Gaura does not die back in winter but will go dormant putting on little growth and staying the same size. When the weather turns warmer in late Winter to early Spring Gaura will grow new shoots and extend up. Hyrbids like ‘Belleza’, ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Blaze’ will send up new dark shoots which will grow flowers at the end.
My Gaura have sent up long shoots in late winter which need to be trimmed back to keep the bushes compact. These long stems will eventually flop everywhere if they are left. I will trim them now to encourage a dense coverage of dark pink flowers.
How prepare and take care of Gaura in the winter
Here are my top tips to prepare Gaura for the winter and get them ready to grow lots of flowers and new stems in Spring.
Remove any dead flowers at the end of the Fall
Trim back any dead flower heads that are still left on the plant in Fall. Cut the stems back to the healthy growth taking the plant down to around 1 foot in size. This will leave healthy leaves behind to sustain the plant over winter.
Old flower heads can be placed in your compost bin or green bin.
Mulch before the cold weather hits
Give your Gaura a fresh layer of mulch by topping up old much with new. Add bark mulch up to a thickness of 3 inches to prevent weeds and to insulate the plant against very cold weather. Mulch will help to prevent winter weeds and help to protect the plant roots.
Mulch will also prevent the soil from washing away in very heavy winter rain and feed the plant slowly over time. Gaura are light feeders and can extract nutrients very effectively from the soil.
Trim back any dead stems
Before the winter weather really comes into full force, take the opportunity to enjoy the Fall weather and do a final trim of any dead stems. This will neaten up the plant and get it ready to hibernate over winter.
Gaura will look like it is not doing anything over the cooler months. Simply staying stagnant and holding its shape. While it looks like it is doing nothing, it is just holding space until the weather warms again in Spring. Gaura won’t die back completely but have limited leaf and stem growth.
Caring for Gaura after Winter
Gaura can be trimmed back in Spring to around 30cm to keep it compact. The plant will grow stronger stems and a denser form which will look great in the long run. New flowers and buds will grow through around 6 weeks after the stems are trimmed.
Trim back stems after the flowers have finished in Spring and Summer. Feed the Gaura with pelleted chicken manure in spring and they will grow new stems and shoots over the warmer months.
How to trim Gaura
Trimming Gaura regularly is essential to keeping the plant healthy over the growing season. You won’t need to trim the Gaura back over winter as the growth will slow to almost nothing.
Trimming the Gaura regularly in spring and summer will keep the plant compact, encourage dense leaf and stem growth and more flowers. Trim the plant back after each flowering and in 4-6 weeks you will get a whole new covering of flowers.
Flowers can continue to grow until late Fall and only stopping once the weather is quite cool in winter. In subtropical climates the plant flowers for up to 8 months of the year. Hybrid plants flower profusely for the first 2-3 years and then will slow.
The original white Gaura will last longer, flowering for 5+ years with long swaying stems that look like butterflies flying in the wind.
Does Gaura come back every year?
Gaura will come back to life in Spring after a dormant period in the cooler months of Winter. While Gaura will not die back in temperate climates, it will do almost nothing over winter while it waits for the weather to warm.
By giving Gaura a feed of pelleted chicken manure they will get the nutrients they need to flower and grow over summer.
Keep the Gaura surrounded by a layer of mulch in both summer and winter to keep the roots moist. Regular water is a great idea but let the plant dry out between watering to avoid root rot.
Gaura are a hardy plant that is great for the beginner gardener. They will attract pollinating insects which is perfect for pollinating strawberries, citrus and tomatoes in your garden.
Gaura make a great border plant and are perfect for a cottage garden feel mixed with African Daisy.
Do Gaura plants spread?
Gaura plants will spread up to 3 feet wide. They are easy to keep contained by trimming them regularly to keep them to the shape and size that fits your space. Gaura plants grow well and the newer hybrids will stay small and compact with lots of deep pink flowers.
Will Gaura grow in shade?
Gaura plants will grow in part shade but will produce more flowers in full sun. I am growing my new hybrid Gaura in part shade and they are covered in flowers over Summer and Fall.
I have planted the traditional white Gaura in the sunniest part of my garden to give them the best chance of producing the most flowers.
Does Gaura die back in winter? | Summary
Gaura will not die back completely over winter but will slow its growth to a stop. Gaura have a dormant period over winter when the weather cools but will be ready to grow new leaves, stems and then flowers in Spring. Give the plant a boost of nitrogen and then watch as it give you multiple flowering flushes over the season.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.