Gas Plant

Gas Plant
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
pink gas plant
Credit: Peter Krumhardt
pink gas plant
Gas Plant

An old-school favorite, gas plant is an upright, clump-forming perennial that blooms in late spring to early summer with small white or pink flowers. It does well in northern climates with cool nights and it tolerates light shade. Gas plant likes to be left alone to grow, and it does not like to be disturbed once planted.

genus name
  • Dictamnus albus
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 1 to 3 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Colorful Combinations

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 pink or red colors along the veins, forming feather-like patterns. Flowers of the gas plant have a lovely fragrance with citrusy overtones. After blooming, the flowers will give way to star-shape seed heads that provide ornamental interest when left on the plant. Its glossy compound leaves in a rich green color release a lemony fragrance when crushed or bruised.

Flammable Flowers

Another common name of gas plant is burning bush. Both names refer to the highly flammable oil produced by the plant. On especially hot, windless days, this oil can volatilize and create a gas around the plant. 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, and there is speculation that this plant may be the burning bush referenced in the Bible. Use caution when working near or handling this perennial because all parts of the plant secrete an oil that can cause an allergic reaction.

Gas Plant Care Must-Knows

Native to open woodland habitats, gas plant grows best in well-drained soil. Ideally, it prefers to be planted in humus-rich soil that does not become soggy but remains evenly moist. Once a gas plant is established, it can handle some droughts, but during extended dry periods it should be watered. In warmer climates, especially during droughts, the plant may go dormant and come back once temperatures begin to fall. For the most vigorous flowering, site gas plant in full sun. It can tolerate some shade, especially in warmer climates.

Once planted, make sure to leave gas plant where it is. It forms woody roots and does not tolerate transplanting or any sort of root disturbance. If you are looking to start some new plants, it can be grown from seed but may take about 3-4 years to flower. Gas plant is also slow to establish in the garden, but once it does, it will be a long-lived, low maintenance plant.

More Varieties of Gas Plant

Related Items

purple gas plant
Credit: Susan Gilmore

Purple gas plant

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
Credit: Marty Baldwin

White gas plant

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

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