Gaura Whirling Butterflies - Plant of the Month: June 2015


Guara lindheimeri

Whirling Butterflies, aka, Guara LindheimeriSeveral years ago I had a project at a lake house in Grandbury Texas.  Planted in the entrance to the subdivision were a bunch of Guaras. Every single time I drove into that subdivision I noticed this unusual plant.  I had seen them at the wholesale nurseries but had never used them on a job.  I thought they were so much fun and so whimsical that they soon made my favorite perennial list. As my list grows so does my garden!  I love to use plants at my house and see if they do indeed live up to the hype.  The Guara's do and I now have them in my perennial bed along my drive. They just make me smile as I watch the flowers flutter in the wind.  Some people call them Whirling Butterflies because they do have the appearance of butterflies dancing above the plants.

Whirling Butterflies, aka, Guara LindheimeriGaura is native to Texas and there are now over twenty varieties that grow throughout the southern United States. They do best in warmer climates along the Gulf Coast; however, they are always propagating new varieties for colder climates.  So check your local garden centers and see if Guara is a perennial available in your neck of the woods.  If not now, then they may be available in a few years.  So keep checking!

New growth on the Gaura plants comes out in a deep red. In the early spring as the plants are awaking from dormancy, so you will have color from these plants early on.

The plants are upright growing to about 2' tall and 3' wide with the stalks of the flowers reaching to about 4'.  The flowers are small about 1" and are white to dark pink. Gaura will bloom from late spring to late fall.

Whirling Butterflies, aka, Guara LindheimeriGuara prefers full sun but can handle some shade. It also prefers well drained soils, but is drought tolerant and deer resistant.

However, it does attract wildlife like humming birds and butterflies. Guara is a great addition to any garden that needs a hardy, long blooming perennial. It works well in Xeriscape gardens, English gardens or rock gardens. And, of course, it's perfect for a Butterfly garden!

I have seen it used with several plants in pots and they are beautiful because you have these floating flowers above the other plants.   It's perfect for the long, hot dry days of summer and they are low maintenance, so add some to your garden and see how fun these plants can be.