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?


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


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


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

Seeding success with Penstemon cobaea from Austin
June 18, 2013 - I've never had much luck in harvesting seeds from foxgloves (Penstemon cobaea, I think). Whenever I open the seed casing, the seeds inside are covered with some kind of mold. What's going on, and ho...
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Missouri City, TX
March 19, 2014 - I checked all the questions for my area and still need help. What are some native perennials for southeast Texas
view the full question and answer

Tropical Texas landscape from Houston
March 04, 2013 - Do you know of any public (or at least photographed) place in Texas that has been landscaped entirely with native "tropical-looking" (i.e. evergreen but NOT conifer and NOT succulent/arid) species? ...
view the full question and answer

Purchase of Galphimia angustifolia from Austin
June 08, 2014 - I have a Thryallis, Galphimia augustifolia, or Thryallis autustifolia, growing from a limestone ledge in my yard in west Austin TX. I have tried unsuccessfully to buy this native. Do you sell it at t...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Prairie Village KS
August 25, 2012 - My friend has identified this plant as a Horseweed. It is 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall. Has a thick, fuzzy single stem. Linear leaves, about 3/4 inch across and 3 or 4 inches long with one or two notches on e...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center