'Siskiyou Pink' Gaura;
aka, Pink Butterfly Bush
Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' was developed then introduced to gardening in 1994 by Baldassare Mineo of the Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery. Mineo discovered the unusual pink flower amidst his stocks as a natural mutation, & selected it out to propagate. It has since been the basis of several other pink to red cultivars, including the variegated 'Sunny Butterflies' & the dwarf red-twigged 'Crimson Butterflies,' both developed in Australia
Gaura is sometimes called 'Butterfly Bush' not because it is related to or resembles Buddleia davidii, nor even entirely because it attracts butterflies, though it certainly does do that. Rather, the colorful flowers themselves look like butterflies gathered around the low-growing tangle of Gaura stems & branches, its green leaves mottled maroon.
Maroon buds open as bright pink. They are excellent for use in bouquets. Blossoms begin to appear late in spring (by June in our zone) or very early in summer, & it continues to bloom through the first hard frosts of autumn or even into winter.
Our 'Siskiyou Pink' almost seemed like it was finished blooming in November. However, it exausts itself before the start of winter, & looks damned near dead, needing at that time to be hard pruned, slow though it is to bounce back to full glory.
Gaura wants a sunny location in extremely well-draining soil with a good measure of organic material enriching the earth. It becomes so drought tolerant once established. Its drought tolerance is the result of a very deep taproot, which is also what keeps Gaura from transplanting very well, the root being too deep to dig up entirely. So be sure to place it carefully, since if you decide you want to move it after the taproot is down, you may kill it by the move.
It forms a large clump of untidy twisted nearly prostrate branches that can mound to two feet height, which is small in comparison to the wild species which can be twice the size of most of the cultivars, & even 'Siskiyou Pink' can actually sprawl to four feet wide if not pruned back from time to time.
If never pruned, it becomes scruffy-looking at the center. To keep it relatively compact & refreshed, it should be hard-pruned before spring, near winter's end, but may in some years need a lighter pruning late in summer or whenever there seems to be a "break" in its everblooming habit; it will quickly grow back with renewed flowering.
It is generally loosely enough foliaged that an extremely small sun-loving groundcover can go underneath it without becoming too badly shaded. But if properly pruned it will become a denser bush. If planted on a rockery ledge, it will grow downward over bricks or stones, forming a most pleasing cascade of butterfly-flowers.
See also the page about our white 'Whirling Butterfly' Gaura.
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