Pink Fountain gaura

(Question)

I recently obtained Gaura Lindheimeri Walgaupf (Pink Fountain) and read online that the plant requires well drained, average soil.  I understand that if not planted in proper soil, it will not perform well.  I also read that it is susceptible to root rot if planted in heavy and/or poorly drained soils.

Could you kindly tell me specifically how to prepare the soil for this plant?  Is there a particular mix of substrate that I should use and how many parts of each should I use?

Also would you recommend that it is planted in full sun or partial sun?

Finally, does this plant require any special care in terms of overwintering the plant (i.e. covering with mulch, leaves, etc.)?

Please note that I am located in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.  I am hopeful that I will have this perennial plant for years to come.

(Answer)

Thank you for seeking advice from Toronto Master Gardeners.  We, too, hope that you are able to enjoy your new aquisition.

Pink Fountain gaura (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Walgaupf’) should be planted in sandy, loamy soil in full sun.  Good drainage is essential.  Root rot may occur in heavy and/or poorly drained soil.  The flowers become leggy and flop when grown in rich soils or partial shade.

Please find below a link to the Missouri Botanical Gardens for more specific growing information.

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=258987&isprofile=0&

This plant is native to many southern US states and can be planted to USDA Hardiness Zone 5.  Winter mulching is suggested for this plant in order for it to survive at Zone 5.

To put this into perspective for you, US Hardiness Zone 5 roughly converts to Canadian Hardiness Zone 6.  Our winters are more severe, especially of late, and you are located in a Canadian Zone 5 in Scarborough, Ontario.  If you wish to try and overwinter it, I would definitely suggest planting it in a sheltered location, creating a wind break around the plant in the autumn from stakes & burlap, and then fill the enclosed space with a mulch such as shredded leaves, completely covering the plant once it has gone dormant.

Mostly we see this plant used as an annual for both garden beds and for containers.  We wish you every good luck and success with this endeavour.