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How to Grow Gaillardia — Blanket Flower

Gaillardia blanket flower
Blanket flower, Gaillardia aristata

Gaillardias are short-lived perennials and annuals grown for their long-lasting brightly colored daisylike flowers that appear from summer into early fall. Gaillardias bear single and double flowers in shades of red, red-orange, maroon and yellow.

There are about 30 species of Gaillardias. They are native to central and western North America. Most Gaillardias grown in gardens are hybrids developed to bear large blooms, 3 to 5 inches (7.6-12cm) wide.

Gaillardias are members of the aster family. They bear rosettes of hairy leaves topped by the single or double daisylike flowers. Perennial Gaillardias commonly live for three to five years.

Gaillardias are easy to grow from seed. They are a colorful choice for borders and cutting. They often reseed.

Blanket flower, Gaillardia x grandiflora
Blanket flower, Gaillardia x grandiflora

Get to Know Gaillardia

  • Plant type: Annuals and perennials
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 2 to 10
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -35°F (-37°C); thrives in hot, warm, or cold climates
  • Height and width: 10 to 36 inches (25-91cm) tall; 10 to 24 inches (25-61cm) wide, depending on the variety
  • Foliage: Toothed or lobed slightly hairy leaves from basal rosettes
  • Flowers: Daisylike, disk florets flowers
  • Flower colors: Red, orange, yellow, and bicolors; double and semi-double blooms
  • Bloom time: Summer through frost
  • Uses: Beds, borders, wildflower gardens, and containers; seaside gardens (salt-tolerant), hillsides, raised beds, parking areas, sunny walkways, patios, and bare and dry spots (drought-tolerant)
  • Common name: Blanket Flower, gailardia
  • Botanical name: Gaillardia spp.
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Origin: North America

Where to Plant Gaillardia

  • Plant Gaillardia in full sun—tolerates heat and drought.
  • Gaillardia grows best in average well-drained soil; poor, dry, and sandy soil is not a problem. Blanket flower prefers drier soil.
  • Soil too rich will cause plants to be floppy.
  • Gaillardia is drought and salt tolerant.
  • Gaillardia prefers a soil pH of 6.1 to 6.5.

Gaillardia Uses and Companions

  • Mass Gaillardia for a colorful effect.
  • Use Gaillardia in cottage and informal gardens.
  • Gaillardia can be included in wildflower plantings.
  • Gaillardia is best matched with other hot color flowers.
  • Good garden companions for Gaillardia are Achillea, Coreopsis, Hemerocallis, Linum, Solidago, ornamental grasses.

When to Plant Gaillardia

  • Plant Gaillardia in spring; perennial varieties can be planted in fall.
  • Sow seeds of annual Gaillardias indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring.
  • Sow seed outdoors after the last frost. Gaillardia is easy to grow from seed.
  • Set container-grown Gaillardia in the garden in spring and autumn.
Blanket flower,  Gaillardia aristata
Blanket flower, Gaillardia aristata

Planting and Spacing Gaillardia

  • Sow seed indoors 1/8 inch deep in sterile seed starting mix or potting soil. Light aids germination, so gently press the seeds into the soil surface.
  • Sow seed outdoors in evenly prepared soil.
  • Space Gaillardia 1 to 2 feet (30-61cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Gaillardia

  • Water Gaillardia until the soil is deeply moist, then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Allow the soil to dry between watering.
  • Established plants can tolerate dry soil.
  • Fertilize Gaillardia lightly if at all. Use an all-purpose fertilizer.
Blanket flower, Gaillardia pulchella
Blanket flower, Gaillardia pulchella

GaillardiaCare

  • Trim Gaillardia spent blooms to keep the plant blooming.
  • Taller plants may need staking.
  • Gaillardia easily re-seeds itself so remove plants you don’t want.

Gaillardia Pests and Diseases

  • Gaillardia is prone to powdery mildew and leafhoppers.
  • Gaillardia is susceptible to crown rot in wet conditions.
  • Downy mildew may attack the undersides of leaves causing them to turn yellow.

Gaillardia Propagation

  • Propagate Gaillardia by seed (see above), division, or stem cuttings taken in early summer.
  • Seeds germinate in 14 to 21 days at 55°-64°F (13°-18°C).
  • Propagate by rooting cuttings taken in winter. Grow cuttings on in a cold frame before planting them into the open garden in spring.
  • Divide perennial Gaillardia every 2 to 3 years in early spring.
Blanket flower, Gaillardia pulchella
Blanket flower, Gaillardia pulchella

Gaillardia Varieties to Grow

  • G. aristata, blanket flower: Perennial wildflowers can grow to 30 inches (76cm) tall and spread to 24 inches wide; 4-inch-wide flowers with red-orange centers and yellow petals with lobes at the tips; blooms summer to fall.
  • G. x grandiflora, blanket flower: Short-loved perennial to grow in Zones 2-10; grows 24 to 36 inches (60-91cm) tall; 3 to 5 inch wide flowers in a combination of reds, Maroon,s oranges, and y3llo2w from early summer to fall; dwarf cultivars grow 8 to 16 inches (20-40cm) tall.
  • G. pulchella, blanket flower: Annual grows to 18 inches (45cm) tall; bears red, yellow, or red and yellow daisylike flowers to 2 inches wide with purple-black centers from summer to fall; grows in Zones 2-11. ‘Red Plume’ is an All-America Selection with dwarf habit and extended bloom time; ‘Yellow Sun’ produces dense mounds of foliage and bright yellow flowers.

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