Best grown in sandy, loamy, well-drained soils in full sun. Good drainage is essential. A taprooted plant which tolerates heat, humidity and some drought. Remove spent flower spikes to prolong bloom period. Thin flower stems tend to become leggy and flop, particularly when grown in rich soils, and plants can benefit from close planting or support from adjacent perennials. Plants (particularly those which typically grow tall) may be cut back in late spring by 1/2 to control size. May self-seed if spent flower stems are left in place in the fall.
Gaura lindheimeri, commonly called gaura, is a herbaceous clump-forming perennial that is native to Texas and Louisiana. It grows to as much as 5' tall on stems clad with spoon-shaped to lanceolate leaves (to 3" long). Pinkish buds along wiry, erect, wand-like stems open to white flowers which slowly fade to pink. Flowers appear in long, open, terminal panicles and open only a few at a time. Narrow, lance-shaped, stemless leaves (1-3" long) are occasionally spotted with maroon.
Genus name comes from the Greek gauros meaning superb in reference to the beautiful flowers.
Specific epithet honors Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879), Texas plant collector.
‘Passionate Rainbow’ is a compact pink-flowered cultivar that is most noted for its variegated foliage. In 2001, it was discovered growing as a naturally occurring sport in a clump of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Pink’ in Victoria, Australia. It is a compact upright plant that forms a foliage mound to 12” tall featuring narrow, lance-shaped, medium green leaves (to 2.5” long) with creamy white margins and red-pink coloration toward the apex. New foliage may have pink overtones. Foliage is attractive throughout the growing season. Four-petaled red-pink flowers (1” diameter) bloom at the stem tips and side branches of wiry flowering stems rising well above the foliage mound to 24-30” tall over a long late spring to late summer bloom period. Flowers open a few at a time, and are often described as dancing in the wind like butterflies. U.S. Plant Patent PP17,002 was issued on August 15, 2006.
No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in heavy and/or poorly drained soils. Rust and powdery mildew may also occur. Watch for aphids, whitefly and flea beetles.
Effective in sunny borders. Best in groups or massed. May be grown in containers.