Whirling Butterflies (Gaura) (Gaura lindheimeri)
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
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
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.
Susceptible to leaf-spot fungi and powdery mildew.
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.
Photo by: Alicia Lamborn
- UF/IFAS Sites
- Demonstration Gardens of the University of Florida's Extension Service
- Ornamental Teaching Gardens: Design, Development and Use
- Types of Gardens
- Lawn and Garden Landscape Design
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program
- Florida Yards.org