Growing Gaura Plant: How To Care For Whirling Butterfly Flowers

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The Gaura plant, also known as the whirling butterfly or the beeblossom, is often seen in many gardens. It is loved for its hardiness, delicate beauty, and low maintenance needs.

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Blooming Gaura plants | Olivier Tabary-Adobe

Gaura Flower Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Gaura lindheimeri
  • Common Names: Guara, Gara, Wandflower, Beeblossom
  • Synonyms: Oenothera lindheimeri
  • Family & Origin: Onagraceae family, native to Texas and Mexico
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: 5-9
  • Size: 2′-4′ feet tall and wide
  • Flowering: Blooms from late spring to fall with white or pink flowers
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
  • Temperature: Hardy in most temperatures
  • Soil: Well-draining soil
  • Water: Regular watering, but avoid overwatering
  • Fertilizer: Low fertilizer needs
  • Pests & Diseases: Generally pest and disease-free, but can be susceptible aphids and root-rot
  • Propagation: Propagate through seeds
  • Plant Uses: Use as a border plant, in containers. Attracts bees and butterflies.

Understanding the Origins and Attributes of Gaura Plants

Gaura plants originating from Mexico and Texas are known as “superb” in Spanish. Gauras are also known for their drought resistance. People often misspell the name as the “guara plant” or “gara plant”.

Vivid pink flower with prominent stamens, against green foliage.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @vonrizzo

They thrive under ample sunlight and prefer growing in light, well-drained soil. These plants also do well in sun-drenched areas with loose soil. In its original native form, it grows to a height of 36″ inches tall and spreads about three feet wide. In climates offering less sun, it may be a bit smaller.

With a wide range of varieties, Gaura plants make a beautiful addition to almost any garden.

Gaura Varieties

There are about 20 species of Gaura perennial plants. Their attractive features encompass perky dark green foliage and delightful, billowy flowers. These easy-care plants are available in several popular varieties, including:

  • Gaura Belleza Dark Pink
  • Whirling Butterfly – guara flowers change color from white to pink to coral red in summer and autumn.
  • Butterfly Gaura
  • Biennial Gaura – 5′ foot height range. Fine hairs cover the wiry stems. Lovely show all growing season.
  • Corrie’s Gold
  • Siskiyou Pink – (Gaura lindheimeri) bright pink flowers
  • Wandflower
  • White Gaura – native to Texas. 5′ foot height range, very drought tolerant. Billows of delicate white flowers summer and fall.
  • Crimson Butterflies
  • Sparkle White
  • Passionate Rainbow
  • Pretty in Pink – dark pink flowers
Pink flowers with prominent stamensPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @blanchard6910

Cultivars of plants vary in size. Some smaller types never grow bigger than 2′ feet high. Gaura’s size options offer flexibility for different landscaping needs, such as:

  • Low borders
  • Fillers
  • Centerpieces
  • Single specimens in rock gardens
  • Accent for wildflower gardens
  • Combined with ornamental grasses
  • Garden centerpieces surrounded by lower, colorful blooms.

There are also larger Gaura plants. Mix them with various perennials and annuals to make a beautiful garden. Gaura’s thin and graceful shape contrasts well next to plants with big or tall, upright leaves.

Star-Shaped Gaura Flowers Deliver A Fresh Look To Your Summer Garden

Gaura is both pretty and tough. They add a light, airy touch to the garden in hot, dry climates. When most plants look a bit ragged towards the end of the summer, Gaura delivers.

After other flowers finish blooming, Gaura’s star-shaped flowers will still be going strong. The white flowers in your garden setting turn pink, adding color and freshness.

Gaura is an excellent companion for spring bulbs and tubers. The ‘whirling butterflies’ interspersed among the plants add color. When the iris and other bulbs finish blooming, the iris leaves create a lovely backdrop.

These attractive herbaceous perennials add beauty and charm to your landscape. Gaura attracts butterflies, adding more color and interest to your garden from the late spring through fall.

Image of a pink and white Gaura plant with multiple stems and small, delicate flowers.Pin

Growing Gaura Plants From Seed in Your Garden The Steps

Growing Gaura plants is easiest when you plant their seeds directly in the soil.

  • Buy Gaura seeds at your local garden center or online.
  • Choose a variety that thrives in your area’s climate and conditions.
  • Clear the planting area of weeds, debris, and rocks.
  • Use light soil with high sand content, making sure it’s deep and fertile.
  • Select a planting site carefully. Gaura plants have deep taproots and don’t like being moved.
  • Ensure the planting bed allows the long taproot to grow and establish itself.
  • Avoid excessive clay, heavy soil, or poorly drained soil. These soils can hinder taproot development.
  • Deep-seed in the well-prepared bed once frost conditions pass, and the weather warms up.
  • Avoid propagation by division since it’s less successful.

Gaura Planting Tip

To help Gaura plants grow successfully, give smaller varieties a foot of space all around. For larger shrubs, plant them at least 15″ inches apart.

Pink flower with green background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @federicasbphotography

Don’t move Gaura plants from one spot to another in your yard or garden. They don’t handle being dug up and moved well. Instead of moving an existing plant, consider starting with a new one.

