En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Curling, Red Leaves on Gaura

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

Thursday - July 18, 2013

From: Pasadena, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Wildflowers
Title: Curling, Red Leaves on Gaura
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

My gaura had most of its lower leaves turn red and then fall off. It is July now, I bought and planted it in May where it seemed to do really well growing several more inches tall and blooming nicely. Our soil is both sandy and has clumps of clay. I read your June 02/08 answer about gaura going semi-dormant in high heat but the leaves did not curl from what I saw, they just turned red and dropped. I haven't noticed any bugs living on it save a few spider webs between the stems. Is it just done for the season or does it need my help?

ANSWER:

Here’s what Barbara Medford wrote in the previous Mr. Smarty Plants enquiry that you mentioned. Whirling Butterflies is a trade name given to Gaura lindheimeri (Lindheimer's beeblossom). The genus, Gaura, is easily recognized but species names are more difficult due partly to a great deal of hybridization. The Gaura lindheimer is a native of Louisiana west to Texas and Mexico, and can be invasive. So, again, we're just going to try to find pests or problems of Gaura, without knowing the exact parentage. About all we could find out was that there are no serious pests or diseases and, indeed, it is considered an invasive weeds in many parts of the country. It has a long taproot, like a carrot, and attempts should not be made to transplant it, because it is difficult to avoid damaging that taproot. It would appear that because of our early hot Spring, both of the plants you are concerned about are reacting more like it was the middle of summer. Trimming them back pretty hard and then making sure they have water with very good drainage should perk them up. In times of intense heat, many plants will go semi-dormant, allowing their leaves to roll or fold up, to conserve moisture. Try trimming back all that excess foliage and dried leaves, and let the green leaves on the basal area keep things going. Even plants need a vacation.

Leaf curling can be a response to high heat and drought stress (as well as the redness) before the plant goes into semi-dormancy. Have patience and wait until the cooler temperatures in the fall arrive to reassess your plant. My feeling is that it will perk up again for you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

Lindheimer's beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Distressed Red Oak tree in Pflugerville, TX.
July 22, 2012 - I have a large (40 ft) Red Oak tree in my yard that is distressed. It started with yellowing leaves, with darker veins. Then small brown spots appeared, followed by browning arount the leaves edges. N...
view the full question and answer

Insect damage on possumhaw
August 12, 2012 - We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

Powdery mildew hits Rock Rose in Round Rock Texas
May 05, 2011 - My beautiful Rock Roses have gotten spots of white fuzzy "fur" on their leaves in the past month. This is not something they have ever had before and I'm worried its some kind of disease. Is it so...
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