Gaura Lindheimeri Blushing Butterflies

Butterfly Gaura

Gaura lindheimeri

Gaura Lindheimeri ‘Blushing Butterflies’ produces soft pink flowers and has leaves that are light reddish-green and become brighter in winter.

When tougher perennials come up in conversation, we seldom mention the delicate-looking Gaura Lindheimeri, yet this attractive native of North America easily survives both extreme cold and short periods of drought. Even the tiniest shoot placed in the ground at the start of spring will grow rapidly, with the first dusty pink flower buds appearing soon thereafter. The buds open to a lovely white and bring with them the promise of all the many flowers to follow.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to angel wings because there is quite a selection of modern varieties available, and they suit practically every garden style or size. They offset roses beautifully and cover the bare patches between shrubs and other perennials in large flower beds very quickly. They blend attractively with plants such as lavender and sage and other ornamental grasses, and they are great in a pot. Their flowing style softens the edges of rockeries, and they look very dramatic when planted en masse. They are a must for a cut flower garden and every single plant is an irresistible nectar hub that attracts masses of butterflies and bees.

Gaura Lindheimeri begin flowering in spring and continue right through into autumn.

Most Suitable Climate

This exceptionally willing perennial should be given a fair chance in any climate – it can even endure a relatively harsh winter frost. It is semi-deciduous and lies dormant during winter, which is the best time to trim it or cut it back. Protect its root system by blanketing the ground with mulch.

What They Need

Location: full sun or light shade. In warm summer gardens, a position with morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.

Soil: any type is suitable, but to encourage strong root growth prepare the soil by adding a few loads of compost and some bone meal. You can even put in a handful of general garden fertilizer (such as the slow-release 3:1:5 or 2:3:2) or an organic equivalent.

Water: irrigate regularly – about two to three times a week if it is very warm. Make sure that the soil drains well.

Pruning: cut back lightly after the first blooms in spring to encourage new summer growth, and cut back heavily after the last blooms of autumn (at this point the plants will appreciate a handful of fertilizer or a fresh layer of compost).

Watch out for This

Sparse and leggy growth means that the plant is not being cut back enough.

Rust spots on the leaves may be caused by too much water or poor drainage.

Angel wings are perennials, but they won’t last forever. When they really start to look poorly, it is time to replace them with new plants.

Get more Value

Angel wings quickly form dense shrubs that can be divided in autumn. Use a spade to lop off rooted sections and plant them out. You can also take cuttings during summer. Gaura Lindheimeri also produces viable seed that will spring up in the garden on their own. 

In a Nutshell

Easy to cultivate.

Lengthy flowering season and an abundance of flowers, enough for cut flowers too.

Ideal for mass cultivation.

Free of pests and diseases.

The Gardener