Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Gaillardia, or Blanket Flower, is a group of about 30 species that include both annuals and perennials. With bright and colorful daisy-like flowers it is no wonder this native wildflower has earned a spot on the heart of gardeners everywhere. The most common species for garden use is Gaillardia grandiflora. It is this perennial, and some of its most unique cultivars that we will discuss here. Hardy, sun-loving and easy to keep it deserves a place in every garden.
Plant Highlight; Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) Botanical and Common Name: Gaillardia is often called blanket flower. Hardiness Zones: Gaillardia is hardy zones 3-10. Bloom Time & Color: Gaillardia flowers are usually 2-3" wide and appear in early to mid-summer and last for many weeks. The daisy-like flowers are usually multi-colored with yellows, reds and oranges common. See specific cultivar information for details. Plant Category: Gaillardia is an herbaceous perennial. Foliage: Blanket Flower foliage is typically green and is deciduous so don't expect winter color from this flower. The slightly hairy leaves are interesting from spring until winter frosts cause the plant to go dormant. Growth Habit: Expect a mounding or slightly sprawling growth habit perfectly suited for containers or middle of the border from Gaillardias. Dimensions: Gaillardias grow about 2-3' tall and 2' wide. Preferred Conditions: Easy to grow, Gaillardia is usually happy as long as it is growing in full sun. Well-drained soil is preferred and drought conditions are tolerated once the blanket flower plant is established. Maintenance: No pruning or fussing required for the blanket flowers. Sometimes staking may be required. Division is rarely needed. Pests or Diseases: No serious pests or diseases afflict Gaillardias. Propagation Methods: Some people save Gaillardia seeds, or propagate with division which is the best way to make sure you get the plant true to form. Some hybrid cultivars won't set true from seed. Companion Plants: Gaillardias mix well with any sun-loving plants. For a warm color border try mixing with Coreopsis, or Sunflowers. If you want a more varied color scheme try pairing with Echinacea, or blue toned flowers like hardy Plumbago. Contrast with fine flowers or foliage such as those produced by Gypsophila, Yarrow or ornamental grasses. Seasons of Interest: Gaillardia has bright green foliage that appears in the spring and is quickly buried by bright colorful flowers that appear around June and last for months. Gaillardia is dormant in the winter. Uses in the Garden: Use to brighten any sunny spot because Gaillardias are adaptive to almost any soil condition as long as it is well drained. Perfect for containers, blanket flowers are quite drought tolerant once they have a chance to become established. Gaillardias are also used for flower arrangements both as cut flowers, and dried with the outer petals removed. Varieties & Cultivars: Gaillardia artistata 'FanFare': A new Gaillardia cultivar this is one of the most unique flowers recently introduced. The 3" wide flowers have red tubular petals with flared open yellow tips that resemble tiny trumpets. A truly stunning plant to add to a container as a focal point or plant in a mass for dramatic effect. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Gaillardia grandiflora 'Arizona Sun': The "grandiflora" in the name stands for the huge flowers this Gaillardia makes. With blooms 3-4" wide it is no wonder this plant was a 2005 All-America Selections Winner. Red centers with bright yellow edges on uniform flowers make this blanket flower a sunny garden delight. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Gaillardia 'Oranges and Lemons': A full summer of blooms that extends well into fall, this Gaillardia cultivar produces orange tipped, yellow flowers in great numbers. In fact, there can be over 70+ blanket flowers on an established plant making this one of the most prolific Gaillardias available. 2' tall and compact bushy growth makes it a great addition to any border. For more info on purchasing this item click here. Gaillardia hybrida 'Summer Kiss': Another of the newer Gaillardias, Summer's Kiss is a gorgeous color blend of creamy orange, apricot and gold. A true eye-catcher that will blend in a mixed sun border well while still holding its own. Plant a few extra of these gorgeous blanket flowers to allow plenty for cut flower arrangements! For more info on purchasing this item click here. This 'Plant Highlight' was written exclusively for Sooner Plant Farm by Angela England .To read more from this talented writer about other highlighted plants and interesting gardening stories click here. All copyrights reserved by Sooner Plant Farm. No reproduction of this article in whole or in part is allowed without the permission of Sooner Plant Farm.