Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Appleblossom Grass, Lindheimer's Beeblossom
Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies'

Family: Onagraceae (on-uh-GRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gaura (GOW-ra) (Info)
Species: lindheimeri (lind-HY-mer-ee) (Info)
Cultivar: Whirling Butterflies
Additional cultivar information: (Butterflies series)

Synonym:Oenothera lindheimeri

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

Thumbnail #1 of Gaura lindheimeri by BUFFY690

By saya
Thumbnail #2 of Gaura lindheimeri by saya

By saya
Thumbnail #3 of Gaura lindheimeri by saya

By salvia_lover
Thumbnail #4 of Gaura lindheimeri by salvia_lover

Thumbnail #5 of Gaura lindheimeri by BUFFY690

Thumbnail #6 of Gaura lindheimeri by BUFFY690

By 1gardengram
Thumbnail #7 of Gaura lindheimeri by 1gardengram

There are a total of 17 photos.
Click here to view them all!


11 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Gardeningman On Jan 23, 2014, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS wrote:

Whirling Butterflies Gaura is very drought and heat tolerant and grows best in sandy loam. In rich soils it tends to flop. It does not tolearte wet or poorly drained soils and will die if exposed to these conditions. The bloom time can be prolonged for the entire growing season through dead heading of the spent flower spikes. Although the species will self-seed, this cultivar is sterile.
I may plant some of these in a sandy and sunny spot south of my garage along with Russian sage. Lantanas do well there so why not try Whirling Butterflies to?

Positive birder17 On Sep 27, 2012, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant is one tough cookie/err, plant! I winter sowed it many years ago. I planted it in the right angle of two cement paths and three feet from a Kwanzan Cherry tree which I would consider difficult conditions. It is an easy care plant. I have given it no special treatment. It only received moisture when it rained. So, this plant is definitely drought tolerant.

It has developed into a beautiful 3 and half foot billowy mass of white flowers that seem to dance in the breeze. The flowering period lasts a long time-at least a month. The shape of the plant stays uniform-round airy shrub like. It's about 30 inches in diameter.

I really like the plant and would enjoy having more. Mine has never re-seeded-but has rather challenging conditions. I have not been able to find the seeds. I will try my hand at cuttings to over winter.

I am going to put another one with my Lychnis chalcedonica 'Maltese Cross'.

Positive ThomPotempa On Dec 10, 2010, ThomPotempa from Houston, TX wrote:

My type of plant. Never needs water even in drought conditions. It's my 12 year old daughter's favorite flower to pick.

Positive CARPE_DIEM On Mar 29, 2009, CARPE_DIEM from Chicago, IL wrote:

A great plant, but typically roots turn to mush in Chicago's cold and wet winters. In such conditions, consider it as an annual, or possibly pot up roots for cool storage as is done with dahlia and canna tubers.

Positive kTalia On Mar 18, 2009, kTalia from Littleton, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

The second year I had this plant I couldn't believe the whirling flower stems reached easily over 3 feet! They were beautiful, until my dog took a nap on it one afternoon in September.

Anyway, I wanted to start some more for a new bed I was planning the following year and managed to collect a few seeds (I didn't know I could root cuttings). The previous year I tossed handfuls of the seeds I collected around in a few places, but none of the seeds germinated. Perhaps the conditions just weren't right for them, so I decided to try starting them inside this year.

I was a bit confused about the "seed" pods. It seemed to me the actually seed should be inside those pods, so I planted 12 of the pods and then stripped the pods off of 3. What a process! It took about 20 minutes of careful cutting, dropping the darn things, prying, dropping the darn thing, hunting for it... Hehe... anyway. I gave up after 3. After 3 weeks, none of the "pods" germinated (still waiting to see if they will). However, all 3 of the striped "seeds" have germinated (after about 6 days) and are about 1/2" high now.

All the information I was able to find online suggested that the original "pods" from the plant were the seeds and what should be planted. Maybe this is really the case, but I think for now on I'll strip that hard shell off. Better yet, maybe I'll just try cuttings next time! Hope this info helps.

