Plants are slowly springing back into life in My Florida Backyard, and we recently noticed the airy blooms of white gaura hovering above the butterfly garden. White Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) actually comes in several colors - we had a great hot pink cultivar last year that we're hoping will come back this year - and is native to Texas and Louisiana, but does well throughout the Southeast.
Gaura, sometimes called beeblossom, is a genus of plants native to North America. Florida has its own native gaura, Gaura angustifolia, commonly known as Southern Beeblossom. It's fairly common in the wild, though somewhat easy to overlook. It spreads by underground rhizome, so you'll often find a pretty large patch of these growing together in dappled shade in the woodlands. The plant is similar to White Gaura, but the flowers are smaller and even less showier. The various Gaura species also hybridize easily, so even experts have difficulty telling them apart from time to time.
Gaura lindheimeri is readily available at nurseries throughout Florida at certain times of the year, in shades ranging from white through brilliant pink. Some have been bred to be shorter and more compact - in its natural state, it's tall and somewhat sparse. Choose the cultivar that works best for you and add some to your yard to draw pollinators and butterflies.