Gaillardia, commonly known as Blanket Flower, is a genus of around 20 species of herbaceous perennials and annuals belonging to the Asteraceae family. Native to North and South America, Blanket Flowers are popular among gardeners for their brightly colored flowers that bloom for months.
Blanket Flowers grow to be around 12-36 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide. They have a bushy growth habit and produce multiple stems covered in narrow, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are typically medium green in color and can grow up to 4 inches long. The flowers are daisy-like, with vibrant petals radiating from a central disk. The petals are usually red, orange, or yellow, often with a distinctive pattern of stripes or spots. The central disk is typically brown or black and is covered in tiny tubular flowers that provide a rich nectar source for pollinators.
Blanket Flowers are easy to grow and can thrive in various growing conditions. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil but can also tolerate partial shade and poor soil. Blanket Flowers can be propagated from seed or by division. When starting from seed, it’s best to choose a sunny location with well-draining soil and sow them directly into the ground in the early spring. If you’re dividing an existing plant, wait until the fall or early spring when the plant is dormant and carefully dig up the plant and use a sharp knife to separate the root ball into smaller sections. Then, replant each section in a new location and water thoroughly.
These plants can be used in various garden settings. They work well in traditional cottage gardens, where their bright flowers can add a splash of color to mixed borders. They also look great in meadow gardens and wildflower gardens, where they can be combined with other native species to create a naturalistic landscape.
Blanket Flowers are also popular in container gardens, where their compact size and long blooming period make them an excellent choice for patio and balcony planters. They can be grown in pots or hanging baskets, and they will continue to bloom all summer long if deadheaded regularly.
There are several cultivars of Blanket Flowers available, each with unique characteristics. Some popular cultivars include:
- ‘Arizona Sun’: This cultivar has bright red and yellow flowers and a compact growth habit, making it ideal for container gardens.
- ‘Goblin’: This cultivar has red and gold flowers that are slightly smaller than other Blanket Flowers, but it makes up for it with its long blooming period.
- ‘Burgundy’: This cultivar has deep burgundy-red flowers with a distinctive dark center. It blooms from midsummer to fall.