Fairy Fan Flower – Scaevola aemula

Purple Fairy Fan Flowers look like miniature hand fans
Fairy Fan Flowers

I first saw this flower at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., but the plant was not identified and almost seemed to be growing wild alongside a trail. It wasn’t until the following week when we went to the Longwood Gardens that I found out the identity of this asymmetrical beauty. It originates in the eastern parts of Australia and tolerates heat and seaside conditions well.


I know I said this plant is asymmetrical…that is due to the fact that the petals on each flower are all off to one side, clumped together, making the individual flower seem out of balance. But upon closer (or further) inspection, the flowers are arranged in a circle around a group of leaves, making a perfectly circular balanced arrangement.


These plants are tender, short-lived perennials (approx 18 mo to 2 years) growing in USDA zones 9 through 11. But in colder zones they may be grown as annuals; they grow quickly and flower abundantly!


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