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CLARKIA breweri

Image of Clarkia breweri

Eric in SF, Wikimedia Commons Contributor

Family

Onagraceae

Botanical Name

CLARKIA breweri

Plant Common Name

Brewer's Clarkia, Fairy Fans

General Description

This is one of California's best wildflowers for the garden! Not only does fairy fans produce a delightful floral fragrance, the blossoms are unique and lovely. This annual is endemic (native only) to central California. In its native habitat it can be found in chaparral lands, wooded foothills and coastal scrub. In the wild it is quite rare. Under ideal growing conditions, it forms a wispy dome of foliage, topped with flowers.

Plants sprout from seed either in autumn or early spring. The thin stems of fairy fans bear small, thin, lance-shaped leaves of gray-green. Sometimes the leaf edges are rusty red. Anytime from late spring to midsummer, four petaled, squarish flowers of violet-pink to vibrant rose appear at the stem tips. Each petal is heart-shaped with an orange stem lobe. Fairy fans is the only species of Clarkia that's fragrant, and it is largely moth pollinated. Elongated, seed-filled capsules follow pollination.

Grow fairy fans in full to partial sun in well-drained, nutrient poor soil. Some shade in the intense afternoon sun is beneficial. Sandy loam soils are ideal and must be evenly moist when seeds germinate and seedlings establish. This annual is drought and salt tolerant. Do not fertilize, as it causes leafy growth at the expense of flowers. Seed in fairy fans as a bedding plant, or a wildflower in a rock or coastal garden. In subtropical regions, plant in the dry season before the sultry summer rainy season sets in.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    7"-10" / 17.8cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    10"-15" / 25.4cm - 38.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    United States, California

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Cushion/Mound-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Hot Pink, Rose

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes