How to Care for the Gaillardia Indian Blanket Flower

Written by catherine mezensky
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How to Care for the Gaillardia Indian Blanket Flower
Blanket flowers are easy to grow. (blanket flower image by Bradlee Mauer from Fotolia.com)

The gaillardia, or Indian blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora), blooms in bright, hot colours that can perk up dry, tired areas of the garden. This perennial bears daisy-like multicoloured flowers in hot colours such as orange, yellow, purple, and red. The blanket flower is heat and drought tolerant, needs little care, is deer resistant, and can attract butterflies. This plant, which grows 2 to 3 feet tall, gets its name because it "blankets" fields and roadside areas as it prolifically reseeds itself, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The gaillardia blooms all summer and into fall, where it can still add colour to the end-of-season garden.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Fertiliser
  • Stakes

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select the area to plant the Indian blanket flower. They need about six to eight hours of sun each day.

  2. 2

    Prepare the plot by turning over the soil, adding compost, and raking it smooth.

  3. 3

    Scatter the Indian blanket flower seeds over surface of the soil and cover with 1/8 inch of soil. Water well. Keep soil moist until the seeds germinate.

  4. 4

    When the plants sprout, thin them to about 15 to 18 inches apart.

  5. 5

    Water them about every 10 to 14 days during the summer and early fall. These plants do not like being damp, according to so let the soil dry out between watering.

  6. 6

    Scatter a slow release all-purpose fertiliser like 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) on the soil of the flowerbed. Do this every couple of months during the growing season.

  7. 7

    Deadhead the flowers as necessary. Cut off the faded flower heads to encourage a second flush of bloom in the fall, advises online resource The Gardener's Network.

  8. 8

    Stake the plants if they begin to bend over.

  9. 9

    Propagate the Indian blanket flower by letting it reseed at the end of the summer. After the plant blooms in the fall, leave the flowers in place so the plant can form seeds. The plant will self seed.

Tips and warnings

  • Gaillardia is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 3 to 10.
  • The plant can irritate the skin, according to University of Vermont Extension.
  • Blanket flowers do not perform well in heavy clay soil, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

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