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Planting and Caring for Gaura Flowers| Almanac.com

Gauras

Oenothera lindheimeri, Lindheimer's beeblossom, white gaura, Lindheimer's clockweed, and Indian feather, a species of Oenothera
Photo Credit
NataliaVo
Botanical Name
Oenothera lindheimeri
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zone

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Planting, Growing, and Caring for Gaura Plants

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Gaura, also known as apple blossom grass, Lindheimer’s bee blossom, wand flower, and whirling butterfly, is a beautiful, delicate addition to your flower gardens and containers. Learn more about how to plant, grow, and care for Gauras.

About Gaura

The name Gaura comes from the Greek word gauros, meaning “superb”—and indeed it is. A member of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae), gaura plants can range from 15 inches (dwarf) to 4 feet tall. Gaura’s small (1/2- to 1-inch-diameter), four-petal, pink, white, or bicolor flowers appear on wiry stems (aka “wands”) beginning in early summer and continue to do so if stems are cut back to allow for new growth, until the first hard frost. See your personalized frost dates.

The flowers attract bees and sometimes butterflies, and the plant is a host to the white-lined sphinx moth, a beneficial species. Gauras are tolerant of both drought and high temperatures. When they are planted in-ground, their long taproot goes deep for moisture; container plantings, though, need water—provided sparingly—for best flowering. 

Gaura is an herbaceous, clump-forming perennial native to Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 9, but in cold zones, it is often treated as or performs like an annual. The plant is also suitable for naturalizing in a mixed border or in wildflower or native plant gardens. 

The plant is considered an easy-to-grow perennial, but it is not necessarily long-lived outside of its native areas, where cold temperatures and/or persistently wet soil can affect its survival. It is also suitable for naturalizing (in-ground) in a mixed border or in wildflower or native plant gardens. Check out more popular plants for naturalizing.

Planting

Purchasing plants is recommended, at least initially. Gaura may self-seed (naturalize) if flower stems are not pruned out in fall (to minimize seeding, remove them when flowers fade); alternatively, seeds (reddish brown, inside nutlike capsules) may be saved for sowing in spring. The large root makes propagation by division a challenge, so this is seldom advised.

Gaura does well in sandy, loamy, well-draining soil, but it will tolerate poor soil as well. Avoid excessive aged manure and minimize fertilizer, as these can cause plants to flop over. Poor drainage can result in root rot; the plant may not survive wet soil in winter.

Provide full sun. Some afternoon shade is tolerated, but too much shade can cause flopping.

Water occasionally but deeply, especially if you are growing your gaura containers. Watch our video to learn how to water plants for healthy growth.

The name of these flowers is gaura, Lindheimer's beeblossom. Scientific name is Gaura lindheimeri.
Photo: Liviu Gherman
Growing

Fertilizer is not necessary. 

If plants become leggy and/or flop over, provide artificial support, plant closer together, or introduce other plants to provide support.

Prune out spent flower spikes for additional blooms. Cut back tall plants by half in late spring to maintain form.

Remove flower stems in fall and eliminate dead foliage in spring.

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Wit and Wisdom
  • Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer, after whom more than 20 plant species (and one genus) were named, is known as the “Father of Texas Botany.” The Texas rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri) is also named in his honor.
  • Lindheimer cofounded the city of New Braunfels, Texas, where his house (which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970) is preserved as a museum. He was the first editor of the newspaper in that city, which is today called the Herald-Zeitung.
  • Lindheimer’s plant essays and articles were published in German in 1879 and translated by John E. Williams for publication by Texas A&M University Press.
Pests/Diseases

Diseases: cotton root rot, powdery mildew, and rust

Pests: aphids, flea beetles, and whiteflies.

About The Author

Carol Connare

As the 14th editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Carol Connare works with writers and other editors to develop “new, useful, and entertaining matter” for the annual Almanac as well as books, calendars, and other publications. Read More from Carol Connare

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