Surdiva Scaevolas: Production Secrets

'Surdiva Light Blue' from Suntory

Suntory has transformed one of the most heat-tolerant bedding plants by making scaevolas more manageable to grow and maintain. Native to Australia and Polynesia, scaevola is grown as an annual but is a perennial by nature. While the native species has a wild, rangy habit, Surdivas have a mounding, semi-trailing habit, producing distinctive fan-shaped flowers on short terminal spikes. The three colors – Blue, Light Blue and White – are very uniform and fill out containers nicely. Plants are drought tolerant, making them ideal for low-maintenance situations.

Sizzling All Summer

Surdiva scaevolas are capturing attention and recognition in leading university trials. In 2011, the Surdiva series was named the best scaevola at Penn State University and featured as the plant of the month at the Dallas Arboretum in June. At the University of Georgia, ‘Surdiva Light Blue’ received a Classic City Award and was named a Plant of Distinction.

General Culture

Rooted cuttings should be planted as soon as possible into 4-inch pots or larger. Use a well-drained peat/perlite mix with a pH of 5.6-6.0 and maintain a substrate EC of 2.0. Slow-release fertilizer is recommended in addition to liquid fertilizer with a longevity of three to four months. Water plants prior to wilting and allow substrate to dry out between waterings to reduce the risk of root rot.

Helpful Hints from John Barone
Barone Gardens
Cicero, New York
Surdiva scaevolas are much more compact than others on the market and are excellent for 4-inch production, window boxes and baskets. They are easy to grow and excellent in combination plantings. Growers used to have to rely on a lot of pinching to keep scaevolas in check with their rangy habits but the Surdiva series solves this problem and offers three key colors – Blue, Light Blue and White. We’ve mixed Surdivas with Suntory’s ‘Silver Leaf Yellow’ helichrysums and produced striking combinations of blue and yellow.

Extra iron applications may be required to promote good leaf color. Apply as iron sulphate drenches (avoid foliage contact) or iron chelate sprays or drenches. Purpling of the foliage can be a result of low phosphorous and is more prevalent in some colors. Moderate or high levels of phosphorous can cause yellow-red coloring in older foliage.

Plant Growth Regulators

The use of growth regulators on this crop is not necessary. Pinching can encourage the correct shape and act as a form of growth control. B9 (paclobutrazol) drench and Sumagic (uniconazole) work well on scaevola.

Crop Timing

• 4-inch pots – six to seven weeks with one liner and one pinch
• 6-inch pots – seven to eight weeks with one liner and two pinches
• 10-inch baskets – 12-15 weeks with three liners and two to three pinches.
Less pinching is required when plants are grown cool.

Pests & Diseases

Monitor for whiteflies, thrips, leaf miners, aphids and mites. Prevent Botrytis, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Pythium. A broad-spectrum fungicide drench is recommended after planting.

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