Gaillardia

Gaillardia is a genus of both annuals and perennials belonging to the Asteraceae family. Plants in this group of 2 dozen species are sometimes called Blanket Flower, Indian Blanketflower or Firewheel. Some say that the colorful flowers resemble blankets made by Native Americans. Others say that these plants “blanket” a field with blooms. Either way, the flowers are brightly colored, both solid and bicolor, in a wide range of yellows, oranges and reds. Gaillardia are mostly native to North America, and grow as wildflowers in the warmer areas. In some states, Gaillardia seeds are spread along highways to provide dense colonies of plants which need little care.

Gaillardia are drought and salt tolerant and can grow in harsh conditions, and even in sandy soil, near bodies of water. They prefer hot, sunny areas with good drainage and are considered to be hardy in zones 5-10. Gaillardia reseed easily and hybrid varieties can be propagated by cuttings. Planted in sunny gardens and even sand dunes, they will naturalize and multiply. 

The plants grow about 2 feet tall, on average, and the blooms can be up to 4 inches across. Gaillardia bloom in summer, from May to September, and make long lasting cut flowers. The flowers can be single or double, and some have tubular petals. Butterflies are attracted to them, but rabbits and deer are not. The spent flowers should be deadheaded in order to produce more blooms. At the end of the season, seedheads should be allowed to dry completely to help the plant reseed. I like how the seedheads look, all prickly at first, then later they get kind of fuzzy. Insect problems and disease are uncommon among Gaillardia species.

I’ve always grown these from a plant, purchased at a nursery. They grown well, but after a few years, they just do not come back. This year, I intend to try and collect some seeds and start my own plants next year. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, if you have a spot in your garden with full sun, I’d highly recommend planting Gaillardia.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s