Inula Royleana
Midwest Gardening
Gaillardia Blanket Flower

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Gaillardia, or Blanket Flower, are perfect for naturalizing

The Gaillardia genus is a member of the sunflower family with 30 different annual and perennial species.  They have colorful daisy like flowers that grow wild.  The Gaillardia grandiflora species is the source of most common garden perennials.  Gaillardia are tough and hardy perennials that are very drought tolerant.  Blooming is prolific with a bloom period from early or midsummer into autumn.  The foliage forms a compact mound, sometimes slightly spreading.  They are very easy to grow and care for, thriving without fuss.  Gaillardia love full sun and well drained soil, and return reliably every spring.  It is perfectly happy in poor, but loose or sandy soil and will not tolerate clay.  Many will self seed prolifically, some even to the point of nuisance.  Seed from the hybrids generally do not come up true.  They are well suited to a wildflower or naturalized garden.

 

Gaillardia aristata x grandiflora ‘Oranges and Lemons’
Gaillardia aristata ‘Oranges & Lemons’ by Sheri Ann Richerson

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 18-24”
  • Spread:  15-20”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun is preferred, to part shade.
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June through October
  • Bloom Color: Golden orange with yellow petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  4” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Gray green lance shaped, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-10
Gaillardia 'Oranges and Lemons by Chiot's Run

‘Oranges and Lemons’ has unique peachy orange flowers with golden petal tips and golden center cone with a red-orange halo.  Initially the petals are a brighter marmalade orange, and they often intensify in color again late in the season when temperatures are cool.  The cone balloons into a round, chartreuse seed head after the blooms are spent.   It is covered with blooms all season long, producing as many as 50-75 blooms per plant at a time.  Cutting blooms for fresh arrangements or deadheading spent blooms will encourage faster repeat blooming, but it will continue to bloom without deadheading.  The foliage is compact without sprawling, forming a loose rounded mound.  If grown in too much shade the plant will become lanky and flop over.  Feeding is important to maintain the foliage and good blooming, enriching your soil or top dressing with organic compost is preferred over chemical fertilizers.  Allow the soil to dry before watering, but if you allow it to get too dry, the foliage may burn.  Once it is established it is quite drought tolerant.  Plants that become overgrown may be pruned back, take care not to shear back too much.  Do not cut back severely into the woody lower stems.    ‘Oranges and Lemons’ is a sterile cultivar, a plus if you are looking for a well behaved plant.    ‘Oranges and Lemons ’is a hybrid cross between Gaillardia ‘Dazzler’ and an unknown male.  It is stunning when planted with blue or purple flowering plants.  Great mid-height plant for a perennial border or as a centerpiece to a container garden.

 

Gaillardia aristata x grandiflora ‘Arizona Sun’
Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' by Mark F Levisay

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 8-10”
  • Spread:  10-12”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun is preferred, to part shade.
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Compact, mounded
  • Bloom Time: Mid to late May through October
  • Bloom Color: Fire red blooms with flame yellow petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  3-4” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Gray green lance shaped, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-9

‘Arizona Sun’ is an early bloomer, up to a month sooner than most blanket flowers.  Blooms are large with variation of dark and light reds with bright yellow petal tips. The bright and sunny blooms just keep coming all season.    Deadheading spent blooms will encourage quick reblooming and prevent self seeding.  Like most Gaillardia, it self seeds freely.  ‘Arizona Sun’ will bloom in the first year when planted from seed. The plant is small and compact, perfect for front of the border or in hot sunny rock gardens.  Do provide supplemental water in long periods of heat and drought.  The continuous color is also great for container gardens.  This is a tough and vigorous perennial that will thrive in poor dry soil as long as it is well loosened and well drained.  And it is salt tolerant, so it can be planted in street gardens that are plagued with road salt, or for seaside plantings.  Very adaptable and easy to grow.

