Notable for fan-shaped blossoms, with all the segments on one side. Named for the Roman hero Mutius Scaevola, who burned off one of his hands to prove his bravery. Plants are evergreen in the Coastal and Tropical South and nearly everblooming as well. In colder regions, where they are often grown as annuals, they bloom from late spring until frost and are useful as ground covers and in hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers. Good drainage is a must. Not favored by browsing deer.
S. aemula. FAN FLOWER. This Australian native gets its common name from the shape of its flowersthey do indeed resemble little fans, with all the petals on one side. Some forms are prostrate, others upright to 212 ft.; fleshy stems of some spread to 3 ft. wide, while those of others trail or sprawl to twice that width. Bright green, 112- to 2-in.-long leaves; lavender-blue, 112-in. flowers all along the leafy branches.
Selections feature blue, lavender-blue, purple, pink, or white blossoms. Popular 'Blue Wonder' and 'New Wonder' are lavender-blue; 'Whirlwind White' and 'White Charm' have snowy white blooms. Flowers of 'Zig Zag' sport blue and white stripes.
S. albida. From Australia. Flowers are smaller and stems less fleshy than those of S. aemula. Forms a mat 46 in. high, eventually spreading to 35 ft. across. 'Mauve Clusters' has 12-in.-wide flowers in lilac-tinged mauve; often grown as a long-lived ground cover (space plants 2 ft. apart). 'Alba' is similar but with white flowers.