Gallardia – the sunny flower

Gaillardia flowers are usually 2-3″ wide and appear in early to mid-summer and last for many weeks. The daisy-like flowers are usually multi-colored with yellows, reds and oranges common.   Blanket Flower foliage is typically green and is deciduous so don’t expect winter color from this flower. The slightly hairy leaves are interesting from spring until winter frosts cause the plant to go dormant.  Expect a mounding or slightly sprawling growth habit perfectly suited for containers or middle of the border from Gaillardias.  Easy to grow, Gaillardia is usually happy as long as it is growing in full sun. Well-drained soil is preferred and drought conditions are tolerated once the blanket flower plant is established.   No pruning or fussing required for the blanket flowers. Sometimes staking may be required. Division is rarely needed. Gaillardias mix well with any sun-loving plants. For a warm color border try mixing with Coreopsis, or Sunflowers. If you want a more varied color scheme try pairing with Echinacea, or blue toned flowers like hardy Plumage.  Contrast with fine flowers or foliage such as those produced by Gypsophila, Yarrow or ornamental grasses.

Specifications

  • Common Name: Blanket Flower
  • Bloom: Summer | Late Summer | Early Fall
  • Growth: 18-24 Inches
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Water: Average

During their first growing season, they prefer regular watering, but will become fairly drought tolerant once established. Not particularly needy when it comes to fertilizer, the best practice is simply a side dressing of some good compost. Because of their fuzzy leaves, gallardias are deer resistant once the foliage has matured (new growth may be nibbled by deer). And as with most wildflowers, they not only attract butterflies, but a wide variety of bees including some native bees.

As with most strong yellows and oranges, these gallardiaflowers seem to need equally bold partners in the garden or to be paired with complimentary colors of blue and purple. Some plants that can hold their own next to fiery flowers are Zinnias (reds, yellows & oranges), marigolds, and portulaca. In the blue purple ranges, try mixing them with blue & red penstemon, Russian & Santa Barbara sage, lavender and even agapanthus.
Although they don’t make particularly good cut flowers, their presence in the garden can certainly improve anyone’s mood.

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