How to care for scaevola and bacopa plants

Written by hope molinaro
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Bacopa and scaevola plants are sun-loving, prolific bloomers with sprawling/trailing habits and evergreen foliage. Bacopa's tiny, five-petal flowers and scaevola's fan-shaped flowers range in colours from blue and violet/lavender to white and pink. Low-growing, between 3 and 12 inches tall, both plants work well in garden beds and borders, as ground covers, or in containers. Their care requirements are similar, so with some adjustments, they can be grown in the same bed or border.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bacopa plant(s)
  • Scaevola plant(s)
  • Yardstick
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Spade
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • High-potash liquid fertiliser
  • High-nitrogen fertiliser
  • Garden shears

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  1. 1

    Select a sunny to partially shady (receiving at least 6 hours of sun a day) location for planting bacopa. Scaevola prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade, though with somewhat less fullsome flowering. Using a yardstick to measure, allot each plant at least 2 feet of space.

    Bacopa is of South African origin; scaevola traces to Australia and Polynesia. Both are classified as tropicals and tender perennials, though grown as annuals in temperate and cooler climates. Their USDA hardiness zones are 10 and 11; in other zones, they thrive in the higher temperatures of late spring through summer, blooming until early fall.

  2. 2

    Amend soil with peat moss and compost, working them in to a depth of about 1 foot with a spade. Both help soil to to drain well--a requirement of both bacopa and scaevola. At the same time, peat moss provides the acidity both plants prefer, and compost provides balanced nutrients.

  3. 3

    Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as hemlock, cedar or pine chips, to help soil retain moisture and prevent weed growth. The mulch will also add nutrients to the soil as it breaks down over time.

  4. 4

    Water bacopa regularly, about every other day, depending on heat, light and humidity conditions. Keep the soil evenly moist, never allowing it to dry out, which can cause the flower buds to dry up.

    Water scaevola more sparingly--once, established, it is considered "drought-resistant". However, during hotter, dryer summer days, water the plants roughly twice a week.

    For both bacopa and scaevola, avoid over-watering, which can cause root rot and plant death.

  5. 5

    Wait for flowering to drop off at the end of the season; feed bacopa with a high-potash liquid fertiliser to reinvigorate. For the rest of the season, compost will suffice.

    Throughout the season, feed scaevola regularly with a high-nitrogen fertiliser.

  6. 6

    Prune plants by snipping off older stems with garden shears as they get straggly. Dead-heading (removing faded blooms) is not necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Bacopa is the common name of the genus "Sutera." The plant classified under the genus "Bacopa," commonly called "water hyssop," is an aquatic plant used in water gardens, ponds and aquariums.
  • You'll sometimes see scaevola referred to as "fan flower" because of the shape of its flowers.
  • Bacopa and scaevola are especially attractive in hanging baskets and window boxes, which showcase their cascading flowers.
  • Bacopa and scaevola are not frost-tolerant.

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