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

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
Oenothera patriciae

Plains beeblossom
Oenothera patriciae

Plains beeblossom
Oenothera patriciae

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plant ID at Wildflower Center from Waco TX
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Center last weekend and no one was able to answer these two questions: 1. Where can I buy Silver Ponyfoot groundcover? 2. What is the name of the plant with coral blossoms in front of...
view the full question and answer

Difficulties in growing iris in Central Texas
October 06, 2007 - I live in Round Rock TX. I would like to plant Irises and have failed before. What type of irises grow best here? When should I plant them and should I add something to the soil to help them grow? ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Limonium limbatum
September 04, 2013 - I have a Limonium limbatum but do not know how to propagate the plant. Can you help with this?
view the full question and answer

Something eating cannas in Austin
July 14, 2012 - What is eating my cannas?
view the full question and answer

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