Learn how to grow gaura in your garden. Gaura plant care and growing is easy. This drought tolerant shrub thrives in well-drained soil and loves to bath in the day long sun.
The gaura is a beautiful perennial plant that is easy to grow and with minimal care, it offers a long blooming period and colorful flowers that attract butterflies.
Gaura Plant Care
USDA Zones— 5 – 10
Other Names— Wandflower, Butterfly gaura, Whirling butterfly, Siskiyou pink
The genus “Gaura” consists of about 20 species of plants. It is native to North America. Its fine erected foliage and irregularly shaped flowers make it attractive. You can vary the uses according to the species, low growing varieties (not more than 24 inches) are placed in borders or in rock gardens while the large shrub-like varieties are perfect for growing in the cluster behind low growing plants in flower beds.
Two Popular Varieties
- Gaura Biennis (Biennial Gaura): A tall variety that can grow 3-6 feet high. The foliage is red when matured, it has hairy flowering stems and light pink or white colored flowers that turn into coral red in late summer and fall.
- Gaura Lindheimeri (White Gaura): A Texas native, tolerant to drought. It grows up to 5 feet tall, flowers appears from summer to fall.
How to Grow Gaura
Gaura can be propagated from seeds.The seeds are available in local garden shops or can be bought online. Propagation by cuttings should be done in spring and late summer or by division in the fall.
Prepare the planting site by performing a deep plowing. Remove stones, debris, and weeds. This plant doesn’t transplant well, that’s why it is better to sow the seeds directly at the planting site, once all the dangers of frost are eliminated and the weather warms up.
If you are planting a potted gaura plant, make sure to make a planting hole in soil– twice wide and of the same depth as it was planted in the previous pot. Place the plant in the hole and fill that with well-drained soil. If the soil is very heavy or poor prepare it by adding compost or well-rotted manure and coarse sand in smaller proportion.
How to Grow Gaura in Pots
Growing gaura in pots is possible. Choose the pot that is 12 inches deep and 10 inches wide to provide a sufficient space to the plant. Keep the pot in sunny spot and water it only when the top surface of soil dries out.
Requirements for Growing Gaura
Planting position must be sunny, for prolific blooms exposure to at least 6 hours of sunlight is ideal. If the location is windy provide support to plants.
Gaura grows well in light and sandy soil. Due to its taproot, the soil must be deep and also little fertile. Water logging soil that is clay rich and cloaks the drainage hinders the development and must be avoided.
Growing gaura is easy. As it adapts well to the drought-like conditions due to the long taproot it has, infrequent and economical watering is recommended. Water it deeply but only when the top two inch of soil seems dry.
The planting distance for low growing varieties is around 12 inches. For more shrub like large varieties, space the plants 15 inches apart from each other.
Gaura Plant Care
Gaura doesn’t require additional fertilizer to bloom. It thrives in poor soil. Application of manure or compost during planting is sufficient. Even adding too much natural fertilizer can cause the plant to grow limply.
Deadheading and Pruning
Remove spent flower spikes as soon as they fade, cut the entire stalk to promote more blooms. Once the blooming period ends in late summer, trim the shrub slightly (3″) to refresh it. The plant will start to flower again in fall with more vigor.
Gaura plant care is if you live in the warmer region. During the winter, let the faded stems on site, they provide protection against the cold. It is also recommended to mulch around the roots to insulate them, especially if you live below USDA Zone 8.
Diseases and Pests
The gaura is immune to diseases though excess water or planting in wet soil can cause root rot. It rarely gets attacked by pests but keep an eye on common garden pests.