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Are Gaura Frost Hardy Plants? What You Need To Know

Are Gaura Frost Hardy Plants? What You Need To Know

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Gaura plants, also known as bee blossoms, are stunning perennials that are easy to care for and maintain, even if you’re a beginner at gardening. Although they look delicate, they are tough plants that can handle drought conditions. But, are gaura frost hardy plants? 

Gaura are frost-hardy plants because they can survive in U.S. Hardiness Zones 5 to 10. Gaura can handle temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C), so they can tolerate some frost.

In this article, I’ll explore what you need to know about gaura and if it’s a frost-hardy plant. I’ll also feature some important tips on how to protect and prepare your gaura for the winter

Can Gaura Survive Frost?

Gaura can survive frost because frost forms when temperatures are 32°F (0°C) or lower, and it can tolerate temperatures that are as low as 14°F (-10°C). A hard frost occurs when temperatures reach 28°F (-2°C), so gaura can also tolerate it. 

In warmer regions, gaura won’t experience a lot of frost during the winter. This is why in warmer climates, you don’t have to worry too much about protecting it from the cold winters.

In mild climates, the leaves of the gaura plants remain evergreen. In harsher climates, the leaves will die back to the ground during the winter season, and when the plant grows back, it will do so slowly during spring (source). 

However, some gaura varieties are more tolerant to frost and cold temperatures than others. An example of a particularly hardy variety is the Summer Breeze variety. 

How To Prepare Gaura for Winter 

If you live in a warm or moderate climate, you should leave the gaura plants as they will tolerate the winter. The dead stems on the plant shouldn’t be removed as these will give the plant some protection against the icy temperatures. 

You can, however, apply a layer of mulch to the roots of the plant, as this will provide warmth to the soil. Add organic material to the mulch, such as compost, which will provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

If you live in a colder climate, which is any region that is lower than the USDA Hardiness Zone 8, you should also apply mulch to the plants.

In Zones 5 and 6, mulch will help your gaura plants that struggle to return in the spring. Zone 5 refers to areas where the low average winter temperature is between -20 and -10 °F (-28.8 to -23.3°C), whereas Zone 6 refers to where the low average winter temperature is between -10 and 0 °F  (-23.3 to -17.7°C). 

You should cut the gaura back by half its size during its second year of growth. This is a good way to encourage it to grow healthier. 

This is also beneficial if your plant has experienced frost damage, but you should only cut it back late in the spring so that there’s no potential risk of frost causing further damage.

Cutting it too early in the spring may cause it to delay its blooming cycle. After the plant has displayed its pretty white or pink flowers, you should cut the spent flowers so that you encourage the plant to bloom for longer periods.

If you do this, you’ll see that the gaura plant will grow rapidly and return to normal in the growing season. Cutting guara back also has the benefit of preventing the plant from becoming leggy. 

Some gaura plants can become too tall and spindly, and cutting them back will encourage their growth so that they fill out better. 

Other Tips for Looking After Gaura in Winter 

To ensure that your gaura fares well during the cold season, you should follow these tips. 

  • Don’t water your gaura too much. This plant has a taproot that is susceptible to soggy conditions as it can easily rot. Ensure you avoid watering your plant too much, as this can cause root rot, which is usually fatal for plants. Only water gaura when the weather is very hot and dry.
  • Keep them in containers if you live in wet, cold climates. You should plant your gaura plants in containers if your winters are icy cold or very wet, as this will protect them. 
  • Ensure your gaura has well-draining soil. This will prevent its roots from becoming soggy and will encourage its healthy growth in the growing season. If your soil doesn’t drain easily, add compost or other organic materials to improve its drainage. 

What To Know About Frost Heaving and Gaura 

Frost heaving is when extreme temperature fluctuations cause soil surfaces to thaw and freeze multiple times, which makes the soil expand and contract. 

These movements can cause perennials to heave and rise out of the soil. Frost heaving is risky because it causes some roots to break off while exposing the rest of its roots to the icy temperatures (source).  

How To Prevent Frost Heaving 

You should apply soil to areas around the plant that are moving and heaving. This will help you to protect the roots of the gaura plant that are exposed to cold temperatures. 

Applying mulch containing pine needles can help to provide more stability to the soil. Make sure that a layer of mulch is a few inches (approximately 7.62cm) thick.

It’s good practice to apply mulch to your plants during the fall to insulate the soil and protect the plant’s roots (source). This also helps to maintain stable soil temperatures so that the temperature fluctuations won’t be so harsh for the plant’s roots.

You can prevent frost heave in the future by raking low areas of the soil during the fall. It’s also good to add compost to the soil, which will enhance how well the soil drains. 

Final Thoughts 

If you want to plant gaura in your garden, you’ll be glad to know that it’s a hardy plant that can tolerate drought as well as some frost, meaning you won’t have to worry about your gaura being damaged by the cold winters if you live in a milder climate.

But if you live in a region that experiences cold winters, you must protect it adequately before the cold arrives. 

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