Whirling Butterflies (Gaura)              (Gaura lindheimeri)


Plant Description:

Gaura, also known as Whirling Butterflies, has an abundance of delicate pink or white flowers which hover on long stems above the foliage like little butterflies, hence the common name.  The foliage is typically green, although many cultivars are available, some with reddish foliage and some more compact than others.  Blooming most of the year, this is a great low maintenance perennial for cottage gardens, butterfly gardens, mass planting or as part of a mixed border.

Mature Size:     1-3 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

Growth Rate:     Moderate

Plant Habit:     Clumping


Ornamental Characteristics & Uses:

Foliage Color:   Cultivars vary: green; gray-green;                      green-white-pink; crimson

Flower Color:     Pink or White

Bloom Time:     Spring – Fall

Attracts Wildlife:     Butterflies and other pollinators

Uses:  Landscapes, Containers, Mass Planting


Growing Requirements:

Cold Hardiness Zone(s):     7 – 9  (may depend on cultivar)

Exposure:     Full Sun – Partial Sun

Water Needs:     Low 

Soil Tolerances:     High Drought Tolerance; Requires                             Well-Drained Soils

Soil pH:     Slightly Acid to Slightly Alkaline

Maintenance:     Easy/Low


General Care & Growing Tips:

Flowers and performs best in full sun.  Deadheading and pruning are not necessary.  Transplanting can be difficult due to the plant’s taproot system.


Common Pests:

Susceptible to leaf-spot fungi and powdery mildew. 

 

References:

Park Brown, S. and Schoellhorn, R. K.  (2006). Your Florida Guide to Perennials.  University Press of Florida.


Wichman, T., Knox, G., Gilman, E., Sandrock, D., Schutzman, B., Alvarez, E., Schoellhorn, R., and Larson, B. (2006). Florida-Friendly Plant List.  Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook.  University of Florida.

 

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