Gaura Lindheimeri Pink, Whirling Butterflies
- Common Name: Whirling Butterflies
- Type: Perennial
- Native Range: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
- Zone: 5 – 9
- Height: 3 – 5 Feet
- Spread: 1 – 2 Feet
- Bloom Time: August to October
- Bloom Description: Pink
- Sun: Full Sun
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Medium
- Flower: Showy
- Attracts: Bees, Butterflies
- Texas Native
Best grown in sandy, loamy, well-drained soils in full sun. Good drainage is essential. A tap-rooted plant which tolerates heat, humidity and some drought. Remove spent flower spikes to prolong bloom period. Thin flower stems tend to become leggy and flop, particularly when grown in rich soils, and plants can benefit from close planting or support from adjacent perennials. Plants (particularly those which typically grow tall) may be cut back in late spring by 1/2 to control size. May self-seed if spent flower stems are left in place in the fall.
Gaura lindheimeri, commonly called gaura, is an herbaceous clump-forming perennial that is native to Texas and Louisiana. It grows to as much as 5′ tall on stems clad with spoon-shaped to lanceolate leaves (to 3″ long). Pinkish buds along wiry, erect, wand-like stems open to pink flowers. In the breeze these flowers move constantly, looking like a cloud of small butterflies. Flowers appear in long, open, terminal panicles and open only a few at a time. Narrow, lance-shaped, stemless leaves (1-3″ long) are occasionally spotted with maroon.
No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in heavy and/or poorly drained soils. Rust and powdery mildew may also occur. Watch for aphids, whitefly and flea beetles.
Effective in sunny borders. Best in groups or massed. May be grown in containers. Best in wildflower or native plant gardens where they can be allowed to sprawl and naturalize.
Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Society Plant Finder