Want a long-blooming perennial flower that has bright yellow-orange-red flowers and attracts pollinators? Would you like it to bloom nearly all season long? Then look no further than Indian Blanket, Gaillardia grandiflora. This is a native plant hybrid is what you need to have beautiful red/yellow colors all summer long.
Blanket Flower is beautiful and blooms nearly the entire season, but it will self seed. However, this is a small problem since the roots are quite shallow and volunteer seedlings are easy to pull out.
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Blanket Flower Facts
- Blanket flower is a hybrid that occurred naturally in a Belgian Garden in the 1800’s
- Gaillardia Aristata and Gaillardia Pulchella crossed to make the new species, Gaillardia Grandiflora
- Blanket Flower is a perennial, lasting several years
- Is hardy from USDA zones 3-10. Check your USDA zone here
Physical Description – Blanket Flower
The overall plant is 1-2′ tall (30-60 cm) by 1/2 as wide in diameter, and generally behaves itself by not crowding out other plants (if given 1-2′ spacing). Multiple stalks will come from a central clump producing numerous blooms. Blanket Flower is a showy plant.
Stalk / Stem
The stalks are erect and have small hairs. Stalks are light green to white-green in color. They will branch multiple times, producing a full and pretty specimen if given proper growing conditions.
Leaves are long, slender, and rounded at the ends. They have smooth edges and small hairs. The texture is smooth, but it will have a satin finish. Most leaves come from the base of the plant. But, stalks will also have some leaves.
At the end of stalks (and branches) there will be individual blooms. Each flower is 1-2″ diameter (2-5 cm). The flowers are similar to a daisy, and have ray and disc flowers on the bloom. Petals are primarily red, with an outer ring of yellow.
After blooming the flower head will turn brown/white, and dry out. Numerous seeds are in the center, and can easily be pulled out. The seeds resemble bad-mitten birdies. This plant will self-seed, sometimes profusely.
Roots are shallow on this plant. It is easily pulled out if one does not want it, or want its volunteers.
Blanket Flower, Quick Reference Table
|Perennial Blanket Flower – Reference Guide|
|Common Name||Indian Blanket, Firewheel, Blanket Flower|
|Scientific name||Gaillardia Grandiflora|
|Bloom Time||Early Summer until Fall|
|Bloom Duration||3-5 months depending on zone|
|Bloom Size||1 -2” diameter flowers (25-50 mm)|
|Characteristics||Individual blooms at the top of stalks, sometimes more than one bloom per stalk. Multiple stalks per plant – very showy|
|Height||1 -2’ tall (30-60 cm)|
|Spacing/Spread||1’ (30 cm)|
|Light Requirements||Full sun to partial shade|
|Moisture||Dry to medium moisture|
|Maintenance||None required, except pulling any unwanted seedlings|
|Typical Use||Flower beds, meadows, micro-prairires|
|Sowing Depth||Surface – just press into soil|
|Stratification||30 days cold stratification can improve germination. But takes a long time to sprout (20-60 days, roughly)|
|Native Range||USDA Zones 4-9|
This plant needs full sun to thrive, and medium-dry moisture. The soil should be well drained to avoid any root rot or root fungus. If you are planting in clay, consider amending the bottom of the hole with a decent amount of compost, as the organic matter will allow for better drainage.
How to care for
If you plant this in full sun and dry(ish) conditions, virtually no care will be required. Do not over fertilize though, as the stalks can grow too fast and become week. This plant generally doesn’t need any fertilizer.
Each Spring you will probably have to pull unwanted seedlings if in a perennial flower bed, or one that is well manicured.
How to Grow Blanket Flower from seed
Blanket Flower seeds will have a higher germination rate if planted in early Spring, which will provide some cold/moist stratification. You just need to press the seeds into the soil to ensure good contact, and keep moist. Do not bury the seed, just press it firmly into the seed bed (if direct sowing) or the pot.
Keep the seed moist, but not wet. It could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months to germinate, hence it is best to plant in early Spring as seeds don’t dry out so much during the cooler temperatures.
Garden Uses for Blanket Flower
This flower makes a great addition to any flower bed, meadow, border, or even in a pot! It is low maintenance and very showy. Blanket Flower’s compact size makes it very versatile in full sun areas, as it can be right in front of larger flowers. Also, Blanket Flower makes great cut flowers that will produce from roughly June through September.
We have several specimens in our backyard Micro-Prairie. It is nice because most of our little backyard wildflower area is perennial, so they only bloom for a few weeks in the year. But the Blanket Flower blooms for several months! So we get color for months because of this!
Bees and butterflies are the primary pollinators of Blanket Flower. Particularly bumble bees. Blanket Flower will provide a nectar source that will last all season.
Pests and diseases
I’ve not noticed any damage from rabbits or deer on our Blanket Flowers, and I’ve been growing them for many years now. So in my experience you can classify this species as deer/rabbit resistant.
If you put Blanket Flower in the conditions that it likes, you will have minimal problems. However, in moist conditions, powdery mildew has been documented.
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