The gaura plant is an attractive shrub that is native to Mexico and Texas. It is a very pretty plant and can add to the beauty of any garden. It is a genus of 20 species that is a part of the primrose family, also known as Onagraceae.
Along with its scientific name of Gaura lindheimeri, it is also known as apple-blossom grass, wand flower, bee-blossom or white gaura. This plant gets its name from the Greek word ‘gauros’ which means superb in its literal sense.
Features of the Gaura Plant
This is an herbaceous perennial that grows up to a height of 15 to 48 inches approximately. The flowers are white, pink or a mixture of both the colors. The bloom time for the flowers is early summer to mid-fall.
They grow on wiry stems that can be around 3 to 4 feet tall and each flower has 4 petals that grow upwards. The leaves of this plant have a woody taproot and are narrow, slightly wavy, and lance-shaped.
Occasionally, maroon spots can be seen on the leaves of this plant. The foliage color can range from dark green to burgundy.
This plant is rather short-lived, and winter is not the best season for the foliage of this plant since it tends to die. The flowers of this plant attract butterflies, bees, and bumblebees due to their attractive colors.
After the blooming period, the flowers drop off, and fruits show up. These fruits are nut-like and have reddish colored seeds. In the initial stages, the fruits are green in color, and then they change color and become grayish brown later on.
Cultivation of the Gaura Plant
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. It needs full sun exposure in order to grow healthily, alongside light sandy soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. This means that the soil should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
It can tolerate some shade in hotter climates but mostly prefers full sun. It is a drought-tolerant plant owing to the fact that it has a long taproot.
This is why the gaura plant is difficult to transplant and why the site for planting should be chosen only after careful consideration. The soil should be well-drained, with a good amount of compost.
The results can be amazing if these plants are planted in raised beds. The plants should be spaced around 12 inches apart for ideal growth space.
This plant does not really require regular watering. But whenever it is watered, it should be made sure that the water reaches the deep roots. It doesn’t need fertilizing.
If fertilizer is used frequently, it can make the plant very floppy. Pruning is highly encouraged for this plant as it contributes to making the plant look healthy. On the whole, this plant is easy to grow.
It is best grown from seeds that are available online or at local shops. They can be grown in pots, too.
Caring for the Gaura Plant
This plant is mostly resistant to diseases and pests. Poorly drained soil can cause them to develop root rot. In the case of excessive drought or overcrowding, these plants can be infected by aphids, whiteflies, or flea beetles.
To minimize the chances of these pests appearing, the dead plants should be regularly removed. Dead plants attract pests because they can use them to take cover in the winter season. For this reason, the flowerbeds should be weeded on a regular basis.
Types of Gaura Flowers
There are many different varieties and cultivars of the gaura plant. The most popular ones are listed below and explained in detail, too.
1. Whirling Butterfly
This variety has loose white flowers with a pinkish colored tinge. The blooming seasons for these flowers are summer and fall. This species is scientifically known as Oenothera lindheimeri.
This plant needs full sun or partial shade to grow. Normal or sandy soil that is neutral, alkaline, or acidic is ideal for this plant.
The soil does not necessarily need moisture. Its foliage is green in color, and it has a medium growth rate. It grows to a height of 23 to 35 inches approximately and spreads 23 to 35 inches.
For undisturbed growth of this variety of gaura, you should ensure that there is no foot traffic in the area where this plant is cultivated. Other than that, it does not really require a lot of care. This plant is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.
It attracts a lot of butterflies and humming bees. This variety can self-seed and thus is easy to grow. The name of this variety has ‘butterfly’ in it, owing to the fact that the flower petals open one at a time and dance in the wind like butterflies.
This plant does not really have any insect or disease issues. However, root rot can be a major problem in case of poorly drained soils. This variety is ideal for containers and cuttings.
2. Biennial Gaura
This variety belongs to the Onagraceae family, also known as Evening Primrose. It was formerly known as Gaura biennis. It is a biennial variety that can grow up to a height of 2 to 6 feet.
It needs full sun and mesic conditions to grow healthily. Where its soil requirements are concerned, it can grow well in loam, sand, or gravel sand. Its flower spikes are around 4 to 8 inches long and have flowers at the tip and fruits below that.
The flowers start off white initially and then slowly turn pink. The flowers have petals that are diamond-shaped and are 0.5 inches long and wide.
The leaves are wavy, around 4 inches long and 0.5 inches wide, and sport a deep green color. The blooming season for this plant is from July to October. Its USDA hardiness zones are 4 to 7.
At planting time, the plants should be spaced 10 to 18 inches apart so that they have enough space to grow. A great thing about this variety is that its flowers are very fragrant. This plant can easily be grown from seed.
3. Corrie’s Gold
This is a deciduous perennial variety that belongs to the Onagraceae family. It has a clump-forming growth habit and is hardy in USDA zone 4. The leaves are narrow and pinnately lobed. Over a period of time, small flowers that are star-shaped show up.
