Gaura, also known as Beeblossom, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Onagraceae, native to North and South America. Gaura plants are known for their delicate, airy appearance, long-lasting blooms, and ability to attract pollinators.
Size and Shape
Most species of Gaura range in height from 2 to 4 feet, with a spread of up to 3 feet. Their stems are thin and wiry and can be either upright or arching. Gaura plants have a mounding growth habit and produce multiple stems from a single root system. The shape of the plant is typically rounded or vase-like, with a somewhat open structure.
Leaves and Flowers
Their leaves are typically long and narrow and are arranged alternately along the stem. They are generally green, lance-shaped, and can vary in texture from smooth to slightly hairy. These plants are best known for their showy flowers, which bloom from late spring to early fall. The flowers are borne on long, thin stalks that rise above the foliage in loose clusters. The individual flowers are small, four-petaled, and can be white or pink.
Gaura is also used for attracting bees and butterflies. The long, tubular flowers of Gaura are well-suited to the feeding habits of these insects, and their open structure makes them easy to access. Planting Gaura in a garden or landscape can help to support local pollinator populations and promote biodiversity.
Preferred Growing Conditions
Gaura thrives in full sun exposure, soaking in the sun’s radiance for a minimum of six to eight hours daily. Sunlight fuels gaura’s growth and enhances its prolific flowering, resulting in a mesmerizing display of blossoms that seem to dance upon the breeze. Well-draining soil is paramount for gaura’s success, mimicking the gravelly or sandy soils found in its natural habitat. Adding organic matter like compost during planting contributes to soil structure and aids in moisture regulation, promoting optimal conditions for gaura’s root development.
Gaura’s resilience extends to its ability to adapt to various soil types, including those with slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH levels. While it can tolerate a range of soil compositions, gaura thrives when the pH hovers around neutral. Regular watering during the establishment phase is essential to encourage robust root growth, but once gaura is established, it demonstrates a remarkable tolerance for drought conditions. This resilience and adaptability make gaura a versatile addition to gardens with diverse soil profiles, where its wispy stems and fluttering flowers harmonize effortlessly with nature’s rhythms. Gaura can also benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.
There are approximately 20 species of Gaura, with the most common being Gaura lindheimeri. This species is native to Texas and Louisiana but has since been introduced to other parts of the United States and Europe. Gaura lindheimeri is a herbaceous perennial that typically grows to a height of 2-4 feet, with a spread of up to 3 feet.
At Martin Garden Center, we try to have 4″ pots of Gaura stocked year round. Some of the common varieties we carry include Whirling Butterflies (white bloomer), Siskiyou Pink (pink bloomer), Belleza series (white or pink bloomer) with reddish overtones to the folliage, and one of our personal favorites, Passionate Rainbow Gaura. The Passionate Rainbow Gaura has a variegated foliage of green, pink, red and cream. This variety also tends to be evergreen in the upstate. Oh, and it has pink blooms … but did we mention that it’s evergreen? Thus, its unique foliage is showy in the winter when all the other herbaceous perennials have died back to the ground. Definitely a keeper!