 

Gaillardia aristata x grandiflora ‘Bremen’
Gaillardia 'Bremen' by Jan Klaas

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 24-36”
  • Spread:  15-18”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June through September
  • Bloom Color: Scarlet with yellow petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  4” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Medium green lance shaped, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10

‘Bremen’s’ dark scarlet blooms with yellow tipped petals cover the plant from June through September.  These bright colorful blooms are a definite show stopper, adding a bright spot to planting sites that are difficult to grow much.  Long stems are strong and sturdy, excellent for cut flowers.  Like most blanket flowers, ‘Bremen’ will self seed readily.  Deadheading will help prevent self seeding.  ‘Bremen’ grows easily from seed, and may be difficult to find in plant form.  Seeded plants may not bloom until the second season.  This is a very tough and hardy selection, tolerant of heat and drought.  It is nice and tall for the back of the perennial border.  Hardiness of tall varieties can be improved in difficult conditions by cutting the stems down below the lowest flower buds in mid to late autumn.

 

Gaillardia aristata x grandiflora ‘Burgundy’ also ‘Burgunder’Gaillardia 'Burgundy' by Old Itch

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 23-29”
  • Spread:  12-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to mostly sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Poor, well drained, loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June through October
  • Bloom Color: Wine red with a yellow petal tips and a yellow cone with a red halo
  • Bloom Form:  3” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  8-10” gray green, lance shaped, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Feeding is not required.
  • Maintenance: Very little to no care requiredgaillardia 'burgundy' seedhead by Eleanor Martin.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-9

‘Burgundy’ has large rich blooms of burgundy red and a center yellow cone with a red halo.  As the blooms mature, the petals soften in color and the cone changes to oxblood red.  Blooming is non stop all summer beginning in June, deadheading spent flower stalks will encourage fast rebloom and help prevent self seeding.  Like most blanket flowers, ‘Burgundy’ reseeds freely, but the attractive seed heads will attract birds in fall and winter if a few are left on the plant.  This is a very reliable perennial for blooming and winter survival if grown in loose, well drained soil.  It loves sun and poor sandy soil, and tolerates heat and drought very well once established.  Some shade in hot regions will help prolong petal color, but in too much shade the plant will become lanky and stems will not be strong enough to hold up the blooms.  The long stems are excellent for cut flowers, but they may need support in the garden to prevent heavy rains from knocking them down.  In long periods of heat and drought, supplemental water is beneficial.  Enriching the soil or applying fertilizers may promote fast, weak growth, which will not aide the plant in any way.

 

Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Fanfare’
Gaillardia 'Fanfare' by Dan Lamee

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 12-16”
  • Spread:  15-18”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June through October
  • Bloom Color: Red orange with yellow petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  2-3” daisy like blooms with tubular petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Medium green lance shaped to oblong, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 4-10

“Fanfare’ has colorful and truly unique blooms.  Each orange petal is tubular with deeply notched and flared yellow tips like long trumpets with scarlet throats.  The petals extend in a flat array around a deep burgundy center.  It is an astonishing combination.  Blooms first begin to appear in late spring and continue relentlessly into late fall, and in temperate climates it blooms nearly year round.  Every stem produces multiple buds.  Cutting for fresh arrangements and deadheading spent blooms will accelerate the reblooming.  Foliage forms a nice midsize mound, with the blooms extended on long stems which are excellent for cutting.  Non-stop blooming right through heat and drought.  ‘Fanfare’ is conservatively rated to Zone 5 by many growers, but good success has been reported in zones 3 and even 2.  Self seeds freely, but not aggressive when deadheaded.  ‘Fanfare’ is a hybrid cross between Gaillardia aristata sp. and Gaillardia pulchella Firewheel.  This reliable perennial will not disappoint, compact fresh foliage that blooms and blooms!

