How to Grow and Care for Gaura (Wandflower)

Common NameWandflower, whirling butterfly, bee blossom
Botanical NameOenothera lindheimeri
FamilyOnagraceae
Plant TypePerennial, herbaceous
Mature Size15–48 in. tall, 15–48 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull
Soil TypeSandy
Soil pHAcidic, alkaline, neutral
Bloom TimeSummer, fall 
Flower ColorWhite, pink
Hardiness Zones5-9 (USDA)
Native AreaNorth America

Gaura (Wandflower) Care

Gaura is a low-maintenance plant that is a good choice for novice gardeners. Its waving wands dotted with dozens of pinkish flowers don’t stop blooming in triple-digit temperatures or in dry weather that turns lawns crisp.

The airy texture and form of gaura make them lovely accent plants in a mixed perennial border. You can plant masses of them in the wildflower garden, where they will demonstrate how they got the nickname “whirling butterflies” as they dance in the breeze. Keep in mind that the long taproot that makes gaura so drought-tolerant also makes it difficult to transplant successfully, so choose your planting site carefully.

Gaura plants may flop over in the garden, and while staking is always an option, you can use supportive companion plants that will keep the flower spikes out of the mud. Rigid, upright flowers like yarrow, ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, or liatris have similar growing conditions and blooming times. A trio of butterfly weed, globe thistle, and gaura is a stunning combination in a dry garden that will bring the pollinators by the score. 

Light

Gaura thrives and blooms best in full sun but will tolerate some afternoon shade, particularly in hot climates.

Soil

Along with plenty of sunshine, excellent drainage is the key to success with gaura. They aren’t the longest-lived perennials in any case, and wet winter soil will kill these drought-tolerant natives. Amend the soil with a mix of compost and grit or, better yet, plant them in raised beds. Space the plants at least 12 inches apart, and plant in groups of three or five plants for maximum impact.

Water

Water gaura infrequently but deeply to help the plants establish their deep roots.

Temperature and Humidity

Gaura tolerates extreme heat and humidity as well as cold, which makes it suitable to be grown in a wide range of climate zones.

Fertilizer

Gaura thrives in poor soil and doesn’t need supplemental flower fertilizer. Too much manure or fertilizer can make the plant floppy.

Gaura (Wandflower) Varieties

There are several beautiful cultivated varieties of Oenothera lindheimeri to choose from, including:

  • ‘Corrie’s Gold’: The gold in this plant refers not to the flowers, but to the marvelous variegated foliage. Flowers are white tinged with pink.
  • ‘Crimson Butterflies’: Bright pink flowers on red stems hover above burgundy foliage. Partner them with blue or green-flowering plants for a head-turning combination.
  • ‘Passionate Rainbow’: As if the pink flower wands weren’t enough, the foliage is also edged in pink.
  • ‘Siskiyou Pink’: These showy rose-pink flowers are the most common variety in the trade.
  • ‘Sparkle White’: Dainty white flowers are tinged with pink in this elegant gaura variety. It received the Fleuroselect Gold Medal in 2014 for its beauty and garden performance.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

P.Ochasanond / Getty Images

Pruning

Cutting back the stems of gaura after the first main bloom will encourage a tidy plant and spur repeat blooming.

Propagating Gaura (Wandflower)

Gaura can be propagated from seed or cuttings. Since many gaura varieties are hybrids, propagating from seeds that you have collected yourself—or any seedlings that emerge from these self-seeding plants—will not produce the same results as the mother plant and won’t potentially be as attractive. Division is tricky due to the long taproot, and plants do not need dividing to stay vigorous. Propagation from cuttings is the way to go. Here’s how it’s done: 

  1. With a sharp knife or pruners, cut off about five 4-inch shoots that are growing from the base of the stem. Cut them off as close to the crown as possible without damaging it. 
  2. Fill a 4- to 6-inch pot with potting mix and slowly water it until it is evenly moist and water starts to drip out of the drain holes. Gently push the cuttings into the soil about 1 inch deep. 
  3. Place the pot in a protected location out of sunlight and winds. Keep the soil moist at all times, watering daily. It can take up to two months for new growth to appear. 
  4. Transplant each of the young plants into an individual pot of the same size and let them grow until they fill their pots, then transplant them into larger pots or in your yard.

How to Grow Gaura From Seed

You can start gaura from seed in cell flats indoors or direct seed them in the garden. The seeds need light to germinate so do not cover them. Germination at 70 degrees F will take 21 to 35 days.

Potting

If you can’t get your gaura plants to overwinter reliably because of heavy, waterlogged soil or below-average temperatures, the long-flowering season and compact growth habit of gaura make it a worthwhile investment as a container plant.

To accommodate the plant’s tap root, use a pot that is 12 inches deep and 10 inches in diameter and has good-size drainage holes because the roots don’t like to sit in soggy soil. For the potting medium, use an all-purpose potting mix.

Common Pests

Gaura plants don’t suffer from many pests, but can be vulnerable to aphids in the early summer, which you can spray with a hose or insecticidal soap.

You can make your flower garden less welcoming to these pests by removing dead plant matter that insects use to overwinter in at the end of the growing season, keeping your flowerbeds weeded, and attracting parasitic wasps with a companion planting of sweet alyssum. 

FAQ

  • As a plant that is native to North America, Oenothera lindheimeri is not considered invasive.

  • Gaura is a perennial but if your climate is too cold for it to last through the winter, you can grow it as an annual flower.

  • It’s recommended to cut gaura back to the ground in the fall, which also minimizes the risk of any pests overwintering in the debris and coming back next year.

Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.

Related Posts