En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Belle Vernon, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Gaura Plants Dying In PA
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I had six gaura plants. They were beautiful last year. Now I have one that is doing well and the others are dying slowly one at a time. I don't understand this. They are on a slight slope and have good drainage. They started off in the spring very well. Please help.

ANSWER:

Most likely the gaura that you are growing is Lindheimer's beeblossom (Gaura lindheimeri). This one is frequently found in nurseries and garden centers. The plant has a small basal rosette of leaves and long stems carrying delicate flowers that blow in the breeze. The flowers appear in the early summer and if the plant is cut back in midsummer the plant will likely regrow and bloom again in the fall.

Gaura are tolerant of many types of soil from sandy to clay and acidic to alkaline. Gaura naturally grow in grassy meadows, among pine trees and along pond edges. Full sun is best for encouraging blooms but they will tolerate a little shade (at the expense of blooms). A moist soil is best.

The Missouri Botanical Garden suggests that Gaura lindheimeri is best grown in sandy, loamy, well-drained soils in full sun. They also say that good drainage is essential. Root rot may occur in heavy, poorly drained soils. Gaura is 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.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
August 22, 2011 - I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should...
view the full question and answer

Problems with wax myrtle in Austin
February 01, 2009 - I have been struggling with wax myrtles for the last year! We live in NW Austin, The plants start off great and then thin out, leaves go brown, and die. I then cut off the dead wood in the hope that t...
view the full question and answer

Status of Texas Olive tree in Katy, TX
March 30, 2016 - I have a Texas Olive tree and it has very few leaves. Is this normal?
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Mildew on phlox paniculata from Morrisville PA
May 30, 2014 - My Phlox paniculata, all 7, have powdery mildew. I read about using NEEM to combat the mildew. NEEM is organic but the bottle says it is also an insecticide. The phlox are near my milkweed and gold...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center