Lindheimer’s beeblossom – info, planting, care and tips

Lindheimer's beeblossom (Oenothera lindheimeri)
Lindheimer's beeblossom (Oenothera lindheimeri)

The Lindheimer’s beeblossom is a true continuous bloomer and inspires with its filigree flower panicles. Here you can find out everything worth knowing about this easy-care perennial.

Profile of Lindheimer’s beeblossom:

Scientific name: Oenothera lindheimeri formerly Gaura lindheimeri

Plant family: evening primrose family (Onagraceae)

Other names: white gaura, pink gaura, Lindheimer’s clockweed, Indian feather

Sowing time: May

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: June to September

Location: sunny

Soil quality: gravelly to sandy, lime-tolerant, nutrient-poor to moderately nutrient-rich, low in humus

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, group planting, planters, rose companion, overgrowing, borders, flower garden, prairie garden, rose garden, potted garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 7 (-15 °C / +5 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Lindheimer’s beeblossom

Plant order, origin and occurrence of Lindheimer’s beeblossom

The Lindheimer’s beeblossom (Oenothera lindheimeri) is a filigree, permanently flowering summer shrub. The special thing about it is that each individual flower – similar to 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 Lindheimer’s beeblossom has become a real triumph in gardens in recent years. The member of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae) is native to southern North America and grows in prairies and light pine forests. There are a total of 20 different species of evening primroses, but Gaura lindheimeri and its varieties are the most relevant from a horticultural point of view.

Characteristics of Lindheimer’s beeblossom

Plant

The filigree perennial grows bushy with upright, slightly curved flower stems and can therefore fit into almost any gap in the bed. Lindheimer’s beeblossom can grow up to 150 centimeters (60 in) high and about 90 centimeters (36 in) wide – but usually the plants remain lower.

Leaves

Lindheimer’s beeblossom have blue-green, toothed, somewhat rough looking leaves. The leaves grow up to 8 cm (3.2 in) long and are elliptical to spatula-shaped. Some leaves are slightly indented at the edge.

Blossoms

The flowering period of the Lindheimer’s beeblossom extends over several months, which makes it an indispensable permanent flowering plant for the garden. In the right location, it opens its pretty flowers in July and then presents them until the first frost. The loose flower panicles can grow up to 60 centimeters long and consist of numerous, 2 to 3 centimeters (0.8 to 1.2 in) small individual flowers, which are pink-white in color and remind one of small butterflies. The special thing: Each of them withers within one day.

Fruit

As fruits, the plants form inconspicuous capsules.

Flower of Lindheimer's beeblossom (Oenothera lindheimeri)
Flower of Lindheimer’s beeblossom (Oenothera lindheimeri)

Lindheimer’s beeblossom – cultivation and care

Location

Lindheimer’s beeblossom prefers a sunny to full sunny location, which should be protected from strong winds. Otherwise the flower stems of the plant can easily bend. Climatically favourable are places in front of a south-facing house wall.

Soil

The Lindheimer’s 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 you do not want to do without planting a Lindheimer’s beeblossom in this case, you should make such soils more permeable with some sand and gravel before planting.

Planting Lindheimer’s beeblossom

You need about six plants per square meter (10 sq ft). Lindheimer’s beeblossom can be beautifully combined with a wide variety of other plants. Even in a rose bed, Lindheimer’s beeblossoms cut a fine figure. The best time to plant is in spring, so that the plant can take root until the first winter. However, containerized plants can be planted all season.

Watering

The watering requirement of a Lindheimer’s beeblossom is at a low level. The watering can is only used in the bed if there is no rain for a long time. If the surface of the soil dries, pour the water directly onto the root disc in the morning or evening hours. Avoid over-head watering, as splashing water will considerably impair the beauty of the Lindheimer’s beeblossom. If sunrays hit the delicate flowers at the same time, the water drops will turn into small burning glasses. If the plant thrives in a pot or balcony box, check with your finger every 2-3 days to see if the potting soil has dried. If the upper 2 cm (1 in) of the substrate feels dry, water.

Fertilization

If the site conditions meet the expectations or come close, the Lindheimer’s beeblossom in the bed does not require fertilizer. Where the soil is extremely poor, the perennial nevertheless proves grateful for a little compost at the beginning of the growing season. For potted plants, a liquid fertilizer in half concentration every 30 days from May to August is recommended.

