Gaura Whirling Butterflies

I'm in Zone 7, Washington DC metro area, and nearly all my perennials have begun sprouting up or leafing out except the Whirling Butterflies I planted last year. Can anyone tell me when I should expect to see green on them? We had quite a bit of snow and ice this year and January was reeeally cold, so I'm hoping they're not dead! Any feedback would be most appredciated.
Thanks!
Rhonda Alexandria, VA Zone 7
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On 4/15/04 11:43 PM, in article kDIfc.13249298$ snipped-for-privacy@news.easynews.com,

I have had some for several years that came back at least 3 times now and others that died over the first winter. Seems hit or miss to me.
It is too early here to tell if mine made it.
Give it an other week or two to see if they are late to break dormancy.
Cheryl
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Cheryl Isaak
AHS Region 4, USDA Zone 4B/5A
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My first gaura didn't make it through the first winter; however, it did reseed in a spot evidently more to its liking so I now have four of them in the garden. Just keep your eyes open while weeding so you don't accidently pull up the babies. The seedlings have been coming back for three years.
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I also meant to ask those who grow Gaura if you stake them. When I first planted Gauras I had them in a container and they trailed very nicely over the sides, but now that I have them in the ground, when the flowering stems grow they basically flop over onto the ground. How do you all handle that?
Thanks! Rhonda
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opined:

I have at least 50 Gaura lindheimerii plants of all sorts on my property. They reseed like mad and are evergreen during the winter. Mine are in full bloom and covered in aphids, which are covered in lady beetles, which have layed tons and tons of eggs, which have hatches and I have tons of ladybeetle larvae on them! Run on sentence.
At least 3 times a year I go in and hack it down to half and fertilize it with some seaweed or fish emulsion and they are in full bloom again a few weeks after being pruned back. They are native plants and appreciate a bit of neglect, but thrive on a bit of water. If you over water them, they will not be happy and get very lanky and need staking.
Victoria
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"Natty_Dread"
I'm in Zone 7, Washington DC metro area, and nearly all my perennials have begun sprouting up or leafing out except the Whirling Butterflies I planted last year. Can anyone tell me when I should expect to see green on them?
We had quite a bit of snow and ice this year and January was reeeally cold, so I'm hoping they're not dead! Any feedback would be most appredciated.
I also meant to ask those who grow Gaura if you stake them. When I first planted Gauras I had them in a container and they trailed very nicely over the sides, but now that I have them in the ground, when the flowering stems grow they basically flop over onto the ground. How do you all handle that?
Thanks!
Rhonda
well, Gaura's are just now starting to break dormancy. I have two kinds. In black nursery pots. I noticed the return of the burgandy leafed variety, but the varigated ones don't seem to be showing yet. But the black nursery pots are warming quicker, like raised beds. Which I also have. But I'd say they'll appear if they made it thru winter. They like well drained, full sun exposure. As for the flowers flopping over onto the side, your soil might be too rich in the container. Mine has leeched the richness thru the rains and such. I also gave them a mulch of pea gravel to wick the moisture away from the crowns of the plants in that pot. If you have to stake them, buy a cheap round tomato cage (98c at any Wally world or Lowes, or Despot) and with wire cutters, cut the lowest circle away from the other two tiers. (these tomato cages are three high and average around 4-5 foot) That leaves the two circles with long stems to put into the ground to support something else.....<g>
Now you have a small circular support ring that is galvenized, and will support the flowering stems. If your plant is wider, use the next ring size, cutting it from the last ring. I use tomato circles all the time to stake and support perennials. Cheaper than buying those green coated overpriced supports. The only coated ones I buy are the grid supports that plants can grow thru. If I had a small welder, I'd make my own out of tomato circles and clothes hangers <g> I also purchase those bent coated lily rods that hold a stem better. But I usually get the largest ones because they're thicker metal. The small ones are pretty useless with my large floppers like the tall sedum I have and my trumpet lilies.
Hope this helps Rhonda.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler where the fairies need all the help they can get right now with their flower endeavors, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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They are naturally very fountaining & I don't believe there is any way to stake or restrain this habit; not much of the clump should really flop right down on the ground, as it fountains upward then down in direction of brightest sun. You have to give them enough room, away from a sidewalk, to let them lean far over without reaching in the way of a path. They actually look very nice this way, if you overcome any feeling that all flowers should stand upright like tulips, & if you put them in the right kind of spot where they won't be reaching onto a path. You can sheer them back a bit every time there is a "break" in their almost perpetual spring-through-autumn bloom &amp that may keep them a tad more compact (& they'll rebloom after sheerings) but nothing will make them upright in habit.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Gaura lindheimeri is hardy in zone 7 & not apt to be killed by winter temperatures. But if you planted it somewhere where it stayed too wet in autumn & winter with poor drainage, or if you watered it too much in general, or if you transplanted it after it was settled, it might have been too distressed to live through winter. If ground drains well, it was never overwatered, & you never distressed its taproot, then it's probably still fine. Gaura is among the last perennials to return in spring, but makes up for it by being one of the last to stop performing toward the end of the year. Mine blooms May through October, in dryer zones it blooms April through November, but as you're someplace colder & wetter I'd guess it to be a little less lengthy in its activity.
Now that it's mid-April, I'd think you should be able to see at least a few green bits starting down near the base of last year's stems, but if other perennials are only just now getting started in your garden, then the gaura could still be a week or two from showing signs of new growth, so I wouldn't assume the worst until May Day. If it turns out it is dead, you shouldn't be discouraged from trying it again, just make sure it is placed a little beyond the "regular watering" areas as it likes a bit of dryness, start with a gallon-sized plant rather than a tiny tender start, & never move it after it has put down good roots for itself.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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