Plant of the Season

Gaura (Belleza Dark Pink)

Plant of the Season is brought to you by Gayle Parkes, OGV sub-committee member. She also posts to OGV's Instagram - make sure you check back regularly for her latest post.

Oenothera lindheimeri, commonly known as Lindheimer's bee blossom, white gaura, pink gaura, Lindheimer's clockweed, and Indian feather, is a species of Oenothera. Several of its common names derive from the genus Gaura, in which this species was formerly placed. Wikipedia

I have had so much pleasure this summer, every time I drive out of our driveway, from the profuse, elegant dark pink blooms of my three gaura shrubs. I don’t usually go for brightly coloured flowers in my garden but I have never regretted my decision to plant this very bright pink variety, Gaura (Belleza Dark Pink) in the narrow garden bed down either side of the driveway. Against the charcoal grey of the fence, among the pale grey of Euphorbia (Myrsinites), they look spectacular! With the beautiful sight resembling lots of butterflies swaying in the wind, they put a smile on my face, every day!

There are many species of Oenothera lindheimeri. With the common name of butterfly bush this free flowering perennial plant produces masses of repeated blooms. Colours range from white to a variety of pinks from very pale through blush pink, to very dark pink flowers that emerge from striking long whispy stems. There are so many positives to gaura. They are extremely water wise, they’re gorgeous and very low maintenance, thriving in hot, dry conditions. With a relaxed growth habit you will have flowers from late spring to autumn, peaking in summer.

Being the ideal plant for a range of uses, this tough herbaceous perennial is stunning and will certainly attract butterflies to your garden, after all, it is called “the butterfly bush”! They are great in scattered plantings, mass plantings, rows, cottage gardens, as flowering groundcovers, in wild flower gardens, loose borders, container/pot plantings, fillers and cut flowers. Try pairing with other relaxed and textured perennials like lavender, rudbeckia, sedum and salvias. They look wonderful as part of a mixed planting scheme. Gaura will add extra colour and movement to your garden with its beautiful foliage and flowers that are held high above the canopy of foliage. 

Choose a spot in full sun with well-drained soil. Improve the soil with organic matter, and if mass planting, space plants at least 30cm apart to allow room for growth. Gaura can also be planted in pots with a premium quality potting mix. Depending on the variety you choose, they grow to a height between 40cm-150cm. 

To maintain a tidy appearance, hard-prune gaura in autumn or once flowers have finished, cutting stems back to 15-20cm above ground level. New shoots will form in spring. It is a good idea to cut these shoots back by half when they are 20-30cm long to make the plant more compact and better able to support its growth.

My driveway plantings are very new and I can’t wait to see them become more established and to watch them thicken up. Whether you choose a white or a pink variety of gaura, you will be rewarded with masses of dancing fairies bobbing in the wind. There is a lot to like about this pretty, dainty plant that really packs a punch. You too can have a smile on your face, every day.