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Oenothera lindheimeri

Previously known as:

  • Gaura filiformis var. munzii
  • Gaura lindheimeri
Phonetic Spelling
ee-no-THEE-ruh lind-HY-mer-ee
Description

White Gaura is a native clump-forming herbaceous perennial. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. The plant's tall stems have stemless, and spoon-shaped or lanceolate leaves. The flowers bloom on wiry, upright or arching, and densely clustered wand-like stems. The buds of the flowers are pink and open to white blossoms that will fade to pink. The flowers are borne on racemes and open only a few at a time. It blooms with white to pink flowers during the summer until the first fall frosts.

The flower is native to the south-central United States in Louisiana and Texas and is typically found in prairies, pinelands, and pond edges. 

The genus name, Gaura, is derived from the Greek word, gauros, which means 'superb' and references the flower. The specific epithet, lindheimeri, honors Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer, a plant collector from Texas in the 1800s. The species was moved from the genus Gaura to Oenothera in the early 2000s. It is a member of the Onagraceae or primrose family.

White Gaura is best grown in sandy, loamy, acidic, moist, well-drained soils. It prefers full sun and will tolerate heat and humidity. Deadheading the spent blooms will encourage continued blooming. Soil that is too rich will cause leaf growth and less flowering. The taproot helps make it drought and heat tolerant. The thin and wiry stems can become leggy and floppy; therefore, it is beneficial to plant other perennials nearby that can offer them support. The flower spikes should be cut back in the fall, and all the dead foliage removed in the spring. The plant may be propagated by seeds, division, or basal cuttings.

White Gaura grows from a thick taproot and has a basal clump of leaves. The leaves are lance-shaped and the margins are entire or slightly toothed. The foliage is dark green to burgundy. The foliage dies back during the winter, except in warmer climates where it will remain evergreen. The flowers are on long wiry stems that are 3 to 5 feet tall. The flower is 0.5 to 1 inch wide and has 4 petals that surround 8 yellow stamens. The flowers are white or pink-tinged, but cultivars tend to have more intensely colored petals. The flowers are attractive to pollinators such as bumblebees, long-tongue bees, and butterflies. After the flowers fade, a greenish nut-like fruit appears and matures to a dark grayish-brown. The fruit contains reddish-brown seeds. 

White Gaura is best planted in groups or mass plantings due to its tall wispy habit. It may be used along sunny borders or has a container planting. Cottage Gardens, wildflower meadows, and naturalized areas are perfect for the loose and airy sprays of flowers. Cultivars are available and compact varieties may be better for use in gardens. 

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Summer and Fall          Foliage: Spring, Summer, and Fall      Fruits:  Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • thick tap root and a basal clump of leaves
  • wiry, upright or arching, and densely clustered wand-like stems measuring 3 to 5 feet tall
  • dark green to burgundy leaves are lance-shaped or spoon-shaped, with entire margins or slightly toothed
  • white to pink-tinged flowers are 0.5 to 1 inch wide, with 4 petals that surround 8 yellow stamens
  • greenish nut-like fruit, matures to a dark grayish-brown and contains reddish-brown seeds. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: In poorly drained soils, root rot may occur. Other diseases include rust and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include aphids, whiteflies, and flea beetles.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Patio Garden Lake Wall Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
    'Belleza' Spring form
    Dark pink, light pink, white flowers, compact
  • 'Corrie's Gold'
    variegated foliage, creamy margins, 1.5 feet tall, white flowers tinged with pink
  • 'Dauphine'
    5 to 7 feet tall, green foliage white to pink flowers
  • 'Passionate Blush'
    Compact, heavy bloomer with pink flowers
  • 'Passionate Pink'
    hot pink flowers, zone 5a
  • 'Passionate Rainbow'
    Compact, pink blooms, variegated leaves
  • 'Pretty Pink'
    dark pink flowers
  • 'Siskiyou Pink'
    Rose pink flowers
  • 'Snowstorm'
    released from the University of Minnesota, rated zone 6
  • 'Sparkle White'
  • 'Walgaupf'
    Shorter, pink flowers
  • 'Whirling Butterflies'
    White sterile blooms
'Belleza', 'Corrie's Gold', 'Dauphine', 'Passionate Blush', 'Passionate Pink', 'Passionate Rainbow', 'Pretty Pink', 'Siskiyou Pink', 'Snowstorm', 'Sparkle White', 'Walgaupf', 'Whirling Butterflies'
Tags:
#cultivars#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#native perennials#fall interest#cottage garden#ncemgva2018#spreading#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#light pink flowers#native garden#naturalizes#border planting#acidic soils tolerant#clumping#naturalized area#prairies#partial shade tolerant#meadows#container plant#erect#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
    'Belleza' Spring form
    Dark pink, light pink, white flowers, compact
  • 'Corrie's Gold'
    variegated foliage, creamy margins, 1.5 feet tall, white flowers tinged with pink
  • 'Dauphine'
    5 to 7 feet tall, green foliage white to pink flowers
  • 'Passionate Blush'
    Compact, heavy bloomer with pink flowers
  • 'Passionate Pink'
    hot pink flowers, zone 5a
  • 'Passionate Rainbow'
    Compact, pink blooms, variegated leaves
  • 'Pretty Pink'
    dark pink flowers
  • 'Siskiyou Pink'
    Rose pink flowers
  • 'Snowstorm'
    released from the University of Minnesota, rated zone 6
  • 'Sparkle White'
  • 'Walgaupf'
    Shorter, pink flowers
  • 'Whirling Butterflies'
    White sterile blooms
'Belleza', 'Corrie's Gold', 'Dauphine', 'Passionate Blush', 'Passionate Pink', 'Passionate Rainbow', 'Pretty Pink', 'Siskiyou Pink', 'Snowstorm', 'Sparkle White', 'Walgaupf', 'Whirling Butterflies'
Tags:
#cultivars#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#native perennials#fall interest#cottage garden#ncemgva2018#spreading#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#light pink flowers#native garden#naturalizes#border planting#acidic soils tolerant#clumping#naturalized area#prairies#partial shade tolerant#meadows#container plant#erect#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Oenothera
    Species:
    lindheimeri
    Family:
    Onagraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    Native United States: Louisiana and Texas. Introduced: Cape Provinces, Corse, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Northern Provinces, Portugal, Spain, and the State of Alabama.
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds, bumblebees, long-tongued bees, and butterflies. It is the host plant for caterpillars of the white-lined sphinx moth.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Drought and heat
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Open
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is indehiscent and nutlike. It is initially green and matures to a grayish-brown. It contains reddish-brown seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, fading to light pink, and bloom from summer through fall. Only a few flowers are open on the stalks at one time. The flowers are 0.5 to 1 inch wide and have 4 petals. The petals surround 8 long yellow stamens. The petals are directed upwards.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Lance-shaped leaves are 1-3 inches long and 0 .5 inches wide with fine hairs and coarsely toothed margins. They are in a basal rosette and also grow up the stems. The foliage varies from dark green to burgundy and may have some spotted maroon markings.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The green-to-brownish stem is wiry, erect, or arching.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat