Fan flower — Scaevola — plant and care

Fan flowers are popular balcony plants for sunny locations. Planted in the ground, the flowers, also known as scaevola, form dense carpets of profuse blooms all summer long. The fan flower is also ideal for bowls, hanging baskets or for planting under stems. The species, which originates from tropical and subtropical areas of Australia and Polynesia, prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil. They tolerate waterlogging and shadenot summer flowers. The annual plant can be planted out after the last night frosts and, with proper care, can be enjoyed well into autumn. Fan flowers are not hardy.

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Interesting facts about fan flowers

Botanical name: Scaevola aemula
Other names: blue fan flower, fan flower, Scaevola
Use: balcony plant, hanging plant, traffic light plant, bedding plant, for planting under stems, cemetery planting, bee pasture
Origin: Australia, Polynesia
Flower colours: blue, white, pink
Special features: Delighted with lush flowers the blue fan flower from May until well into autumn. Planted in the ground, the balcony plant forms lush carpets. Most commonly, the popular insect willow are known as blue fan flowers, with pink and white colors being less common.

In which location does the fan flower feel most comfortable?

Scaevola prefer a warm location on the balcony, terrace or in the garden. A south-east orientation or south-west orientation of the balcony or terrace is optimal. A place in the semi-shade is possible for the blue fan flower, you should avoid blazing midday heat. The bee-friendly balcony plants can be left outside from mid-May ; if planted earlier, covering them with fleece may be necessary on cold nights. The annual is also suitable for border and cemetery plantingplant fine. The popular species also delights in the bed well into autumn with lush growth and a large number of flowers. A location with permeable soil with a slightly acidic pH value of 5 to 5.5 is important.

Trivia: If the soil is too calcareous, iron uptake can be hampered and the fan flower leaf becomes chlorotic.

How do I plant my fan flowers correctly?

Blue fan flowers develop optimally on the balcony or terrace with an even water supply, regular fertilization and a sufficiently large volume of soil. Therefore, repotting is necessary immediately after purchase. Plant the summer flowers in a larger container, in the window box or directly in the bed in the garden. Plant fan flowers in 5 steps:

  1. Submerge the fan flower pot in a bucket of water. This will ensure that the root ball is completely moist.
  2. First put a drainage layer in the window box, bowl or pot. This prevents waterlogging. Make sure the water drainage hole is clear.
  3. For planting the Scaevola Kölle use organic potting soil or Kölle’s best low-peat potting soil. The soil should be structurally stable and be able to store moisture and nutrients well.
  4. Remove the scaevola pot and place the plant in the jar. Put balcony plant soil in the container and press it down lightly with your hands.

Finally, water the new planting. Our gardening tip: At least 2 to 3 liters of soil are required for each balcony plant. With less volume, the maintenance effort increases significantly and the scaevola can not develop optimally. It is therefore important that you repot the summer flower after purchase.

How do I properly care for my fan flowers?

Fan flowers are easy-care balcony plants. Needs -based irrigation and regular use of fertilizer are important. The scaevola sheds dead flowers and new flowers form. Breaking out and cleaning out is not necessary. A cut is not necessary because the genus has a bushy growth habit by nature. With sufficient fertilization, the bee-friendly fan flower blooms all season until the first frost. A hibernationScaevola is difficult to grow and newly purchased specimens are more decorative and willing to flower next spring.

How do I water my blue fan flower properly?

Scaevola prefer a steady water supply. Regular watering is a prerequisite for rich blooms and growth. Make sure that the soil dries between the individual watering processes and that there is never waterlogging. Containers with a large volume of soil or water storage boxes are ideal for fan flowers, as this reduces the effort required for care. Drip irrigation for individual containers, hanging baskets or balcony boxes is also a way of always optimally supplying fan flowers with water . Watering in the morning is optimal, so the plant has the moisture available early. When the weather is cloudy, cool or rainy, it is important that you do not keep the water storage tank constantly filled with water storage boxes or water storage traffic lights. The fan flower suffers if it gets too wet.

