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With such an extensive bloom time, few other perennials can rival what blanket flower brings to the garden. On top of their visual appeal, the bright, cheery blossoms of blanket flower are a wonderful food source for pollinators. Come fall, small birds also love to pick seeds off of spent blooms. The biggest problem with blanket flowers? They bloom too much!
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1 to 3 feet
1 to 2 feet
Garden Plans for Blanket flower
Available in many warm colors and even a few cooler shades, blanket flowers can make a statement in a garden. Big, showy blooms that go on for months play surprisingly well with many other perennials. Ornamental grasses make a great companion plant to blanket flowers. The most common blanket flower is the result of a cross between a perennial species and an annual species. This created a hybrid that offers the best of both worlds. The hardiness of the perennial parent coupled with the vigor and flowering capacity of the annual parent create a true garden knockout. Blanket flowers are also great for cutting.
Blanket Flower Care Must-Knows
Blanket flowers are typically native to hot and dry climates, like tough prairies and rocky plains. These plants are well adapted to poor soils and severe drought. Because of this, they require very little supplemental watering in landscapes and are great for waterwise gardens and gardens with poor, dry soils. Blanket flowers also need as much sun as you can give them. In any shade, plants will flower poorly and become stretched and floppy. There is also a higher risk for threats like powdery mildew in shade.
Once flowering begins in early summer, blanket flowers won't stop until frost. They may go through a lull, but you can keep things going by removing old, spent blooms—this is especially important come fall. When we say blanket flowers bloom too much, it's actually true. Since one of the parents of this popular hybrid was an annual, these plants tend to forget to store up energy for the next year. So rather than slow down as fall sets in, blanket flowers continue blooming and setting seed like there is no tomorrow! Cutting plants back, deadheading blooms, and pinching off flower blooms in late fall will keep plants from wasting all of their energy on new blooms. This is generally the main reason that these plants tend to be short-lived. Luckily, blanket flowers have no problem seeding around gardens either. You can sprinkle old blooms around to encourage re-seeding for the following spring. And, if you leave some of the old blossoms on the plants into the fall and winter, goldfinches and other small birds will happily feast on the seeds.
Since the beginning of this hybrid's discovery, research has continued to improve all aspects of these plants. By breeding with other species, and experimenting on the original two species (G. pulchella and G. aristata), blanket flowers continue to see improvements. This can be seen in the variety of colors and forms as well as in overall plant habit and hardiness. Advancements continue to be made, and new varieties are introduced fairly regularly.
More Varieties of Blanket Flower
'Fanfare' Blanket Flower
Gaillardia 'Fanfare' offers bright red ray flowers tipped with yellow at the flaring mouth. This recent 14-inch-tall introduction blooms over a long period. Zones 3-8
'Goblin' Blanket Flower
This variety of Gaillardia x grandiflora is a dwarf selection that boasts the typical red and yellow bicolor blooms on much shorter plants 1 to 2 feet tall. Zones 3-10