Gaura Lindheimeri Beeblossom
the beeblossom (Gaura lindheimeri), also called prairie-candle, is about a filigree, continuously flowering summer-shrub. The special thing about it is that each individual flower – similar to the daylilies (Hemerocallis) – opens for only one day. However, as new flowers are constantly being formed, the flowering period can last from July to the first frost under optimal conditions – one of the reasons why the splendid candle has made a veritable triumphal march in our gardens in recent years. The evening primrose plant (Onagraceae) is native to southern North America and grows in prairies and light pine forests. There are a total of 20 different types of magnificent candles, but Gaura lindheimeri and its varieties are the most relevant from a horticultural point of view.
The beeblossom perennial grows in a bushy and horny way with upright, slightly curved flower stems and can therefore fit into almost any gap in the bed. beeblossom can grow up to 150 centimeters high and about 90 centimeters wide – but as a rule the plants remain lower.
beeblossoms are in the possession of blue-green, toothed, somewhat rough working leaves. The leaves are up to eight centimeters long and elliptic to spatulate in shape. Some leaves are slightly indentated at the edge.
The flowering time of the beeblossom extends over several months, which makes it an indispensable permanent bloomer for the garden. In the right place it opens its pretty flowers in July and presents them until the first frost. The loose flower panicles can be up to 60 centimeters long and consist of numerous, two to three centimeter small individual flowers, which are pink-white in colour and resemble small butterflies. The special: Each of them withers within a day.
Gaura lindheimeri prefers a sunny to full sunny location, which should be protected from strong winds. Otherwise the flower stems of the plant can easily twist. Climatically favourable are places in front of a south-facing house wall.
The beeblossom thrives above all on a permeable, dry as well as nutrient-poor and not too humus-rich soil. Heavy soils with a higher water and nutrient content are less suitable. Here the frost-sensitive perennial hardly survives the winter. If one does not want to do without the planting of a beeblossom, one should make such soils more permeable with some sand and gravel before the planting.
You need about six plants per square metre. Gaura lindheimeri can be combined splendidly with a great variety of other plants. Also in a rose bed splendid candles make a good figure. The best planting time is in spring, so that the beeblossom can root well until the first winter. However, container goods can be placed throughout the season.
beeblossoms are extremely easy to care for. Avoid winter wetness, which is not well tolerated by Gaura lindheimeri. For example, brushwood or foliage can be used as suitable winter protection. This is a must, especially in rougher locations, because beeblossoms can only withstand temperatures down to -15 degrees Celsius for a short time. A pruning takes place in spring. The old stalks are cut off directly above the new leaves.
The splendor-candle velvet itself out and occupies so fast gaps in the bed. If you want to stop this urge to spread, the seedlings are stung out early before they form their deep tap roots.
The beeblossom perennial is short-lived, but sows itself in suitable locations. A division for rejuvenation is not possible.
beeblossoms are real permanent bloomers. Therefore, they are suitable for all sunny locations in the garden, but especially for gravel beds and sunny borders. In perennial beds, between alternating pile and in natural plantings with prairie character they correspond to the creative desire for more naturalness in the garden. Even formal severity can loosen up the airy flower clouds. With their fan-like flower panicles, they are in demand as a wind-blown pile for roses. Gaura lindheimeri is also well suited as a pot plant for balconies and terraces, for example.
In addition to the white-flowering species and their selection, the increasing variety offers pink to reddish variants. These are usually less hardy. However, especially for seasonal use, new, more compact growing ranges are being developed, which are ideal for balcony and patio design.
A particularly recommendable variety is ‘Corrie’s Gold’. This variety has a white flower, the stem leaves are surrounded by a golden edge, so it has already before the actual flowering some radiance. The growth height is up to 150 centimeters. Papillon’ also has a pure white flower. It gets about 80 centimeters high.
Another well-known variety is ‘Short Form’. It is characterized by a compact growth habit, grows about 50 centimeters high and also has a white flower. Also popular is the ‘Summer Breeze’ with its white flower. The plant grows to a height of 120 centimeters and is considered one of the hardiest varieties in winter, while the ‘Siskiyou Pink’, which grows to about 80 centimeters, has a bright pink flower. Sunset Dreams’ also shows a strong pink flower at flowering time. It can grow up to 40 centimeters and is ideal for balcony boxes and tubs due to its low height.
The pink blossoming ‘Whirling Butterflies’ is one of the most famous selections of the magnificent candle. Compared to the pure species, the flowers are slightly larger and appear in rich abundance. The up to 70 centimeters high variety is strongly branched and acts like an airy cloud of flowers in beds, on open spaces or at the edge of terraces. Lillipop Pink’ bears the coveted pink floral colour and reddish foliage. The richly flowering variety remains low at 30 to 40 centimeters.
Gaura lindheimeri can be selectively propagated by cutting non-flowering shoots in early summer. However, it also ensures its continued existence in the garden through self-seeding.
Diseases and pests
At a suitable location and in a healthy condition, beeblossoms are not particularly susceptible to diseases and pests. At sites that tend to stagnate, however, the danger of rotten roots is great. Also aphids can drive its mischief at beeblossom under such unfavorable conditions. Directly adjacent kitchen herbs such as real lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), sage (Salvia) and thyme (Thymus) have a preventive effect against the annoying pests. Snails can also inflict Gaura lindheimeri. In case of infestation, it is best to collect the pests from the affected plants by hand.