Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) is one of those low-maintenance perennials that is not often featured but can make for wonderful foil in your border. You might have heard of this unsung hero as ‘wandflower’, ‘whirling butterflies’, and ‘bee blossom’ due to the delicate wand-like flowers in white, pink or pink and white with stems topped with a pretty little petal display not unlike a small dancing butterfly. Gaura can range from 15 inches to three feet tall and unusually for a perennial it typically flowers in flushes from spring right through until late autumn.
One mistake many make is to pop young plants in their borders in the spring with everything else, only to find these delicate late bloomers get pushed under by earlier and bigger varieties. Keep your Gaura in pots until July then use them to fill any gaps when everything has stopped growing, it’s then that they will flourish and show you what they can do. Plant them in a sunny spot with free draining soil but make sure you let them have some room and they won’t disappoint! Reaching up to three feet in height when fully grown, Gaura are not fans of being moved when they get established.
It’s surprising we don’t see more of these as they are so easy to propagate from seed, even cuttings taken in the spring can easily be planted later in the summer. Use them to line pathways in abundance or in groups dotted around your borders and they’ll keep going for months. To keep your plant growing for as long as possible, clip back any stems where the flower has died off down to where it meets the main stem. This will encourage the plant to throw out new stems in an effort to produce more seeds.
To divide older Gaura plants, lift them and divide the roots and stems in the spring before there is too much new growth. Rather than dividing, you can keep plants over two years old neat and tidy by pruning them in early spring and early summer after the first flush of flowering, leaving the stems between two and six inches.
As always if you have any questions or would like some help in your garden, get in touch or call 01483 275920.