Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 724 Scaevola aemula

Common Names: scaevola, fairy fanflower Family: Goodeniacea (scaevola Family)
Image Gallery

fairy fan flower
The low-growing and sprawling fairy fanflower is perfect as a colorful groundcover - even at the beach as it is salt tolerant and adapts to dry sandy soils.


Fairy fanflower is an evergreen herbaceous perennial with thick, coarsely toothed, oblong, 2 in (5.1 cm) leaves on erect and sprawling stems. The plant forms a mound up to 20 in (50.8 cm) tall and spreading 3 ft (0.9 m) across. It produces masses of blue, lilac or white flowers with yellow throats on open spikes throughout the spring and summer. The flowers are about 1 in (2.5 cm) across and the five petals are in a half circle, all on one side, which makes them look like little hand fans.

'New Wonder' is probably the best known cultivar. It has a sprawling habit and gets less than 1 ft (0.3 m) tall but can cover an area 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter. It produces lots of small purple-blue flowers all summer long. 'White Wonder' has white flowers.

'Blue Wonder' scaeveola
This is 'New Wonder' fairy fanflower.


Fairy fanflower, Scaevola aemula, is native to sandy, coastal areas in eastern Australia. It often grows on coastal dunes.


Light: Full sun or light shade. Moisture: Fairy fanflower is quite tolerant of drought and loose, sandy soils. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Fairy fanflower can tolerate light frosts. It grows fast enough to be used as an annual in cooler zones. Propagation: Seeds are sown in spring after danger of frost. Softwood tip cuttings can be rooted in summer. (Of course, patented cultivars such as 'New Wonder' and 'White Wonder' cannot be propagated legally without permission.)


Fanflowers can be grown in containers or hanging pots outdoors in summer and brought indoors during the winter. In subtropical climates, they are grown in perennial beds and borders. They are tolerant of sandy soils and salt spray. The sprawling cultivars make excellent groundcovers in seaside gardens.

'White Wonder' scaeveola
'White Wonder' fairy fanflower


Fairy fanflower is a great choice for seaside gardens in tropical and subtropical climates. It covers the ground with a profusion of pretty blue flowers for months on end. Cascading over the sides of a hanging basket, fanflower is hard to beat as a summertime patio plant.

Beach naupaka (Scaevola sericea) is an evergreen, bushy shrub to 10 ft (25.4 m) tall that has been used as hedge in South Florida seaside gardens, but is now known to be extremely invasive and is no longer recommended.

Steve Christman 6/20/00; updated 2/12/04, 1/25/08

Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
for pots and containers
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages

Scaevola species profiled on Floridata:

Scaevola aemula

( scaevola, fairy fanflower )

Scaevola sericea

( beach naupaka, sea lettuce, half-flower, Hawaiian half-flower )

More Floridata:

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC