En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Problems with gaura in Kyle TX

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

Tuesday - May 10, 2011

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with gaura in Kyle TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Gaura - I seem to have something going on with this plant. I've tried fungicide that also works on mealy bugs and spider mites, etc., but they're looking rather puny? Any suggestions? thanks

ANSWER:

According to our Native Plant Database, there are 12 species of the genus Gaura native to Texas, but only 2, Gaura drummondii (Drummond's beeblossom) and Gaura lindheimeri (Lindheimer's beeblossom) grow natively in Central Texas. Ordinarily, plants will do better in the area to which they are native, having been adapted by centuries of experience to the soils, climate and rainfall of that area. This is somewhat complicated by the fact that gauras have been widely hybridized and, depending on where you got your plant, may not be native nor well adapted to this area at all. Then, of course, we have to factor in the heat/cold/heat again/severe drought we have been experiencing this year, and it's no wonder that a plant can have problems, although "puny" is a little difficult to diagnose.

So, even though we can't be sure which gaura you are trying to grow in Hays County, nor even what bug may or may not be on it, let's see if we can figure out the problem. We looked at a number of websites and got the following possibilities: downy and powdery mildew, rust or leaf spots (but rarely), root rot in heavy wet soil, aphids, fungus gnats and whiteflies.

Now, it's your turn to be detective. First, we would recommend no more fungicide until you can establish if there is a fungus (and perhaps producing fungus gnats). Just spraying something, anything on an ailing plant will more likely add to its problems than otherwise. Looking at Gaura lindheimeri (Lindheimer's beeblossom), here are the optimum growing conditions for this plant, see if they are the conditions under which your plant is growing:

"Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Variable. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous.
Conditions Comments: Open vase-shaped plant, branches arching in many directions. Leaf color is dark green in summer, and red, gold or purple in the fall. The flower, white fading pink, has only a few flowers open at a time with new ones opening as stalks grow throughout most. Flowers open in early morning. Tolerant of high heat. Flower fragrance has sometimes been compared to cat urine. Can be invasive."

Okay, next we're going to assign homework. We will give you a list of links to some of the insects and problems that might be causing the problem, with pictures of the bugs and suggestions for treatment.

Mealy bugs (is a kind of aphid)

Spider mites

Rust on plants

Powdery mildew

Aphids

Fungus gnats

Whiteflies

 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Brush cleaning fluid used under non- native Loropetalum in Roswell GA
September 25, 2010 - My painter cleaned their brushes under one of my Black Diamond Lorpetulum and it is wilting "BAD." Is there anything I can do?
view the full question and answer

Giant black and yellow wasp
September 08, 2008 - I live in Elgin, Bastrop County. This Aug/Sept. 2008 has revealed a huge black and yellow striped wasp. What is this creature and where does he come from? I'm a native Texan (Austin County) and hav...
view the full question and answer

Live oak with brown balls and brown spots in Round Rock PA
August 01, 2010 - Is my live oak sick? Brown spots are on the leaves and round brown balls are growing on the stems. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Incorrectly planted anacua from San Antonio
November 22, 2013 - I purchased a 12' anacua tree from a local nursery about 18 months ago. It was not planted correctly (root bound, rolled into a hole about 3" larger than the pot) but is still alive with the number...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of trees in Savage MN
August 23, 2009 - I have a 20+ year old weeping willow. The last few years it is the last tree to get its leaves and the first to lose them. The few leaves that are still on the tree are covered with brown/black spots....
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