Care-free annuals: fan flower

Care-free annuals: fan flower

The gardening world recognized a superstar the moment it discovered the Australian import known as fan flower. These guidelines will walk you through the basics of planting this beauty.

Care-free annuals: fan flower
Care-free annuals: fan flower

Also called by its botanic name scaevola, this spreading annual produces hundreds of small, mauve-blue blossoms shaped like old-fashioned, opened fans. ‘New Wonder’ boasts an even greater profusion of large, richly coloured blue blossoms than the original species, making it ideal for pots, window boxes, hanging baskets, or the garden.Fan flower is self-branching, drought-tolerant, and wind-resistant.

It endures hot blasts of scorching weather. With shocking speed and no fuss, each plant spreads into a ravishing 60-centimetre-wide to one-metre-wide (25-inch-wide to three-foot-wide) beauty.When it comes to colour, the blue blossoms of fan flower complement many other flower colours. In containers, fan flower mixes well with pink verbena, white annual zonal geraniums, marigolds, snapdragons, and most other summer bloomers.

Growing fan flowers

Fan flowers are so new to the gardening scene that we’ve only just begun to explore their uses. But, because of their fortitude, fan flowers are top candidates for hanging baskets, where the soil dries out often and a plant must be steadfast to survive. You can find hanging baskets already planted with fan flowers at many garden centres, or simply start your own.

  1. For fastest impact, set three small bedding plants eight centimetres (three inches) apart in a 20 centimetre (eight inch) in diameter hanging basket or container filled with fertile, loamy potting soil.
  2. Firm the soil around each plant to eliminate air pockets.
  3. Water the newly planted container generously, and then put it in partial shade for a few days to allow it to adjust to its new home.
  4. After that brief transition period, shift the basket to its permanent location in full sun.
  5. During fair weather, most hanging baskets require daily watering and a weekly application of balanced, soluble fertilizer applied at half strength, according to package directions.In beds, fan flowers are unfazed by wind, torrential rain, or occasional drought.
  6. Plant them as you would in a container, providing ample water during heat waves and a bit of extra fertilizer during the second half of summer to keep them blooming at their peak.

Increasing the bounty

  • Begin each season by buying healthy plants that have been professionally propagated.
  • You can grow a few new plants for home use in midsummer by rooting cuttings from a mature plant.
  • Snip off 10-centimetre-long (four-inch-long) stem tips, strip leaves from the lower five centimetres (two inches) of stem, and insert the cutting by half its length into a mixture of damp sand and peat moss.
  • Set the container in a shady spot and keep the sand mix damp. The cuttings should root in about three weeks. This tough plant is virtually never bothered by pests and diseases. If small, sap-sucking insects, such as aphids or whiteflies, attack tender stem tips, remove them with a forceful stream of water from the hose or apply insecticidal soap as directed.

Fundamental facts

Attribute

Spreading foliage studded with blue fan-shaped flowers; for pots or beds.

Season of interest

From early summer to first fall freeze.

Favourites

‘New Wonder’ for its bounty of blue flowers.

Quirks

Grows best with ample water.

Good neighbours

Annual zonal geraniums, phormium, verbena.

Where it grows best

Full sun; damp, well-drained soil.

Potential problems

Aphids, whiteflies (rare).

Critter resistance

Good.

Source

Cuttings.

Dimensions

30 cm (1 ft) tall, 1 m (3 ft) wide.


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