Positive michaeladenner On Apr 18, 2006, michaeladenner from Deland, FL wrote:

One of the few truly perennial herbaceous plants in our area -- came back better this year. Year one -- 1'x2', year two -- 2'x4'. Over the winter it loses its spikey flowers and looks like Stokes aster or just fat liriope. Then, early spring, it sends out long spikes of delicate-looking white and pink flowers that open slowly from the bottom up. Tends to bloom furiously, take a break, then bloom again. Survives the heat, drought and deluges that characterize our area, and makes a nice cut flower, too! Highly recommended and fairly easy to find.

Positive 1gardengram On Jul 15, 2005, 1gardengram from Fayetteville, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Had them as seedlings last year in a small flower box. Set them out this spring along the front of my dahlia bed and they are glorious. Have been blooming since April nonstop. As one wand finishes blooming, I cut it back by about half and they just keep coming back. They are so pretty in the breeze. I didn't know I could start more from cuttings until I read these other notes, so will be doing that from now on! I have lots more places they could beautify.

Negative 3under On May 11, 2005, 3under from Indiana, PA wrote:

I just purchased one of these plants at Lowe's 2 days ago. It has not been planted as yet but I noticed today that there are black spots on a lot of the leaves. These were not there when it was purchased. I may have to return the plant, unless I find out that this is normal.

Positive Kauai17 On Apr 19, 2005, Kauai17 from Leander, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is a survivor!! I planted in the front flower bed and it came back on its own after winter was over. The blooms are whimsical and fun.

Positive tiller On Feb 8, 2005, tiller from Encinitas, CA wrote:

I am impressed with this plant's ability to adapt and survive. Last year, I planted three in sandy, poor draining soil and they did great. I chose them for their low water needs. Then we received record breaking rains here In Southern California this winter and they were practically drowning. But they all survived and have new burgundy foliage growing on them. I'm so thankful! They are really beautiful to look at, especially on a windy day.

Positive saya On Aug 7, 2004, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

It starts blooming mid summer here. It can take a lot of sun and drought that's sure. The stalks get at least 120 cm and tends to be floppy after a while. It goes on blooming in the top. That 's why I cut it down to 1/3 before it starts blooming and when the stalks get to high. The plant gets and stays more bushy that way. Easy. It gives lots of volentary seedlings, so I'm never without and I'm happy about that.

Positive BUFFY690 On Jun 10, 2004, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Came back strong with pretty burgandy foilage in the spring it is about a foot taller than it was last year. I plant to take some cutting this fall and overwinter them in a green house and have more to put out in the spring I love the way this plant just waves in the breeze over my pond. I also had asked someone the other day about seed collecting and she said that you have to be quick and watch the flower spikes for a little brown seeds to appear and catch it before it falls off. I am not sure how much time it actually takes to find these seeds because I was looking at some of the stems and saw nothing. I will look again from time to time for the chance of maybe starting one of these from seed. Also my plant in the picture has the small half of a tomato cage around the bottom to give it the vase look and keep the plant in an upward direction. It is just a little step to keep it more kept looking. I have seen a couple that their owners let them just spill where they will and though they are pretty I like to keep a little control with mine.

Coming back out strong in 2005

Positive lupinelover On Jan 5, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Whirling Butterflies' roots easily from cuttings; plants tend to bloom themselves to death every year, so new cuttings should be provided every year if no volunteers grow.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Concord, California
Martinez, California
Mountain View, California
Santa Ana, California
Denver, Colorado
Littleton, Colorado
Deland, Florida
Miami, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Palm Harbor, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Smyrna, Georgia
Thomaston, Georgia
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Deal Island, Maryland
Edgewater, Maryland
Beverly, Massachusetts
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Florence, Mississippi
Jackson, Missouri
Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Southold, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Lexington, North Carolina
West End, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio
Mill City, Oregon
Springfield, Oregon
Easton, Pennsylvania
Anderson, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Katy, Texas
Roanoke, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Wichita Falls, Texas
Kaysville, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Kalama, Washington

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