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

Sunday - May 13, 2012

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Gaura drying out in Plano TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My gaura plant of 3 years suddenly seems to be drying out and no longer green or blooming?

ANSWER:

When we start trying to figure out what is wrong with a plant, we first try to figure out what plant we are talking about, and whether it is native to the area where it is being grown. When we searched our Native Plant Database for member of the genus Gaura, we found 14 species. Of those, 8 are native to Texas, and Gaura brachycarpa (Plains beeblossom) is native to Collin County, according to this USDA Plant Profile map. That doesn't mean that is exactly what you have, and this plant is very widely hybridized, which means we really don't know exactly what its characteristics are, but this will help us get close. By following the plant link above to our webpage on this plant, we found:

"The genus Gaura is composed of rather weedy plants, with leaves borne singly on  spikes or racemes, or are branching. The genus is easily recognized, but the species are sometimes difficult, due partly to a great deal of hybridization."

We also know that plant is generally short-lived. Your plant may have nothing at all wrong with it, it may just have achieved its "Die By" date.  They can be propagated vegetatively by rhizome cuttings in spring or by division of mature plants; tip cuttings in vermiculite and under intermittent mist root in 2-3 weeks. Possibly your plants are already too far gone for this to work, but the next time you plant gaura you might consider dividing the mature clumps every couple of years.

 

From the Image Gallery


Plains beeblossom
Gaura brachycarpa

Plains beeblossom
Gaura brachycarpa

Plains beeblossom
Gaura brachycarpa

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Care of poppy plants
July 10, 2013 - I bought a tiny poppy grow kit at Target for 99 cents. Amazingly, they have grown into numerous large and very healthy plants, though they don't all appear to be the same species. Some have grown to ...
view the full question and answer

Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
April 19, 2010 - I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root inva...
view the full question and answer

Understory plants for Tuolumne Co., CA
May 14, 2007 - My driveway is lined with purple plum trees. I would like to grow something underneath them. What can I grow that will not harm the root system/health of the trees?
view the full question and answer

Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
September 14, 2012 - I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center