Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Oenothera lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Oenothera lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Oenothera lindheimeri

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Red oak leaves have a swelling along the veins
June 17, 2015 - I have red oaks in my back yard, approx 30 or more have a disease that are wilting the leaves. Looking at the back of the leaf there is swelling along the spines. I've gone to one nursery in town ...
view the full question and answer

Long-legged bugs eating roses in Richmond VA
May 22, 2011 - There are bugs eating my roses. What can I do? They look like long bugs with a lot of legs.
view the full question and answer

Sooty mold on Texas Sage in Silsbee, TX.
July 20, 2011 - I just saw two questions from December regarding black sooty mold appearing on leaves of Texas Sage. My Texas Sage is two years old growing in the original, well-draining large pot it was planted in ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning live oak shoots from San Antonio
September 10, 2011 - I am new to TX and am curious about removing suckers/water sprouts from my Live Oaks. Everything I've read about pruning Live Oaks states that you must paint ALL cuts, so I assume that all means al...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.