 

Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Goblin’ or ‘Kobold’Gaillardia 'Goblin' by Sarah's Yard

  • Common Name:  Blanket Flower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceou s perennial
  • Height: 12-14”
  • Spread:  12-14”
  • Sun/Shade Requireme nts:  Full sun to mostly sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, normal to sandy, well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Mounded, slow spreading
  • Bloom Time: June until frost
  • Bloom Color: Scarlet with yellow serrated petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  3-4” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Gray green, small lance shaped, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Feeding is not required.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10
Gaillardia_aristata_kobold by Gustaf Eriksson

‘Goblin’s’ ruffly looking blooms are bold and bright.  The scarlet red petals are tipped with sunny yellow, the tips have irregular edges giving them a ruffled appearance.  The center is yellow-orange with a deep red halo.  Blooming begins by about the first of June, and the flowers just keep Gaillardia 'Goblin' seedhead by Sarah's Yardopening right up to a hard frost.  Deadheading will encourage even faster reblooming.  Deadheading will also minimize self seeding, ‘Goblin’ self seeds freely.  The red-brown seed heads are attractive if you decide to leave some for the birds and for seeding.  Compact mounded foliage always looks fresh.  ‘Goblin’ is very heat and drought tolerant.  Don’t amend the soil with compost or feed the plants, they prefer poor soil that is well drained as long as they get water once in a while.  When grown in enriched soil and/or too much shade, ‘Goblin’ will sprawl and become lanky, and the stems will loose strength and flop over with their blooms.  This tough little perennial is carefree and foolproof when grown in very well drained soil with plenty of sun, and is easy to grow from seed  Salt tolerant too! so this is an excellent choice for street plantings that get sprayed with road salt all winter.

 

Gaillardia pulchella ‘Sundance Bicolor’
Gaillardia Pulchella 'Sundance Bicolor' by beautifulcataya

  • Common Name:  Firewheel
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 10-14”
  • Spread:  15-16”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Mounded, spreading
  • Bloom Time: June through October
  • Bloom Color: Mahogany red with yellow toothed tips
  • Bloom Form:  2” double globe shaped blooms with tubular petals that flare like trumpets
  • Foliage:  Gray green, dandelion like, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10

‘Sundance Bicolor’ has fabulous globe shaped blooms in mahogany red with yellow petal tips.  The flower color is not quite stable and one plant may produce blooms from nearly pure red to nearly pure yellow, only adding to the interesting beauty of this perennial.  It blooms prolifically through the growing season even in hot dry periods.  ‘Sundance Bicolor’ does like some fertility in the soil to produce nonstop blooms, so amend poor soil with organic compost.  It does prefer fairly consistent watering, but is very tolerant of drought.  Soil must be well drained and it will not tolerate clay soil.  The low mounding foliage spreads out nicely, forming a trailing mat or spilling over container edges.  ‘Sundance Bicolor’ is a very short lived perennial, some consider it a bienniel or even annual.  But typically it will survive more than one growing season and produce plenty of seed to sprout new plants.  Deadheading spent blooms will keep seeding to a manageable minimum, just be sure to let at least a few seed heads mature until very dry.  Remember that the seedlings look very much like dandelions when weeding your garden.

 

Gaillardia pulchella ‘Red Plume’
Gaillardia Pulchella 'Red Plume' by Yoko Nekonomania

  • Common Name:  Firewheel
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous biennial
  • Height: 18-24”
  • Spread:  12-36”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright, spreading
  • Bloom Time: July through October
  • Bloom Color: Deep red with toothed tips
  • Bloom Form:  2” double globe shaped blooms with flared petals
  • Foliage:  Narrow green, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Enrich the soil with compost or apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10

‘Red Plume’ produces deep red globes of petals with red to golden center.  As the blooms mature, the center disc is covered by petals.  The flowers are held well above the foliage on wiry stems.  The plants are compact and bushy, spreading quite wide by end of season.  Heat and drought are no problem, and the plants thrive in poor soil.  Soil must be well drained and clay is not tolerated.  ‘Red Plume’ is a very short lived perennial and considered by many to be an annual.  Typically it functions as a biennial, producing seed for a new crop of plants to sprout next year, then dying off.  Sometimes a plant may live into another growing cycle.  ‘Red Plume’ may seed heavily, so deadheading will minimize seeding, just be be sure to leave a few seed heads until they are completely dry.  ‘Red Plume’ grows very quickly and easily from seed.

