The magnificent candle Gaura is a filigree, deciduous perennial that belongs to the evening primrose family. The plant, also known as prairie candle, is persistent and grows hoarse-forming, herbaceous and weakly branched. Depending on the variety, it reaches heights of 50 to 150 cm and a width of about 100 cm. The numerous 2-3 cm large, white, pink or purple flowers appear from June to the first frosts in October, depending on the species, in loose flower panicles 30-60 cm long.

Planting and neighbors

Depending on the variety, the splendid candle is suitable as a bedding and border perennial as well as a ground cover or balcony plant as well as a container plant. It is a very good companion plant for plants that have similar demands on soil and location, such as in combination with roses or various grasses such as feather grass or maiden grass. Low-growing species are also very suitable for underplanting, for example together with the blue-flowered lead root.

The splendor or prairie candle should be planted in spring if possible, after the last night frosts. The spring planting gives this plant the opportunity to form sufficient fine roots before the first frosts and to take root accordingly in the soil. If it has grown well, it usually thrives very luxuriantly.
For planting, the soil should first be well loosened. Heavy soils can be made more permeable with sand, among other things. If necessary, a drainage layer made of gravel can be incorporated to prevent waterlogging.

You dig a sufficiently large planting hole, usually twice as deep and wide as the root ball. If drainage is required, this is first placed in the planting hole. Then the plant is inserted as deep as it was in the pot and the planting hole is filled with soil. Finally press the soil on and water the whole thing. A planting distance of 30-40 cm between the plants is recommended.

Location and soil

  • The splendor candle prefers wind-protected and full sun locations.
  • At best a location on a south-facing wall of a house.
  • It tolerates both heat and drought very well.
  • Wind-protected locations are important.
  • Otherwise, the delicate stems of this plant could easily break in the wind.
  • This plant loves well drained, semi-dry to normally moist and moderately nutrient-rich soils.

Watering and fertilizing

The splendor candle is a perennial that can cope with drought very well. This perennial does not get waterlogged at all, especially not in winter. Water should only be poured during long periods of heat and only when the top soil layer has dried well, otherwise only very sparingly. Plants cultivated in pots may have to be watered a little more often in summer, because the substrate dries out much faster in the pail than with freely planted specimens. Any water in the saucer should always be removed immediately.

Magnificent candles planted in the ridge usually do not need to be fertilized. Plants cultivated in the tub can be supplied with a commercially available liquid fertilizer. If the growth is particularly sparse, it may be possible to fertilize moderately a maximum of once a month. From August to spring there is no more fertilization at all, then this plant is in a kind of dormant phase. Over-fertilization must be avoided at all costs.


The splendid candle Gaura is not a reliably hardy perennial, especially in particularly cold regions, which is why it is often only cultivated there as an annual plant. Thanks to its ability to sow itself, it also ensures its continued existence. Wintering is much less problematic in milder regions.

After pruning in autumn, they should be given appropriate winter protection. This can be a cover with spruce or fir branches, straw or leaves. Despite everything, winter protection is not a one hundred percent guarantee that the plant will sprout again in the next year; here, too, losses can always occur.

This can also be caused by wet weather, which is usually more dangerous for the plant than cold. In most cases, winter wetness results in the complete loss of the plant for the magnificent candle. It is a problem especially in heavier soils with an increased water and nutrient content. To prevent this, it makes sense to make the soil more permeable, for example with sand and, if necessary, to incorporate drainage when planting. Incidentally, this plant should not only be protected from too much moisture in winter, but also from winter sun, which can also cause great damage to the splendid candle.

Plants grown in tubs or pots can remain outside until the first light frosts. Before wintering, the above-ground parts of the plant are cut back to just above the ground and then placed in frost-free winter quarters. This should be dark and cool, at temperatures up to a maximum of 5 degrees, because the splendid candle belongs to the cold house plants.

If the winter quarters are too light and too warm, so-called horny shoots can develop. These are fast-growing, powerless shoots. These should then be cut off in spring. The root ball or the substrate in the bucket should be kept almost dry during the winter. There should only be enough water to ensure that the soil does not dry out completely.

