Gaillardia, also commonly called blanket flowers, are small, colorful flower plants. This is a semi-perennial plant that lives for a short period. (two to three years).
However, it has a long blooming time in its lifespan. Blanket flowers are considered adaptive flowers that can easily grow in so-called tough conditions.
Every plant belongs to a different genus thrives in different conditions. The conditions like dry or hot climate which might be a problem for some plants, sometimes the primary requirement of other plants.
Gaillardia also belongs to the tough condition category. Where most of the flowering is annual and blooms for a short period in good condition. This plant prefers dry and hot conditions.
This flower spread its beauty without much care and support.
In this article, we’ll see how to grow gaillardia, what is the ideal condition to grow, and care for it. And other similar questions that will help to know more about this flower.
Let’s get started:
|Common Name||Gaillardia, blanket flower|
|Scientific Name||Gaillardia x Grandilflora|
|Plant type||Herbaceous perennial flower|
|Mature Size||12-18 inches tall; spread 12 to 24 inches|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Dry, well-drained soil|
|Soil pH||6.1 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer, fall|
|Flower Color||Red, yellow, peach, or orange|
|Hardiness Zones||3 to 10 USDA depends on varieties|
|Native Area||North America|
Gaillardia (Blanket flower)
Before knowing how to grow and care for this flower. First, let’s know Why to grow it and where does it come from.
The blanket flower is a wildflower, belongs to the Gaillardia genus. They have around two dozen of species, mostly native to Northern parts of America. This is one of the most promising wildflowers that does need much care.
It produces medium-sized flowers with orange through yellow shade petals with a red-yellow button in the center. The plant has dark green leaves and tall flower stalks which grow 12 to 18 inches long after getting matures and spread about 12 to 24 inches.
This flower can thrive in pots, containers, and also as a border plant around the garden.
How to Grow Gaillardia from seeds
Gaillardia is a wildflower that grows naturally from seeds when spread to different locations through air pollinators. It can be grown from seeds as well as from division.
However, many gardens prefer to grow them from division. It can also grow from seeds but it takes lots of time, will not bloom in its first year of planting.
Also, growing through seeds of an existing plant sometimes does not result in a similar plant. This is because nowadays there are many cultivars developed to resist pests and problems by cross-breeding different species.
These cultivar seeds are not capable to produce more plants. These seeds might grow but most do not grow similar to their parent plant.
So, if you’re thinking to grow gaillardia from seeds, it’s better to buy its seeds online or from nursey.
Otherwise, propagation of plants from the division is the most popular and convenient method out there. You can simply buy a small blanket flower from a nursery and plant it in your pot or garden for further growth.
Also, if you already have a blanket flower you can divide it to grow two or three new plants in different locations. Otherwise, this plant needs division every two to three years.
How to divide blanket flowers.
- Take a sholve, dig up gaillardia plants from the soil.
- Clear dirt from the root balls using fingers and water.
- Cut off black or damage parts from the root balls (if found) with the help of sharp gardening shear.
- Now, divide the plant into two to three sections depending on its size. Seperates the stem along with its root balls.
- Planting these sections of the plant in different places to grow new plants.
- You can grow in pots or directly in the garden beds.
- Just cover its roots with soil and make it stand and water thoroughly.
- The plant will get established within a month, you will to know it got established when it begins producing new leaves.
Remember, for the division your plant should be mature or at least one year old.
When to plant
Blacket flowers should be planted during early spring or just after frost gets over. This will give plants enough time to get settled and produce flowers in the blooming season. However, if you are growing from seeds it will not bloom in the first planting.
How to care for blanket flower
Blank flowers are tough flowers that can thrive in tough conditions. They do not need much care after they get established. Below are favorable conditions to grow Gaillardia.
Blanket flowers prefer to grow in full sunlight. They love direct sunlight, even in hot summers.
The plant can also tolerate partial shade conditions but grow dull or wilt when the plant is in the shade for too long. However, if you live where the climate is too hot giving shade to the plant is appreciated.