 

Gaillardia aristata
Gaillardia aristata species by Matt Lavin

  • Common Name:  Common Blanket Flower, Brown Eyed Susan
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height: 18-24”
  • Spread:  12-16”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to mostly sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, normal to sandy, well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
  • Bloom Color: Scarlet with yellow toothed petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  3-4” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Gray green, dandelion like, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Feeding is not required.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Highly salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10

Some of the Gaillardia species plants, which are parent plants to the cultivars and hybrids, can be grown from seed available through wildflower seed companies.  These species plants are generally the toughest, hardiest, most tolerant plants you can grow and are easily grown from seed.  Each plant is relatively short lived, but they self seed freely, providing your garden with a constant supply of new plants.  Spent blooms can be deadheading before seed pods form to minimize self seeding. To allow some seeding, let the seed head completely before you remove it.  For your worst conditions, a species plant is ideal.

Gaillardia aristata, often referred to as Brown Eyed Susan or Common Gaillardia, produces the classic red and yellow pinwheel bloom with toothed tips and red centers, and sometimes solid yellow blooms with brown-red centers.  The plant grows erect from 2 to 4 feet tall with dandelion like foliage, and the entire plant is fuzzy.  They adore hot, dry, sandy conditions and self seed readily.  Plants grown from seed will bloom in their second year.  Remember that seedlings look very much like dandelions when weeding your garden!  Common Blanket Flower is excellent for fresh arrangements, with a vase life of 6-10 days.

 

Gaillardia pulchella
Gaillardia pulchella species by Stephen Seiberling

  • Common Name:  Common Indian Blanket, Firewheel
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous biennial
  • Height: 18-36”
  • Spread:  14-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to mostly sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water requirements.  Water regularly but do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, normal to sandy, well drained loose soil with average pH.  Will not tolerate clay.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June to frost
  • Bloom Color: Scarlet with yellow toothed petal tips
  • Bloom Form:  2-3” daisy like blooms with layered petals and a center button seed cone.
  • Foliage:  Gray green, dandelion like, hairy leaves.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Occasionally bothered by aphids or leaf miners.
  • Fertilize: Feeding is not required.
  • Maintenance: Very little care required.
  • Other:  Attracts bees, butterflies and birds.  Deer resistant.  Highly salt tolerant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-10

Some of the Gaillardia species plants, which are parent plants to the cultivars and hybrids, can be grown from seed available through wildflower seed companies.  These species plants are generally the toughest, hardiest, most tolerant plants you can grow and are easily grown from seed.  Each plant is relatively short lived, but they self seed freely, providing your garden with a constant supply of new plants.  Spent blooms can be deadheading before seed pods form to minimize self seeding. To allow some seeding, let the seed head completely before you remove it.  For your worst conditions, a species plant is ideal.

Gaillardia pulchella, often referred to as Firewheel or Common Indian Blanket, It produces the classic red and yellow pinwheel bloom with toothed tips and red centers.  In the right climate it will bloom nearly year round.  Very similar to the Gaillardia aristata, and Firewheel also sometimes produces pure yellow or orange blooms.  The plant grows erect from 2 to 4 feet tall with with well branched stems that become woody near the base, and the entire plant is fuzzy.  Gaillardia pulchella is really a bienniel, as each plant often just lives through one cycle.  Once seeds are produced the plant often dies, but leaves you with many new plants if you leave at least some of the seed heads until dry.  Seeds that fall into heavily mulched areas will generally not germinate.  They adore hot, dry, sandy conditions and self seed readily.  Plants grown from seed will bloom in their second year.  Remember that seedlings look very much like dandelions when weeding your garden!  Common Blanket Flower is excellent for fresh arrangements, with a vase life of 6-10 days.

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Gaillardia Blanket Flower