These flowers are typically white in color and look like small butterflies. The blooming season for these plants is early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, and mid-fall.
This plant can grow healthily in full sun or partial shade. It needs sand, loam, or chalk soil to grow – the soil should be moist but well-drained. It can grow up to a height of 1 meter and can spread up to 0.5 meters. It takes approximately 2 to 5 years for this plant to grow to its maximum height.
This plant can be grown by basal cuttings or by softwood cuttings. It looks best in flower beds, borders, and as a container plant. It needs regular pruning and is generally free of pests and diseases.
If you’re planting this variety in your garden, you need to ensure that there is no foot traffic in the area where this plant is growing. This is to make sure that the plant grows undisturbed.
4. Siskiyou Pink
This is an herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of 2.5 to 3 feet and spreads the same, too. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8. The blooms are rose-pink in color and bloom in the months between May and August.
The flowers are showy and can add a very pretty and colorful look to any garden. This plant needs full sun to grow and is a very low maintenance plant due to its medium water requirements. Sandy soil that is well-drained is also ideal for the growth of this plant.
Siskiyou pink does not have any serious disease or insect problems. However, care should be taken in order to keep the plant away from root rot. Rust and powdery mildew can also sometimes prove to be an issue.
The best use for this plant is in sunny borders or as a container plant. It also looks very pretty in wild gardens or any natural areas. This plant requires fertilizing to ensure that the soil has enough nutrients – only then can the pretty blooms grow.
It is a drought-tolerant plant. It is also tolerant of deer and rabbit. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds just like the rest of the varieties of this plant.
When it comes to its upkeep, this plant does not necessarily require deadheading. However, a little trimming can ensure that the plant looks healthier for longer. It ensures that new flowering stems emerge.
This perennial is bushy and clump-forming. It has spoon-shaped leaves that are green in color, but occasionally, maroon spots can be seen. The flowers have 4 petals and are initially white in color.
Later, they change color and turn light pink. They look great in borders. This plant needs full sun to grow, alongside soil that is well-drained, moist, and fertile.
It can grow in partial shade too, but full sun is ideal for this plant. A property of this plant that is great for growers is that it is drought-tolerant.
To ensure that this plant looks healthy, withered flowers should be removed. This plant is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9. It is short-lived and grows to a height of 24 to 30 inches.
It can spread 20 to 36 inches wide. The blooming season for wandflower is late spring to fall. Deadheading is necessary for this plant in order for it to look fresh and healthy.
6. Passionate Rainbow
This variety is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. It grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches and is 18 to 24 inches wide, too. It is a compact plant that has dark burgundy foliage and pink colored flowers. The flowers bloom in early summer to fall and are 1 inch wide.
This plant can grow well in full sun or partial shade. Sandy or loamy soil that is well drained is preferred for this plant. It has a medium growth rate and the ideal regions for the growth of this plant are Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest.
When growing this plant, it should be spaced at 15 inches so that it has enough comfortable space to grow. This plant can best be put to use for mass planting, general garden use, and for container planting. It gets its name from the fact that the spikes of its pink flowers that are star-shaped arise in a rainbow form.
The fruits of this plant are not ornamentally significant. It needs to be watered occasionally, but in extreme heat conditions, its water requirements increase. It has a moderate growth rate, and its companion plants are Phlox, Bellflower, and Iris since they complement this plant really well.
7. Sparkle White
This variety is a Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner. It is characterized by 1.75-inch white flowers with a slight tinge of pink in them. This is a perennial plant that can tolerate heat very well.
It has mounding growth. The foliage color of this plant is deep green and it can grow up to a height of 12 to 30 inches. The bloom season for this plant is from late spring to winter.
It is hardy in USDA zone 6 and needs full sun or partial sun to grow. It does not really need a lot of water to survive.
Deadheading and stalking are not required for this plant, which means that it can be left to grow without worry. When growing this plant, multiple seeds should be spaced approximately 18 to 20 inches apart so that it has ample space to spread.
This plant is ideal for landscape plantings and for container use. It is a drought-tolerant variety and can add a whole lot of beauty to any landscape.
8. Crimson Butterflies
The bloom color is hot pink and the blooming season is early summer to early fall. This plant is adaptable to any kind of soil and can tolerate high humidity conditions.
Despite the fact that this plant is drought-tolerant, a good amount of water can ensure that it grows to become healthy and keeps a fresh look. This plant is best for containers and cottage gardens. It attracts butterflies and can resist deer.
It does not require a lot of care and has a medium growth rate. It should be grown in an area where there is little to no foot traffic. Otherwise, the growth of crimson butterflies can be impeded.
The gaura plant is really beautiful and can add life to any landscape. It is definitely a popular choice for many garden owners.