About Scarlet Gaura: This native wildflower has striking scarlet blossoms that last for just one day, opening at evening for pollination by nocturnal insects. The genus name Gaura comes from the Greek word for “superb,” while the Latin species name “coccinea” means “scarlet.” Noted English botanist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859) gathered the first specimen of Scarlet Gaura on one of his numerous exploratory expeditions through North America, and a fellow botanist named Frederick Traugott Pursh (1774-1820) described the species for science in 1814.
Scarlet Gaura Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting just below the surface. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days; sow seeds in a flat or individual peat pots, keeping the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination, which usually occurs within 2-4 weeks. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors to 12-15" apart. This plant adapts well to areas with rocky or sandy soil.
Growing Scarlet Gaura Seeds: Water seedlings occasionally and mature plants in prolonged drought, since this plant tolerates drought well. Keep weeds down, since too much competition can reduce the plant’s growth. When this plant is grown from seed, full bloom will not occur until its second year of growth. Deadheading is not necessary, though it may prolong the time of blooming. This plant will spread easily by rhizomes and self-seeding, and will eventually form a large colony. Do not divide the plants, since they have long taproots that must not be disturbed. This plant attracts butterflies.
Harvesting Scarlet Gaura: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Scarlet Gaura Seeds: After the flowers fade, small oblong seed pods will form along the flower stalk. They will ripen at different times, turning from green to brown and easily dropping from the stem. Check the plants often to avoid loss. Shake or strip the ripe seeds from the stalk as they ripen, coming back every few days until all the seeds have ripened. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Scarlet Gaura Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Scarlet Beeblossom Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 12-24 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 3a- 9b Seeds Per Oz: 1,500 Produces narrow, blade-shaped leaves and spikes of four-petaled flowers that mature from light pink to scarlet.