How to Plant and Grow Gas Plant

This perennial is also known as burning bush for the highly flammable oil it produces.

Gas plant is an upright perennial, hardy in Zones 3-8, that blooms in late spring to early summer with small white or pink flowers. It does well in northern climates with cool nights and tolerates light shade. Gas plant likes to be left alone to grow, and it doesn't like to be disturbed once planted.

Gas plant flowers begin at the tips of stems and form tall spikes of fragrant pink or white five-petal blossoms. The pink varieties often feature darker or red colors along the veins, creating feather-like patterns. After blooming, the flowers will give way to star-shaped seed heads that provide ornamental interest when left on the plant.

Another common name for gas plant is burning bush. Both names refer to the highly flammable oil produced by the plant. This oil can volatilize and create a gas around the plant on hot, windless days. When lit with a match or lighter, this gas goes up in quick flames and envelopes the plant in a burst of fire. On very hot, dry days, gas plant can spontaneously burst into flames.

Use caution when working near or handling this perennial because all plant parts secrete an oil that can cause an allergic reaction.

Gas Plant Overview

Genus Name Dictamnus albus
Common Name Gas Plant
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 3 feet
Flower Color Pink, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Spring Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Propagation Seed
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant

Where to Plant Gas Plant

Native to open woodland habitats, gas plant grows best in well-drained soil. For the most vigorous flowering, site gas plant in full sun. It can tolerate some shade, especially in warmer climates.

Because of the flammable nature of this plant, it's best not to grow in locations where wildfires can occur and to grow at a distance from any buildings.

How and When to Plant Gas Plant

If you want to start new plants, they can be grown from seed but may take about three to four years to flower. Gas plants are slow to establish in the garden, but once they do, they'll be long-lived and low-maintenance.

Gas Plant Care Tips

The sensitive root system of gas plant can make it challenging to establish plants, but once they're settled, they'll be around for a long time.


Gas plant needs plenty of sun, but in areas where it gets very hot during the summer, partial shade during the afternoon is beneficial.

Soil and Water

Ideally, it prefers to be planted in humus-rich, well-drained soil that does not become soggy but remains evenly moist. Once a gas plant is established, it can handle some droughts due to its long taproot, but during extended dry periods, it should be watered.

Temperature and Humidity

The best climate for gas plant is warm days with cooler nights. In warmer climates, especially during droughts, the plant may go dormant and return once temperatures fall.


Gas plants grow in poor soil, so they don't need regular fertilizing, though you can use an organic product once each spring. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.


Pruning is best done in the spring so it can provide food for birds during winter.

Pests and Problems

Garden pests are the only problems gas plant usually encounters. Use a blast of water from a hose to get rid of them, or if that doesn't work, try insecticidal soap or neem oil.

How to Propagate Gas Plant

Once planted, make sure to leave gas plant where it is. It forms woody roots and does not tolerate transplanting or root disturbance. Because of this, gas plants should be sowed from seed as opposed to division or cuttings.

Types of Gas Plant

Purple Gas Plant

purple gas plant
Susan Gilmore

Dictamnus albus 'Purpureus' has purplish-pink flowers with dark veins and stems. As with all forms of gas plant, it is slow to establish. Zones 3-8

White Gas Plant

white gas plant
Marty Baldwin

This variety of Dictamnus albus has white flower spikes that develop into star-shaped, nut-brown seed pods in fall. Zones 3-8

Gas Plant Companion Plants


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Bob Stefko

Perhaps the best-loved perennials, herbaceous peonies belong in almost every garden. Their flowers—single, semidouble, anemone centered or Japanese, and fully double—come in glorious shades of pink, red, white, and yellow. The foliage is usually dark green and remains good-looking all season long. These are hardly fussy plants. Where well suited to the climate, they can thrive on zero care. Zones 3-8


Iris Immortality
Dean Schoeppner

Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, perennial iris comes in a rainbow of colors and many heights. All have the classic, intricate flowers constructed with three upright "standard" petals and three drooping "fall" petals, often different colors. The falls may be "bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Zones 3-9


Little Grapette daylily
Peter Krumhardt

Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields. And yet they look so delicate, producing trumpet-shaped blooms in myriad colors. There are some 50,000 named perennial hybrid cultivars in various flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant. The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape, so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous. Zones 3-10

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do gas plants have a scent?

    Flowers of the gas plant have a lovely fragrance with citrusy overtones. Its glossy compound leaves in a rich green color release a lemony fragrance when crushed or bruised.

  • How tall will gas plant get?

    Gas plant can grow to be up to 4 feet tall. After a few years, clumps form with plenty of blooms.

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