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Growing The Gaillardia Flower (Blanket Flower) | Flower Patch | North American Farmer

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Growing The Gaillardia Flower

Let Your Garden Sparkle with Gaillardia’s Vibrant and Colorful Blooms!

by Frances Santos

Growing A Gaillardia FlowerAmong the members of the Asteraceae family, many gardeners favor the gaillardia flower, also called blanket flowers. True to its name, blanket flowers self-seed easily so they can quickly cloak your entire garden.

But just to be clear, gaillardias are not invasive and will spread only as far and wide as you want them to be. This astounding carpet of brightly-colored blooms is a perfect addition to meadow gardens and mass plantings.

Generally, the gaillardia flower’s cone center is encircled by fiery red or orange, daisy-like serrated petals, tipped in gold. The foliage is vibrant green with hairy, soft texture. This spring bloomer flaunts beautiful blossoming stages – from forming its olive green bud to unfurling of sun-drenched petals. During summer, gaillardias truly make any flower garden bright and cheery.

Most gaillardia varieties grow two to three feet high. They are perfect for use as raised beds, garden borders and as cut flowers. Popular gaillardia cultivars and hybrids include:

  • Goblin –red petals tipped in yellow. Sold as dwarf variety
  • Golden Goblin – pale yellow blooms
  • Fanfare – trumpet-like flowers
  • Burgundy – reddish-purple flowers
  • Lollipop – multi-coloured round, double petals

Gaillardia Propagation

Gaillardias are self-seeders, hence can be propagated by division in spring or autumn, by allowing the flower to reseed at the end of summer. You may also propagate Gaillardias by seeds.

It’s easy to grow Gaillardias from seeds. Direct sowing can be done after the last frost, but you may also start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Keep a soil temperature of 21°C (70°F).

Fill a starter pot with loose seedling compost and scatter three Gaillardia seeds. Light is required to germinate properly so do not bury the seeds. Keep the seedling compost moist until the seeds germinate. Place the starter pot on a bright place and make sure it receives 6-8 hours of light every day. Supplemental light may be used. Germination takes 7 to 20 days.

How to Grow Gaillardia Flowers

Once a set of true leaves appear, thin out the seedlings. Each pot must only have the healthiest plant. Transplant gaillardia seedlings outdoors once the plantings are mature enough. Choose a well-lit planting site with rich, well-drained soil. Spacing in between plants must be 12 inches.

At the beginning of flowering season, fertilize your gaillardias. Apply an all-purpose slow release fertilizer on the soil every couple of months. Fertilizer with analysis 10-10-10 is recommended. You may also scatter compost surrounding the plant’s base. Promote Gaillardia’s optimal blooming by topping the compost with blood n’ bone and foliar sprays of worm wee. Water the plants every 10 days or as necessary during summer and autumn. The soil must not be waterlogged. If you prefer container plants, choose pots with 5 to 6 inches diameter for final potting.

Gaillardia Flower Care

During summer, deadhead spent blooms to promote fresh blooms and long blossoming period. Staking may be necessary, particularly if Gaillardias start to lean down. Pruning and fussing are not needed.

Gaillardia Pests and Diseases

Aster yellows commonly afflict Gaillardias. Symptoms include yellowed foliage, poor production and quality of blooms, and stunted growth. Eliminate infected plants and control aphids and aster leaf-hoppers with insecticides. These pests can quickly spread aster yellows to the rest of garden plants and crops.

Other Gaillardia diseases include bacterial leaf spot, white smut, and septoria leaf spot.