The MGS Forum

Plants for mediterranean gardens => Perennials => Topic started by: Fleur Pavlidis on October 12, 2011, 08:18:09 AM

Title: Gaura
Post by: Fleur Pavlidis on October 12, 2011, 08:18:09 AM
A chance for me before Oron comes in!
The first is Gaura lindheimeri and the second is Oenothera speciosa - I hope.
Later note from Alisdair: to see the photo Hilary posted, of the pink form of G. lindheimeri, which prompted this discussion, click here (
Title: Gaura
Post by: oron peri on October 12, 2011, 09:46:23 AM
Correct ;)
Just to add that the Gaura's pink form is named 'Siskiyou Pink'.
Title: Gaura
Post by: Hilary on October 12, 2011, 10:31:51 AM
Fleur and Oron,
many thanks
Title: Gaura
Post by: MikeHardman on October 12, 2011, 10:38:27 AM
Gaura often tempts me in garden centres, and it was on my wants list.
...Until I read an MGS article that suggested avoiding it as it can become invasive.
Which is somewhat supported by Wikipedia - "most are perennials with sturdy rhizomes, often forming dense thickets, crowding or shading out other plant species" ( (
And "Several species of Gaura are regarded as noxious weeds"…"removing existing infestations is difficult, due in large part to the plants' ability to reproduce from bits of rhizome left in the ground"  ( (
Title: Gaura
Post by: David Bracey on October 12, 2011, 11:13:32 AM
Mike do not believe all you read!  Nothing like hands -on ; great plant in all its forms.  Be on the look out for the short, very dark form of "Siskiyou", its an absolute winner.  At the end of the season all the Gauras are easy to remove by hand; they can spread rapidly but a bit of Round-up goes a long way.

Who writes the stuff in Wikipedia.  I wonder if they have had much experience of our climate?

Title: Gaura
Post by: MikeHardman on October 12, 2011, 11:40:43 AM
Yes David, 'take nobody's word for it', and all that.
There is the MGS article, though I did not note which one it was.
And the Wiki article did, I have to say, draw on a more scientific source - the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Their page on Gaura provides quite a lot more info - ( Actually, therein I was interested to read 'Establishing competitive vegetation may prevent new seedlings from becoming established. However, these species are well adapted to grasslands and can persist in competitive healthy grassland environments.' I can imagine a field of mixed Gaura lindheimeri and grassy seedheads, going very nicely together; prairie community. (I love the prairies when in flower; I remember spending many hours photographing them west of Calgary, though the incessant breeze (swaying the flowers) tested my patience!)
I concede, however, that the CDFA page does not include G. lindheimeri, so extrapolation may bring errors.

Actually, your comments, with special note of dark "Siskiyou", have caused me to put it back into my wants list. I would like to try it on a difficult steep dry slope which needs stabilizing. Rhizomes running amok, supplemented with seedlings sounds like it could prove very effective at holding the soil.
Title: Gaura
Post by: ezeiza on October 12, 2011, 01:17:34 PM
We have grown several species of Gaura and they are weedy AND weeds (flower wise). G. lindheimeri does seed around too freely and hundreds of seedlings can be found around large plants. This in a climate with good rainfall. Perhaps drought would keep it at bay in a Mediterranean climate?

Now there exist several variants of the pink form, some very deep, most close to a cherry red.
Title: Gaura
Post by: Fleur Pavlidis on October 12, 2011, 02:25:22 PM
I find the red gaura very polite. Here's a self-seeded one in a thyme. It's just going over but it flowered all summer and was very unnoxious. Also I think that a stand of white gaura with their tall flower stems moving in the breeze it a thing of great beauty.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Alisdair on October 12, 2011, 03:56:40 PM
We find Gaura lindheimeri equally well behaved in Greece and in SW France, where as Alberto suggests the hard summers do indeed seem to control it, and in the UK, where by contrast the climate seems just about mild enough to allow it to grow without encouraging it to get out of control.
In Greece it does produce a few seedlings, but no more than one might want or can easily remove. There is never a problem with bits of root regrowing there.
As John J points out, this is yet another case of where stuff on Google, written perhaps with quite a different climate in mind, may not have much relevance to mediterranean conditions. that's where this forum should really score, by collating people's direct experience in mediterranean conditions, or indeed giving references to sources that are directly relevant.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: David Bracey on October 12, 2011, 08:17:25 PM
Gaura is now being used as a bedding plant here in the Haut Savoy.

I agree with Fleur, Gaura lindheimeri is a great garden plant.  It flowers from early spring to October and maybe longer.  It is a tremendous host for bees who work it from early in the morning. Lindheimeri does seed freely.

