Gaura lindheimeri 'Ballerina White'
Common Name: gaura 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Onagraceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy

Culture

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.

'Ballerina White' does not reliably self-seed, so it not suitable for naturalizing.

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.

'Ballerina White' is a compact, floriferous selection of gaura that features white flowers on upright to gently arching stems. The flowers can reach 1.5" in diameter and bloom continuously from late spring to fall. Mature plants can reach up to 1.5' tall and spread to fill a 2' area. This plant is patented under the cultivar name 'Baltincite' and protected by patent number PP20326.

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.

Uses

Effective in sunny borders. Best in groups or massed. May be grown in containers.