Gaura

Gaura
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Gaura lindheimeri
Credit: Richard Hirneisen
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Gaura lindheimeri

Gaura

Attract butterflies and other pollinators to your yard with gaura's long stems of delicate blossoms. Also known as wandflower, use this tough native perennial as a specimen plant among small grasses and larger perennials or create a stunning display by planting it in a large container.

genus name
  • Gaura
light
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
width
  • 1-2 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
propagation

Colorful Combinations

When in bloom, gaura's wiry stems look like they are covered with small white or pink butterflies. And in fact, they do draw plenty of pollinators. Its small, narrow leaves are most often green, but the foliage also comes in soft burgundy, especially in the varieties with dark pink flowers. Many of the new dwarf varieties make exceptional, drought-tolerant container plants.

Gaura Care Must-Knows

A long taproot means these plants are well-adapted to drought and can stand up to some pretty tough growing conditions. The one thing that absolutely must be avoided is wet soil, because gaura's taproot is likely to rot in soggy conditions. During winter, gaura does best on the dry side and will not overwinter if kept too wet. Because of this, gaura is best planted in well-drained soil. An anomaly of the plant world, gaura not only tolerates poor growing conditions but actually grows better for it. In rich soil, it tends to grow leggy stems and lush foliage that cause the whole plant to flop.

One way to help prevent these naturally tall plants from flopping is by planting them in full sun. This ensures the sturdiest plants possible and promotes the most prolific flowering. Full sun also helps prevent any potential foliar diseases that may, on the rare occasion, bother gaura. These plants are extremely heat- and humidity-tolerant and withstand the toughest summer conditions while still putting on quite a show.

After their initial wave of blooms finish in early- to midsummer, it is a good idea to give these plants a quick shearing. This keeps plants looking neat and ushers in the next round of flowers. In some types this helps prevent potentially vigorous reseeding (a problem in ideal growing conditions).

New Innovations

Because of gaura's tough nature, ability to stand up to harsh summer conditions, and profuse flowers, it has become quite popular. More work has been done to shrink these plants to accommodate containers, which has the benefit of making them more workable in gardens, too, because their loose, willowy shape can be overwhelming in a smaller setting.

Gaura Companion Plants

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