Oenothera, Appleblossom Grass, Gaura, Lindheimer's Beeblossom 'Whirling Butterflies'

Oenothera lindheimeri

Family: Onagraceae (on-uh-GRAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Oenothera (ee-no-THEE-ruh) (Info)
Species: lindheimeri (lind-HY-mer-ee) (Info)
Cultivar: Whirling Butterflies
Additional cultivar information:(Butterflies series)
Synonym:Gaura lindheimeri



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Attleboro, Massachusetts

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

Wakefield, Rhode Island

Anderson, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Katy, Texas

Roanoke, Texas

Rockwall, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Kaysville, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 6, 2018, GardenTexana from Rockwall, TX wrote:

Very easy to grow from seed. Happy in heavy black clay, does not require much water after it has established. Blooms from May to the first frost. Sometimes gets purple splotches on the foliage, but does not seem to hurt the plant and the foliage stays healthy looking otherwise. Short lived perennial here 3-4 years max, but very easy to replant from seed.


On Nov 7, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is one of the longest-blooming species I know. Blooms continuously from late spring till frost without deadheading. Flowers are self-cleaning. Makes a good cut flower.

Best in lean sandy soils. May be short-lived. Requires good drainage in winter.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the true cultivar is sterile. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFind...

The usual way to propagate Gaura cultivars is by stem cuttings. It's often the case that less scrupulous growers may propagate similar plants by seed instead of propagating cultivars vegetatively, as with Rudbeckia 'Gol... read more


On Jan 23, 2014, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS (Zone 6b) 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?


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 n... read more


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.


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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... read more


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.