Ideally, you should plant them where they receive early morning sunlight and mid-afternoon shade. The plant needs at least eight hours of sunlight.
This flower does not demand rice, fertile soil for good blooming. They are happy in loose, well-drained soil. They grow in slightly moist conditions, planting in the clay soil will probably kill them. Also, this plant prefers slightly acidic soil to produce more flowers. You can check your soil pH level by using a soil pH tester.
In begin, gaillardia needs frequent water to keep its roots moist. You have to water it regularly until it gets settled. Once get established, blanket flowers become drought tolerant and will survive for weeks without water unless there is extremely hot condition.
However, water it once or twice per week for a good yield, but avoid overwatering. Too soggy soil will cause root rot which will stunt the growth of the plant and might kill it. Water only to make dry soil look moist.
Temperature and Humidity
Blanket flowers do best in hot, dry climates or cool, moist ones. They do not need humid conditions and love to grow in hot and dry conditions but struggle in cold. In the cooler climate, protect your overwintering blanket flowers by providing them with a thick layer of mulch.
Many gardeners notice that fertilizing gaillardia does not improve its growth. It produces more flowers in poor soil rather than in fertile soil. So, it’s best to add very little fertilizer or simply avoid it.
Pruning does not encourage much flower growth in Gaillardia. Pruning will help to make your plant look neat and clean. You can snip off its dry leaves and flowers occasionally for a good appearance.
You can deadhead blanket plants for blooming but this is not important as it keeps producing flowers without pruning.
Also, cutting them back in the growing season or during summer might cut their growing buds and result in fewer flowers. If you want to prune or deadhead the plant do it during early spring.
Common pests and diseases
Blanket flowers or Gaillardia usually do not encounter any plant pests or diseases. But, they are susceptible to aster yellows, a virus-like disease that stunt the growth of the plant and make plants’ flower green. If the plant gets infected by aster yellow it’s better to destroy it, otherwise, it will keep spreading continuously.
Aster Yellows are mostly caused due to leaf-hopper and aphids. You can prevent these pests by introducing pest predators in your garden. You can buy some beneficial insects and spread them in the garden or spray insecticidal soap to ward off these pests.
How to harvest a blacket flower seeds
To harvest blanket flower seeds you have to follow the following steps.
- Cut off the flower stalk from the plant.
- Place the cutting into a box or cardbord in the direct sunlight. This will prevent seeds from fly through wind.
- Leave the cutting for three to four days till its petals falls and seeds become dry.
- Shake the dry cutting to free seeds from the flower under a box or carbord.
- Collect these seeds and store in a sealed jar without moisture.
How long does a blanket flower live?
A blanket flower is a short-lived perennial that lasts an average of two years. However, dividing it every year will relatively increase its lifespan.
Popular blanket flowers varieties
G. ‘Mesa Yellow’
This variety was the 2010 All-American Selections winner, known for its striking yellow color flowers.
This hardy variety features large dark green leaves with maroon veins.
Its variety produces trumpet-shaped flowers that have red through yellow shade petals with the rosy center disk.
Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’
A 2005 All-American Selection winner, this is a 4 to 5 inches long flower plant featuring red-centered flowers surrounded with yellow petals.
These flowers feature a yellow center disk which becomes burgundy with time surrounded by wine-red petals.
Companion plants for blanket flowers
Blanket flowers are long bloomers that can be grown as a border plant. This daisy-like flower makes a great companion with soft texture flowers like Cosmo and thread-leaf Coreopsis as well as airy ornamental grasses.
For a more contrast look, you can plant them with Crocosmia or daylilies and Kniphofia. This ‘burgundy’ flower looks best with blue flowers like Veronica and Salvia. You can also use blanket flowers as decoration in the house, but its flower cuttings in a vase.
Blanket flowers are slightly toxic to humans. This does not cause any severe diseases or effects but may cause skin irritation.