From February onwards, the plant can be put back in a lighter and warm place. She can go outside as soon as night frosts are no longer expected, i.e. from mid-May. In the beginning, it makes sense to place them a little more shady to protect them from being burned by the sun. After this short hardening phase, it can then be moved to a sunny but protected location.

To cut

  • A pruning of the splendid candle is recommended.
  • The best time to do this is after flowering, from autumn to late autumn.
  • You cut them about 5-10 cm above the ground.
  • Cutting back before the first frosts encourages the formation of so-called hibernation buds.
  • From these wintering buds it sprouts again in the following spring.


By sowing
Under optimal site conditions, the prairie candle sows itself very well. Otherwise, you can either sow them directly on the spot in the garden from April or prefer them in a so-called cold box in autumn. A cold box is nothing more than an unheated cold frame. These are available in both wood and aluminum. But you can also make it yourself relatively easily in the form of a simple board shed. It is best to put it in the ground in a sunny, sheltered place.

To do this, dig an approximately 60 cm deep and correspondingly wide hole. The cold frame is then placed in there. If possible, horse manure is placed in the box as the bottom layer, which develops warmth in connection with the straw that the horse manure contains. A thin layer of compost is then placed on top, and finally about 20 cm thick soil. The seeds are then spread on top, covered thinly with earth and moistened. The whole thing is then covered with glass.

The box should be kept closed for the first few days and well ventilated later during the day. At night you cover the whole thing with straw and boards. From mid-May after the ice saints, the young plants can then be planted outside.

Using cuttings
It is also possible to propagate using cuttings. To do this, cuttings about 8-10 cm long are cut from the mother plant and placed in an appropriate substrate in the cold frame in early spring. Initially, the cold frame should be kept closed. Later, when the cuttings begin to sprout, they must be aired more often during the day. From mid-May, the cuttings are then planted in their final location, where they usually grow relatively quickly and the first flowers begin to appear.

Diseases and pests

The splendor candle is usually spared from diseases and pests. The only thing that could be her undoing are snails. These can eat the plants almost bare in a relatively short time, which then ultimately causes them to die. If you notice a snail infestation, you can read the animals by hand or use commercially available slug pellets to combat it, which is usually much more pleasant. For the sake of the environment and other gardeners, you should use organic slug pellets as much as possible.


The special thing about the splendor candle is that the individual flowers are relatively short-lived, because they already fade after one day. Nevertheless, the magnificent candle blooms tirelessly from June to October, because the flower buds do not all open at the same time, but one after the other.

Nice varieties

  • Magnificent candle Gaura lindheimeri ‘Summer Breeze’ – Gaura lindheimeri ‘Summer Breeze’ is a wild type of magnificent candle, which is characterized by a tireless flowering time, robustness and improved winter hardiness. From July to October it produces an abundance of pale pink buds that develop into brilliant white flowers. The plant reaches heights of growth between 80 and 120 cm and is hardy to -17.7 degrees.
  • Magnificent candle Gaura lindheimeri ‘Gambit Rose’ – This compact and bushy growing variety captivates with bright, crimson-red flowers from July to October. It reaches heights of growth between 50 and 60 cm. In contrast to the white flowering varieties, this one is not reliably hardy and should definitely be protected from both cold and winter wetness.
  • Magnificent candle Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’ – This very graceful variety has a bushy, upright habit and is between 60 and 80 cm high. The overhanging filigree stems of this magnificent candle are covered over and over with pink-red flowers from July to October. This variety is also only partially hardy and should therefore be protected by a cover made of straw, brushwood or leaves.
  • Magnificent candle Gaura lindheimeri ‘Danika’ – This magnificent candle looks similar to the ‘Summer Breeze’, but in contrast to it does not sow itself and can only be propagated using cuttings. It was specially bred to be better winter hardiness. The bright white flowers also shine from July to October and turn slightly pink just before they fade. It grows very airy and reaches a size of about 100 cm.

The splendid candle Gaura is an elegant, very filigree perennial which, under optimal conditions, produces a lush flow of flowers that is an asset to any garden. In order to be able to enjoy this splendor for several years, one should above all pay attention to a sunny location and protect the plant from waterlogging, severe frosts but also winter sun and overwinter potted plants as frost-free as possible. Otherwise, the splendor candle is a very easy to care for and magnificent plant.

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