Plant of The Month – September


Whirling Butterflies, Gaura

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling butterflies’

You will imagine butterflies fluttering over this plant when breezes blow through its delicate white to pink flowers on flexible stems.

  • Plant Form: Perennial Herb
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring – Fall (May – Oct)
  • Native to: Central & Western US, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F


Whirling Butterflies is a Gaura cultivar whose slender, arching stems rise from a basal mound of deep green foliage. Graceful, wand-like flower spikes grow above the foliage and move constantly in the breeze. Pink to red flower buds open to delicate white flowers that fade to pink, appearing to dance in the wind like butterflies. This semi-evergreen perennial has a lovely, airy habit. If its bloom power starts fading in spring or summer, sheer overall for a new flush of flowers. Resists browsing by rabbits and deer, and tolerates heat, drought, and poor soils, but good drainage is essential. This long-lived, low-maintenance perennial likes full sun, but appreciates afternoon shade in low desert areas. A hard prune in early spring before new growth begins keeps it tidy and bushy. Works well in containers, borders, raised beds, wildflower gardens, along the top of a wall, or massed in the garden—and in bouquets!