Our gardening tip: The frequency of watering depends largely on the size of the plant, the location, the radiation and the volume of soil. Daily watering may be necessary during sunny periods in midsummer. Basically, Scaevola would rather be drier than too wet.

How do I fertilize my fan flowers?

In addition to a sunny location and an even water supply, Scaevola aemula need regular fertilizer. The balcony plants are among the species that have a high need for nutrients. When planting, it is advisable to add a long-term fertilizer. This works for several months depending on the temperature and type. The long-term effect is therefore comfortable and the flowering plants have a basic supply. In addition, 4 to 6 weeks after planting with liquid flower fertilizer with guano. The revitalizing humic substances it contains promote vitality and flower formation. Make sure that the soil is not completely dry before and after fertilizing. From July it is recommended to fertilize with Kölle’s Bio Eisen-Vital every two weeks. This is a biological aid that leads to the natural vitalization of the scaevola.

Our gardening tip: Long-term fertilizer sticks for balcony plants are a practical way of optimally supplying the fan flowers with fertilizer without having to add liquid fertilizer on a weekly basis. It is also a practical solution for single plants on the terrace.

What pests and diseases can my fan flower get?

With the right site conditions and optimal care, Scaevola aemula are plentiful and robust. Well-nourished specimens are less susceptible to pests or diseases.


Scaevola are more susceptible to aphid infestation, especially in phases with less light and less growth. Rinse the plants thoroughly with a jet of water at the first infestation. This first measure usually helps. Natural plant strengtheners help the plant to grow stronger tissue, which is less likely to be attacked by sucking insects.

miner flies

Miner flies are very small, dark-colored flies with a body size of two to three millimeters. The females lay the eggs in leaves, the larvae that develop from them eat so-called mines in the leaf tissue. The damage is visible, the leaves are eaten away so that the outer skin of the leaf remains intact. At the first infestation, remove the affected leaves with the household waste. A fight in the field is onlyhard possible. In the greenhouse/house, the use of beneficial insects against leaf miners is very efficient.

Are you looking for more information about pests and diseases or do you have questions about a plant problem? Our plant doctors will be happy to help you – in person and online!

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about fan flowers

What goes with the fan flower?

All plants that prefer the sun are ideal for combining with Scaevola. The plants should grow at a similar rate so that they are not overgrown. Examples of combinations are: hanging geraniums, magic snow, magic bells or verbena.

Are fan flowers hardy?

In their homeland, fan flowers are hardy. However, the blue fan flower does not tolerate frost and wetness in winter. Therefore, the Scaevola is mainly known to us as an annual bed and balcony flower.

How is the propagation of Scaevola aemula?

The blue fan flower can be easily propagated by cuttings. The best time for this is late summer. Only cut the cuttings from healthy plants with a knife. Placed in propagation pots, new roots form on the young plants within 3 to 4 weeks. In special farms, the blue fan flower is also propagated by sowing.

What fan flower colors are there?

Above all, blue and violet flowering fan flowers are known. Less known are the fan flowers in white or pink. The bee-friendly balcony plant, no matter what colour, is rich in nectar and pollen.

How to overwinter fan flowers?

Before the first frost in autumn, place the fan flowers in a frost-free, bright location with temperatures around 10 °C. A pruning before wintering has proven itself. To do this, cut the summer flowers in half. Keep the fan flowers evenly moist throughout the winter and check regularly for pest infestations. Fertilization is not necessary in winter.

Are fan flowers poisonous?

Scaevola aemula are non-toxic and therefore suitable for the family balcony.

Do you have to cut back fan flowers?

Basically, a pruning of fan flowers is not necessary. The plants grow sprawling and hanging. You can shorten long shoots for optical reasons. With a cut you encourage branching in Scaevola aemula.

Are fan flowers bee friendly?

With a simple flower shape and abundant nectar, Scaevola aemula are popular insect plants.

Does the blue fan flower always grow hanging?

Depending on the type, the growth is described as wide, sparse and overhanging. Ideally, the shoots of the Scaevola are between 30 and 50 cm long.

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