Gaura lindheimeri 'Crimson Butterflies'
Common Name: gaura 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Onagraceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Hot pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful


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.

This cultivar will not come true from seed (usually producing green-leafed offspring).

Noteworthy Characteristics

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.

The genus name Gaura comes from the Greek gauros meaning "superb" in reference to the beautiful flowers.

Specific epithet honors Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879), Texas plant collector.

‘Crimson Butterflies’ is a compact cultivar that features hot pink flowers on short racemes and crimson red foliage. It was discovered in 1997 as an open-pollinated seedling variant of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’. It is a compact, dense, upright-spreading plant that forms a foliage mound to 12” tall featuring narrow, lance-shaped leaves (to 1-3” long) that emerge crimson in spring with the addition of some green as the leaves mature. Four-petaled hot pink flowers (1” diameter) appear in wand-like panicles on red stems rising above the foliage mound to 18” tall. Flowers bloom over a very long late spring to autumn period. Flowers reportedly dance in the wind like butterflies, hence the cultivar name. U.S. Plant Patent PP13,189 was issued November 5, 2002.


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.