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Description

Gaura is a large and robust clumping perennial with delightful flowering character each spring on long flexible stems. The seasonal foliage also grows along tall and slender stems to 3-4 ft. tall, but the flowers are the real treat provided by this plant.

This southwestern native comes from moist areas throughout arid regions of Texas and Mexico. It is well adapted to heat and sun, but grows best and flowers longest when soil moisture is available. Plants should be rejuvenated each year by cutting all stems o at ground level in late fall. Gaura is valued for its long flowering cycle and has proven to be a popular flowering accent plant in perennial gardens to display its delicate flower character. It can become aggressive in size and produce fertile seeds that lead to new plants; this tendency can be reduced by planting in containers. Several cultivars are available, including: G. l. 'Siskiyou Pink' produces deep rose-pink flowers. G. l. 'Whirling Butterflies' is noted for its delicate white flowers that move gracefully on long flexible stems.

Water Needs

Gaura and its many cultivars grow well in sunny locations on many types of soils and with regular summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; spring and summer water helps sustain a longer and more robust flowering performance.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

 
0"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
2"-3"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
2"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Clumping, Arching
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Moist soil
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Heat, Aridity, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Raised planters, Flowering accent plant, Container plant, Borders, Attracts butterflies

Maintenance

If desired, remove spent flower spikes to encourage a longer bloom period (5). Plants left to let flowers dry at the end of the season and set seed will often spread seeds that will germinate and grow around irrigated gardens. Usually not enough plants come up to be considered a weed, so it can be a nice way to allow a bit of wildness into the garden by letting the seedlings grow where they want. Unwanted seedlings can be easily pulled or potted up to share with friends (S). Cut the entire plant almost all the way to the ground every winter. It will usually grow back abundantly in the Spring (5).

References

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