Gaura

'Crimson Butterflies'
Dwarf Bee Blossom or Wand Flower

   

Gaura lindheimeri 'Crimson Butterflies' is a compact, dwarf gaura. Its young leaves & twig-tips are burgundy-red, & flowers are dark red-pink. The red twigs & dark pink flowers are strongly contrasting shades, so the flowers still stand out as well as they do against green foliage.

With its flowery wands less than two feet tall, it is a fourth or a third the size of most gaura cultivars, & stands quite a bit more upright rather than the usual fountaining appearance of larger gauras.

It's common names include Bee Blossom & Wand Flower (or Beeblossom & Wandflower), Butterfly Bush, or Indian Feather. "Gaura" means "Good" or "Superb," & gauras are superb for container or xeriscape gardening. It is drought-tolerant, heat tolerant, blooms its dear little heart out all summer & deep into autumn, & is rarely afflicted by any disease.

In warmer zones further south it blooms early spring until deep into autumn, though on Puget Sound 'Crimson Butterflies' blooms July to October. It is one of the most impressive of everblooming perennials.

Twig-tips will be reddest & clump most compact with occassional trimming. It can be sheered almost at any time during spring or summer, whenever it seems to be slowing down in bloom power. Such sheering will induce new growth & new flowers.

It was developed by Howard Bently of Plant Growers Australia, bred from the first deep pink sport, 'Siskayou Pink,' which was developed right here in the Pacific Northwest. Bently's other Australian-bred gauras are the variegated 'Sunny Butterflies,' & the white 'Blushing Butterflies.'

'Crimson Butterflies' may self-seed, but the seedlings will be regular green-leafed gauras. It dislikes being divided because the long taproot is too easily broken. That leaves only stem cuttings as the best way of propogating identical 'Crimson Butterflies' specimens.

Softwood or semi-hardened cuttings can be rooted spring or summer, assisted with a rooting hormone. The stems will root in four to six weeks. They should start their early life in pots rather than open frames, as if started in the open garden, they may root quite deeply & will not transplant to permanent locations without injury.

Most gauras cannot be planted too near a path because of their wide fountaining behavior, but 'Crimson Butterflies' is compact enough to use nearer a sidewalk or front border without getting in the way.

   



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