How to grow gaura
All you need to know about growing gaura, in this detailed Grow Guide.
Gaura (syn Oenothera) are pretty, deciduous perennials, that look great in cottage garden style or informal plantings. Also known as wandflower, gauras have a relaxed habit with small starry flowers in white or pink, appearing from early summer right through to autumn. They are perfect for filling gaps and can also be grown in containers, in an informal combination with grasses and trailing plants.
The botanical name Gaura has recently been changed to Oenothera. However, the name gaura is still widely used.
How to grow gaura
Grow gaura in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Cut back after flowering and divide large clumps in spring.
Where to grow gaura
Gauras are prairie plants native to the southern states of the USA and Mexico and therefore do best in a warm and sunny position, although they tolerate partial shade. For best results grow them in moist but well drained soil.
Dig a generous hole and add a handful of grit to the bottom, to improve drainage. Place the rootball in the hole so it sits at the same depth it was in its pot, and backfill with soil. Firm in gently and water well. Avoid planting gaura out too early in the year – instead grow on in pots and add to borders from mid-July, when plants are bushier.
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How to care for gaura
Gauras don't need a lot of maintenance. Cut back and divide congested clumps in spring but don't try moving more mature plants as they don't transport well. Don't worry if dark spots appear on leaves as this is quite normal. In autumn, when temperatures dip, gaura foliage turns lovely shades of red.
Pests and diseases
Gauras are generally pest and disease free.
How to propagate gaura
Sow gaura seed in spring or take softwood or semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Make bushy plants by trimming your cuttings regularly.
Advice on buying gauras
- Gauras (syn Oenothera) come in various shades of pink and white, with compact and tall varieties available. Make sure you choose the right one for the space you have in mind
- Some varieties can be grown from seed for a fraction of the price of a pot-grown plant
- For the best results trim young plants to encourage them to develop bushy groth and avoid planting out until July
Where to buy gauras
Gaura varieties to try
Gaura lindheimeri 'The Bride' – forms a mat of soft foliage that contrasts beautifully with its delicate white flowers held on long thin stems. It has a long flowering season that lasts from early summer well into autumn
Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterfly' – with a mat of grey-green foliage that contrasts beautifully with its delicate white-pink flowers
Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' – this lovely bright pink variety makes an excellent cut flower
Gaura lindheimeri 'Crimson Butterflies' – this compact variety has beautiful dark pink blooms and works well at the front of a border.
Frequently asked questions
Help! My gaura has black spot!
Don't worry! Black spots on gaura leaves isn't a sign of fungal disease but is actually a physiological response to low temperatures. They will disappear as temperatures increase.
How do I prune gaura?
Gaura responds well to being cut back, resulting in a compact mound of foliage, from which many flowers will grow. Cut back hard in early spring and then again in late spring to early summer, by around two-thirds to half. This second cut should give you a second flush of blooms from mid- to late-summer.
How do I overwinter gaura?
Gaura isn't reliably hardy and can struggle if temperatures fall below -10ºC, particularly on heavy soils. For the best chances of overwintering gaura, cut it back in autumn and apply a thick mulch of straw to protect from frost, or lift the whole plant and overwinter it in a pot in a cold greenhouse. You can also take semi-ripe cuttings in summer to insure against winter losses. Overwinter these in a cold greenhouse, too.