Transplanting Gaura From Pots

As mentioned above, Gauras don’t move well. If you’re growing the plantd by dividing its roots, don’t plant them in the ground. First, put them in pots and let them settle and grow. Once established and strong, you can move them to their final place in the garden.

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Photo Credit: Instagram @viverotipuana

Transplanting Gaura Step by Step

  • Dig a large hole that gives plenty of room for root growth.
  • The hole should be twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot your plant is currently in.
  • Gently remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole.
  • Add or remove soil so the top of the root ball is even with the top of the hole.
  • Once the plant is in place, fill the hole with soil that will provide good drainage and root aeration.
  • Improve heavy or high clay soil by adding coarse sand and well-rotted manure.
  • Cover the roots with soil as they were in the pot.

When Is the Best Time to Transplant Gaura?

Plant or transplant potted Gaura later in the growing season is best. Let your spring flowers have their day. As the spring blooms fade, introduce Gaura to add color and life to your “declining” garden.

Guara plants come in very handy as a filler. When other plants start to wilt, cut them back and replace them with the pretty, rugged guara plant. These carefree plants fill empty spaces with billows of blossoms.

Growing Gaura As A Potted Or Container Plant

You can grow Gaura it in a pot if you don’t have much outdoor space. Choose a big enough pot, around 12″ inches deep and 10″ inches wide.

When choosing this plant for your garden, remember it’s a perennial that grows year after year. Gaura plants do best in climate zones 5 to 9.

Pink and white flowers in sunlight.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @sweetgharten

One good thing about growing Gaura in a pot is that you can move it to get the most sun during the growing season. This can help the plant do well, even in places that don’t get a lot of sunshine all day.

To get lots of flowers in summer and fall, make sure your plant gets at least six hours of sun each day.”

Gaura plants can handle some wind. But you should provide support to stop them from getting damaged or growing unevenly.

When your Gaura is in a pot, be sure not to give it too much water. Overwatering will make the roots rot. Check the soil every day. Water deeply when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Water Beeblossom With Care

The main root of the Gaura plant draws water from deep in the ground. Even though these plants are drought-resistant, don’t forget to give them a good soak now and then.

When the top few inches of soil in your yard or garden are dry, it’s time to water your plants. A soaker hose or a slow drip of water over a long time can help give deep and thorough watering.

Vibrant pink flowers, blurred greenery background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @peonies_and_pencils

Gaura Plant Care

Gaura plants do very well in climates like where they come from – the prairies. They don’t need a lot of water. Their long taproots can pull water from deep in the soil, helping them survive dry periods. [source] But if you are growing Gaura in pots or in a part of the garden where the soil gets dry, be sure to water it.

As a native plant from hot, dry regions, Gaura is not a heavy feeder. It does not need fertilizer to stimulate blooming. These plants can grow in poor soil. Work in compost and/or manure into the soil when introducing your plants to your garden.

Excessive fertilizer is detrimental and can cause your Gaura to grow leggy and limp.

Vibrant pink flowers, blurred greenery background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @peonies_and_pencils

How To Deadhead Gaura? Encourage More Blooms and A Bushier Plant

Cutting back the plant and removing fading flowers helps it grow thicker and bloom more. Trim and shape the branches’ ends if you want a thicker plant.

If your Gaura flowers start to lose their color, cut the flower stems off where they meet the stalk. Doing this often can lead to another round of flowers in the fall.

Caring For Gaura During the Winter Months

In warmer regions where Gauras are native or naturalized, caring during cold seasons is minimal. Leave the plants in place and allow the dead stems to sit as protection from the cold. Add a layer of mulch to protect the roots.

In colder areas, mulch is necessary for wintertime protection of the roots. This is especially true if you live in USDA Hardiness Zone 8 or lower. [source]

Gaura Problems Pests And Diseases?

For the most part, Gaura is pest and disease-free.

  • Aphids can attack in early summer. Use a Neem Oil spray for aphid control.
  • You may occasionally notice dark spots on the leaves, don’t despair! The spots are normal coloration.
  • Gaura’s main enemy is root rot. Avoid rotting roots by providing light, airy soil with good drainage. Take great care not to over-water.
Close-up of a pink flower with stamens, vibrant nature background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @takatakabaaba

Gaura FAQs

Why Is My Gaura Not Blooming?

Your Gaura might not be blooming due to a number of factors.

  • Gauras need lots of sunlight, at least six hours of bright light every day. If your plant is in a shady place, it might not bloom as expected.
  • The soil could be too rich or too much fertilizer nourishing the leaves but not the blooms.
  • Environmental changes: Over-pruning or drastic changes like transplanting

When Does Gaura Flower?

Gaura typically starts blooming in early summer and continues to flower until the first hard frost.

Vibrant pink flowers in bloom, green foliage.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @tohumevi

How Long Does Gaura Flower?

Gaura flowers bloom for a long time. They start in early summer and keep going until the first big frost. As they bloom, the stems of the flowers grow longer.

Celebrate With Gaura

Gaura plants are easy to grow and fuss-free, making them a wonderful addition to any garden.

Display them as a border, a low-privacy hedge, a container plant, or a glorious burst of color as summer draws to a close. Explore the delights of Gaura – they are a sturdy, fast-growing, perennial charm.

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