Gaillardia – Blanket Flower
The satisfactory Blanket Flowers deserve a place in all gardens. They are showy, bloom under adverse conditions and are easy of culture. The great improvement in colors which has gone on in recent years is marvelous. There are both annual and perennial species, both of which have become so varied in their form and colors that the best test of a perennial sort is to wait until Spring. If it lives through the Winter and blooms the next year, it is perennial. The perennial sorts are catalogued as Gaillardia aristata (grandiflora).The flowers are often clear rich yellow or clear wine red, but usually the petals are broadly margined with yellow and the remainder of the flower is some shade of crimson. The centers of the flowers are frequently a deep maroon.
UTILIZE. Gaillardias are especially good for the perennial border where they start to flower in June and continue after many other flowers are killed by the frost. They are also prized as cut flowers and for this purpose should be cut when the flowers are slightly cup-shaped before the petals have reflexed. Without apparent harm the flowers may be kept. out of water in carrying them from one place to another.
GENERAL. All persons who have grown Gaillardias know that they bloom even during protracted droughts. They prefer the full sun and a sandy soil. Old plants have a tendency to become “blind,” that is, they grow nicely but produce no flowers. Such clumps should be dug and divided.
PROPAGATION. When raised from seed they do not bloom unless started very early. They are easily raised, however, the seed germinating in five to eight days.
I definitely agree that blanket flowers deserve a place in any garden – they are such cheerful and hardy plants! The color range has expanded so much in recent years, it’s really amazing. I’ve had good luck with both annual and perennial varieties. I would just caution anyone buying perennials to make sure they are indeed the hardy kind – it’s so disappointing to have a plant die after one winter! Luckily, most nurseries are pretty good about labeling them now. Thank you for such an informative post!