En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Problems with Carolina Laurel Cherry from Pflugerville, TX
September 02, 2011 - In 2007 we planted 7 Carolina Laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana)across our back fence. Everything was fine until this year. Three of the trees seemed to get sick and a local arborist said the roots ne...
view the full question and answer

Care of a live oak with decay and perhaps fungus on trunk
July 14, 2011 - I have a huge live oak on my property in Salado that just lost a very large branch. The branch had decay in the center and also has a variety of bugs in it, espeically since it has been on the ground...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

Premature leaf drop on Red Maple in Kentucky
June 25, 2008 - I have a ten foot Red Maple tree that has been set out for 4 years. Its leaves have slowly turned colors until it currently looks like fall. The leaves are not falling off nor is there yet any s...
view the full question and answer

Black leaves and dying kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
December 16, 2007 - My kinnikinnick has developed dark leaf spots and, in some cases the entire leaf has turned black or entire plants have turned black and died off. I'm worried about leaf spot, root rot and leaf gall...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center