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    Blanket flowers (Gaillardia)

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    Overview

    Gaillardia was named by a Frenchman, Auguste Denis Fougeroux de Bondaroy (1732 – 1789), based on plants collected in Louisiana and sent to France. The name honors M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century magistrate and patron of botany.

    The Blanket Flower bears rosettes of hairy leaves, topped by single or double, daisy-like flowers in shades of red, red-orange, maroon, or yellow. It blooms over a long season in summer, attracting butterflies. Almost as drought-resistant as desert plants, this heat-lover can survive in hot, dry, and poor soil, and even in seaside conditions. The long-lasting quality of cut flowers makes blanket flowers ideal for indoor arrangements. Neither insects nor disease bothers these plants.

    The small genus of Gaillardia is comprised of annuals and perennials. The perennial, Gaillardia aristata is quite common, while the hybrids and cultivars are more popular. The hybrid Gaillardia x grandiflora includes “Burgundy” with dark red blooms edged with bands of gold, and “Goblin,” a dwarf form. The standard plant is 1 to 2½ feet tall, with wide-spreading branches.

    Planting Tips

    Unlike many perennials that take two or more years to develop into blooming-size plants, gaillardias grown from seeds will flower the first year. No special care is needed for this tough heat-lover. During periods of drought (no rain for two weeks), water once every two weeks.

    Cutting plants back in late summer will encourage a second flush of growth and blooms in fall. Don’t deadhead plants at the end of the season, or you will eliminate the seeds that normally scatter themselves freely.

    • Other names: Firewheel, Rose-ring gaillardia, Indian sunburst, Bandana daisy
    • Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family)
    • Native to: North America
    Video Credits: Garden Splendor® Plants
    Image Credits: Brett_Hondow

    References:

    1. Jeff Cox – Perennial All-Stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-Looking, Trouble-Free Gardens
    2. Matt Warnock Turner – Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives
    3. Susin Chow, Susin Leong, Tracy Loughlin – Colour Guide To Flowering Perennials
    4. Erica Glasener, Walter Reeves – Georgia Gardener’s Guide

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