En Español

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

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
view the full question and answer

Optimal time for trimming Fall asters
July 04, 2014 - RE: fall asters What is the latest date in the summer that I can trim my fall asters and still get a good amount of blooms in October?
view the full question and answer

Plants that will grow in clay in North Carolina
March 14, 2008 - I have a small fenced back yard, predominately hard red clay, that is a major focal point. I am designing my own garden/yard area (to cut cost) and have a list of plants that will grow in this soil w...
view the full question and answer

Mexican sage bushes in Mokena IL
July 12, 2010 - I have two Mexican sage bushes; can they be planted in Illinois and survive the winter?
view the full question and answer

Plants for underneath oak tree
October 10, 2012 - I have a North facing wall of my house that gets half sunlight half shade depending on the season. I would like to layout some native South Texas plants and complete fill in area to prevent the live o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center