well to dry conditions; many offer colorful foliage. Regal, also called Martha Washington, geraniums are more delicate-looking and do better in the cool conditions of spring and fall. Though most geraniums are grown as annuals, they are perennials in Zones 10-11. Bring them indoors to overwinter, if you like, then replant outdoors in spring. Or they can bloom indoors all year long if they get enough light.