Drought tolerant and delightfully colorful, Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia) are short-lived perennials renowned for their profuse, long-lasting, colorful mounds of bright, single or double daisy-like flowers atop an attractive gray-green foliage from early summer to fall. Named after the native Indian blankets, whose color pattern they resemble, their 2-3 inch wide flowers (5-7 cm) are a real magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies!
- Most of the Blanket Flowers admired in our gardens are hybrids, Gaillardia x grandiflora, resulting from a cross between Gaillardia pulchella (annual) and Gaillardia aristata (perennial) and combining the richly colored flowers of the first one with the perennial nature of the second one.
- Blanket Flowers are available in warm, festive shades, including yellow, wine red , orange or peach, and may be banded in combinations of red or orange with yellow. They may be single, double or semi-double and their petals may be frilled or with an interesting tubular shape. They are held above a clump of hairy, narrow, gray-green leaves.
- Gaillardia may grow in a compact mound up to 36 inches tall (90 cm), but most cultivars generally reach 12-18 inches (30-45 cm).
- Gaillardia thrive in full sun, in average, medium, well-drained soil, in rocky or sandy places. Although dry soil tolerant, they prefer moist soil but good drainage is essential! Established plants are quite drought tolerant. They are rarely eaten by deer.
- Blanket Flowers are easy care plants with few insect or disease problems and most are hardy in zones 3-9.
- A wonderful addition to the garden, this enthusiastic bloomer is well suited to perennial borders, containers, cottage gardens, butterfly gardens or cutting gardens as the tall varieties make excellent cut flowers.
- Easy to grow from seed in the garden after the last frost or indoors 4-6 weeks earlier.
- Remove faded flowers to encourage further blooms.
- Blanket flowers are often relatively short-lived. Cutting back clumps to 6 in. in late summer (15 cm) often increases their chances of winter survival. You can also keep your plants vigorous by dividing them every 2-3 years in spring or early fall.