How to care for gaura plants

Written by misty barton
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The gaura plant, also known as the butterfly plant, has white and pink flowers which, when fully open, closely resemble a butterfly’s wings. The plant is native to South and Central America, and as such, is extremely heat and drought tolerant, and is hardy in zones 6 through 9. The plant will, when not pruned, grow up to 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The gaura requires only basic care and is self-seeding.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gaura plant
  • Fertiliser
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Anti-fungal spray

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  1. 1

    Plant the gaura in a place where it can receive full, or nearly full sun, and where the soil is well-drained. Over-watering, or overly moist soil conditions, can lead to root rot and fungus on the plant’s leaves.

  2. 2

    Plant multiple butterfly plants close together, or near phlox, peony and salvia, to provide the plant with support on the sides.

  3. 3

    Deadhead the butterfly plant, pinching off flowers when they are spent. This will encourage maximum bloom from the plant.

  4. 4

    Fertilise the plant with a slow-release product in the early spring to ensure the plant is well-fed during the growing season.

  5. 5

    Prune the plant in late spring, cutting it back so it does not encroach on the growing space of surrounding plants. Better Homes and Gardens suggests cutting it back by half after the first flush of blooms is spent.

  6. 6

    Mulch the gaura in the late fall, before frost. This will protect the plant's root system during the winter. The harsher your winter temperature, the thicker the covering of mulch required to ensure plant survival.

  7. 7

    Propagate gaura by dividing established plants in the early spring or fall. Transplant the divided section to establish part of the growth in a new location.

  8. 8

    Watch for signs of black spot, powdery mildew or rust. Fungal diseases are common on gaura foliage, and should be promptly treated with an anti-fungal spray.

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