Pruning

If you consistently cut out wilted and withered material, the Lindheimer’s beeblossom will always look its best. In this way you also create space for further flowers. In autumn, cut the plant back to 10 cm (4 in) above the ground. Then spread a thick layer of leaves and brushwood over the root disc, because the perennial is not unconditionally hardy.

Care of Lindheimer’s beeblossom

In the first few weeks, Lindheimer’s beeblossoms require increased attention, as a regular water supply is essential for rooting. Therefore, always water in the bed and pot when the substrate surface has dried out. Once the perennial has established itself, care is limited to the following program:

  • Watering the plant in dry conditions
  • In suitable soil no fertilization is necessary
  • Fertilize potted plants from May to August once a month with liquid fertilizer
  • Clean wilted flower clusters every few days

In autumn, cut the plant back to hand width above the ground to protect the root disc from the rigors of winter with a thick layer of leaves, straw and fir fronds. If the perennial thrives in a planter, it will survive the cold season in the frost-free winter quarters.

Dividing

The popular perennial is short-lived, but will seed itself in suitable locations. It is not possible to divide it to rejuvenate it.

Propagation

As in practice the Lindheimer’s beeblossom proves to be short-lived, it is not suitable for the usual perennial propagation by means of division. Instead, experienced hobby gardeners use the seed to grow further specimens. If you want to avoid the imponderables of direct sowing in May, it is best to follow these short instructions:

  • Sowing behind glass is possible all year round
  • Filling a seed bowl with peat sand
  • Mix the fine seeds with bird sand and scatter
  • Thinly sieve with substrate and spray with water

In the heatable propagator at 20 °C / 68 °F germination starts within 2-3 weeks. Between germination and pricking out usually 4-6 weeks pass. Then you need to be patient again, because another 6-8 weeks are needed until planting. During this time, keep the substrate constantly slightly moist without creating stagnant moisture.

Diseases and pests

In a suitable location and in a healthy condition, Lindheimer’s beeblossom are not particularly susceptible to diseases and pests. In locations that tend to waterlogging, however, the danger of rotten roots is high. Aphids can also cause trouble under such unfavorable conditions. Directly neighboring kitchen herbs such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), sage (salvia) and thyme (thymus) have a preventive effect against these annoying pests. Gaura lindheimeri can also be attacked by snails. In case of infestation, it is best to collect the pests from the affected plants by hand.

Wintering

The Lindheimer’s beeblossom is not completely hardy. Nevertheless, there are best chances for a healthy wintering if you take the following precautions in the bed:

  • Cut the perennial in autumn to 10 cm above the ground
  • Pile up the root disc thickly with leaves, straw and needle brushwood
  • Optionally cover the plant with garden fleece

In the tub, cut back the plant as well. Then put the tub into the frost-free winter quarters. Water the root ball once a week to prevent it from drying out completely.

Use in the garden

Lindheimer’s beeblossom are real continuous bloomers. Therefore they are suitable for all sunny locations in the garden, but especially for gravel beds, rock gardens and sunny borders. In perennial beds, between alternating piles and in natural plantings with a prairie character, they meet the creative desire for more naturalness in the garden. Even formal severity can loosen up the airy clouds of flowers. With their fan-like flower panicles, they are in demand as a wind-driven accompanying pile for roses. It is also well suited as a potted plant for balconies and terraces.

Varieties

In addition to the white-flowering species and its selections, the increasing variety offers pink to reddish varieties. These are usually less hardy. But especially for seasonal use, new, more compact growing rows are constantly being developed, which are ideal for balcony and terrace design.

  • Whirling Butterflies: The perennial impresses with white blossoms that sprout pink buds; growth height 50-70 cm (20 to 28 in)
  • Gambit Rose: The carmine red flowers shine on curved stems towards the sun; height of growth 50-60 cm (20 to 24 in)
  • Summer Breeze: A majestic plant with white-pink flowers and robust stability; growth height 80-120 cm (32 to 48 in)
  • Koralee Petite: The intense pink flowers harmonize wonderfully with the dark foliage; height of growth 80 cm (32 in)
  • Siskiyou Pink: The variety captivates with bright pink flowers, which thrive in dense clusters; growth height 40-80 cm (16 to 32 in)

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