I`m not sure that Gaura has rhizomes but rather fleshy roots.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Umbrian on October 24, 2011, 05:34:06 PM
Gaura lindheimeri is one of the most rewarding plants that I have in my garden and never fails to draw comments from visitors. It can self seed very freely but young plants pull out easily and any potted up and grown on are always greatfully received by the aforementioned admirers. For me "Siskiyou Pink "does not perform particularly well but I do get some interesting colour variations on the flowers of self sets. I agree with Fleur that a stand of mature, naturalised Gaura gently waving in the breeze is a wonderful sight.
I also value them in the autumn and winter when the stems of older plants turn a vibrant red and on damp misty days when each remaining seed along the end of the slender, elongated flower stems,collects moisture and looks like a jewel especially when the sun breaks through.
Here they certainly add to the autumn colour in the garden as illustrated in accompanying photo.
With regards to David's comment that they are being used as a bedding plant in the Haut Savoy........I nearly ran into the car in front of me last year when I first saw the planting on a new roundabout central area in our local town.I am used to very unimaginative planting here in Umbria mostly heavily watered to keep it going or else left to die miserably as the weeds encroach. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw Gaura and Perovskia planted as specimen plants and surrounded by gravel! What the locals made of it I don't know but it certainly gave me hope for more suitable planting in municiple areas in the future.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: John J on October 24, 2011, 06:24:16 PM
At the AGM in Mallorca Sally took us to a 'White Garden', virtually every plant in the entire place was white. In one area they had a mass planting of Gaura. The photo is not particularly good but might convey something of the size involved.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: HansA on October 25, 2011, 12:18:00 AM
You are completly right, Gaura is a fantastic addition for the mediterranean garden, here two pics of the same planting - first taken in August, second in the begining of October.
There are hardly any perennials which are so floriferous such a long period of time.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Alisdair on October 25, 2011, 07:21:53 AM
And your pictures show how well careful siting makes this utterly foreign plant suit a Mediterranean scene. The flowers dance with scarcely a breath of wind, which brings a lovely illusion of a cooling breeze, too (my sister rather unromantically calls it the Office Toy Plant, like those desktop toys that you set swaying about).
In our part of Greece you see Siskiyou Pink far more often than the regular white form; the pink is a nice plant, but if I had to stick to one it would always be the white.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: MikeHardman on October 25, 2011, 08:30:54 AM
Very nice.
In the top photo, with all the sense of flow, somehow the white flowers mimic specular reflections of the sun dancing on  the surface of a lake.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Cali on October 25, 2011, 11:22:15 AM
Í'm jealous, Hans! My Gauras simply survive among my low Salvias where I was planning that "hovering butterfly" effect that yours have. I've had them for years, and they hang on, not spreading or flourishing. I would get rid of them, except they're so inconspicuous they hardly exist and I have other priorities....
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: JTh on October 25, 2011, 03:00:00 PM
I visited Brian in Spain (Tortosa, I believe) some days ago and he showed me some very nice roundabouts with Gauras, they were still in bloom. I would definitely like to have this in my garden in Greece.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: HansA on November 03, 2011, 11:28:23 AM
Í'm jealous, Hans! My Gauras simply survive among my low Salvias where I was planning that "hovering butterfly" effect that yours have. I've had them for years, and they hang on, not spreading or flourishing. I would get rid of them, except they're so inconspicuous they hardly exist and I have other priorities....

Thanks a lot Cali, unfortunately it is not my own garden - wish I had enough space to create also an area like this. This is a planting in its first year and it still gets regular iirigation every few days in summer - the idea is to reduce it to the minim (or stop it completly) in the next years.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Michel GAUTIER on November 16, 2011, 09:03:58 PM
Sorry to come late in this topic that I had not read before. I send you two pictures of Gaura lindheimeri, white form, that I grow in my garden.

The first shows a flower see closely, in summer (the year before).

The second is made in october this year, and show an overview of Gaura in association with Salvia elegans (red, in the foreground), S. leucantha (mauve and white form, on the left) and S. involucrata 'Hadspen' (pink on the right). Gaura is in background with few white flowers here and there. It adds at the "vaporous" atmosphere...

Just a little precision : no free seddling at all. I cut Gaura about in november to let place at the other salvia, mainly S. leucantha, witch is full bloom and take all the place !
Title: Re: Gaura lindheimeri
Post by: Charithea on June 06, 2018, 10:43:49 AM
I have lamented many times about being unable to grow Gaura lindheimeri in our garden.  Every year I would buy at least two plants but not luck.  They would produce a few flowers drop seeds and die. The beginning of this year I changed tactics.  Instead of watering them and providing  them with shade, I removed the seedling that were popping up from the previous year's seeds and transplanted them in the Salvia patch near the bitter orange tree. As you see in my photos they are still alive.  They are not 'flashy' pink ones but I am glad that they are there.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: MikeHardman on June 06, 2018, 09:01:29 PM
Hi Thea,

I'm a bit jealous that your Gauras self sow. I have never found a single seedling from mine (all of which are pink). 

Mine are not exactly flourishing. They're doing OK considering they have competition from grass and weeds, and they don't get fertilized or much water. I presume their tap roots are now (after several years) well down into the soil, enabling them to find moisture but not necessarily nutrients (I have trouble with unfertile subsoil).

Maybe your pot-bought ones suffer from stunting of the tap root, whereas your seedlings don't have that potential problem. I hope they get a grip and get going for you.

Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Umbrian on June 07, 2018, 05:57:10 AM
I was interested to see the topic of Gaura renewed and read all the previous postings. Having been most successful with this plant I have always found it strange that for some people it fails to perform. Having recently moved house and now gardening on a much smaller scale I was wary when introducing it because previously it had usefully colonised large areas for me and looked stunning throughout the summer. Now, with diligent weeding out of self set seedlings, I am enjoying it as a welcome addition in mixed planting areas. The flowering stems become quite tall and provide a variation of height amongst shorter subjects and of course provide flowers when some other plants have given up in the summer heat. Good luck with your new plants Charithea, they look happy and healthy at the moment.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: MikeHardman on June 07, 2018, 07:08:06 AM
I note:
 "May self-seed if spent flower stems are left in place in the fall."
So maybe I (and other folks) don't get seedlings because we cut them back in autumn (to prevent winter storms rocking them).

BTW, this species may be in Gaura or Oenothera.
ITIS has it as Oenothera
The Plant List has it as Gaura
We may need to wait for somebody to look at the DNA before we know for sure.

Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Charithea on June 07, 2018, 05:08:14 PM
Thank you both Mike and Carole. Mike you got me thinking of an Oenothera caespitosa that we saw in Italy.  Very unusual foliage. I have been trying to post it but my computer and ipad seem to be out of sorts.  My old lap top every now and then refuses to transfer photos. I am forced to email them and so on... i will try later . Success .
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: John J on June 08, 2018, 04:15:13 AM
Not sure that my photo is any better than my wife's, just taken from a slightly different angle.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Umbrian on June 08, 2018, 07:11:42 AM
Mike, as they flower over such a long period and therefore set seed early too ( another of the attractive properties of this plant as I noted in an earlier post - red stems in winter and droplets of water glistening on the seeds?) I would not think failure to self seed is because you cut the plants down in autumn. During this process some seeds must fall if not before. Of course they may come into the catagory of seeds that only germinate under very specific conditions - optimum time regarding temperature etc. Since I get so many I had always considered them easy and prolific self seeders. Why not leave some intact over winter and see what happens?
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: David Dickinson on June 25, 2018, 01:37:52 PM
My Gaura self-seed too. I have one white and one very deep pink. I'm glad I didn't rip out all the seedlings as I now have this very pale pink form too.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Umbrian on June 26, 2018, 05:27:24 AM
Yes, as David points out, you can get some very attractive variations of colour in the flowers from self seeded plants as his 'photo illustrates.
Title: Re: Gaura 2019
Post by: Fermi on January 15, 2019, 09:13:39 AM
We have a garden bed which gets regular water during summer and the gaura plants there seem to be the best  in the garden. The type form has crossed with the "Bellezia Deep Pink".
The seedlings are a mix of red/pink and white
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Charithea on January 15, 2019, 12:55:17 PM
What a beautiful sight especially today as our skies are grey and we are having very stormy weather . On the bright side is that last year's  Gauras are growing back again and are much bushier. They have finally established in one area of the garden.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Fermi on January 15, 2019, 03:52:23 PM
Hi Charithea,
that's good news about the gauras getting established in your garden.
It took us a few years to get ours going and now they are self-seeding.
A couple of years ago I found a plant with pure white flowers, without the pink shading in the sepals or calyx. Sadly the cuttings I got died but this season I found the hardware store in Bendigo had it in their nursery section as tubestock! We got it too late to plant out before summer so I hope we can keep it going till it's cool enough to get it into the ground,
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Charithea on January 16, 2019, 02:13:37 PM
Fermi the pure white is very striking. I will of course be content with the colours  I have. Later perhaps when I am comfortable with the success of the gauras I might search for a pure white one. I am an optimist. I am still waiting for my seeds to arrive from Sydney. They were posted by my nephew  a while ago. That is something else to experiment with.
Title: Re: Gaura
Post by: Umbrian on January 17, 2019, 08:07:44 AM
I agree, the pure white Gaura is very striking. I saw some late last year at the Lucca flower show but the price was so exorbitant to my mind that I resisted the temptation. Hopefully I will find  some more reasonably priced ones this year. The plants were very healthy looking and seemed more compact than usual with shorter flowering stems....I wonder if this is because they were pampered to perfection for the show or that will be their natural form?