A Great Sun Loving Perennial: Guara

A Great Sun Loving Perennial

I like to plant mainly perennials in my yard so I don’t have to replant so many plants every spring. And, this is one that looks beautiful year round.

Gaura, also known as ‘Crimson Butterflies’ or ‘Bee Blossoms’ is so much of an improvement over previous cultivars that it could almost be considered a new species. The foliage remains a rich maroon-burgundy all season – which means year-round in the South – and its hot pink flowers are borne in such abundance it’s had to find the red stems. This Gaura variety is compact enough to plant in a container, yet has the color impact of a plant three times its size!

It begins to bloom mid-spring, arising on 8-inch stems of bright red and they open gradually, giving you fresh color for many weeks. The heaviest bloom occurs in late spring, but the plant continues to bloom steadily through summer and into fall. Their vibrant pink color is nicely offset by the rich, deep burgundy tones of the foliage and the occasional glimpses of bright red when the stem is seen.

One plant grows just 14 – 15 inches tall and spreads 18 – 24 inches wide, ‘Crimson Butterflies’ fills a large pot beautifully, and also makes a nice edging or in the front of borders. Its spring to autumn bloom time is surprising, and the plant remains attractive even when not in bloom, with evergreen foliage in the warmer portions of its hardiness range. Compact and vigorous, it always looks very lush.

A hardy perennial native to Louisiana, Texas and Mexico, Gaura is perfect for hot-weather climates, and ‘Crimson Butterflies’ outdoes itself in tolerating adversity. Cold, drought, heat, humidity, and even shallow soil are no obstacles, making it ideal for the xeriscapic gardening. However, it flowers best, when given adequate moisture. Hardy all the way through south Florida, its rich foliage drinks in the sun, turning darker as the heat increases!

‘Crimson Butterflies’ is one in a series of Gauras bred by Howard Bentley of Australia. It is an offspring of the renowned ‘Siskiyou Pink,’ but easily outperforms its well-known parent in compact stature, quantity of flower, and length of bloom. You enjoy discovering the pleasure of this carefree native treasure. Space plants 12 inches apart in just about any well-drained garden soil exposed to full sun. In the native plant garden, It combines nicely with ornamental grasses and foliage plants as edging.

Versatile and beautiful year-round, this Gaura opens up a horticultural world of possibilities for a reliable, drought-tolerant native plant. Plant in zones 5-10.

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