Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia) – The Complete Guide

Blanket flowers (Gaillardia) stage themselves as tireless perennial bloomers in the summer garden.

In the rock garden, in flower borders, and in the tub, the floral flame wheels attract all eyes. In any sunny spot in your green kingdom, the colorful composites are also no slouch as gap fillers.

Planting Blanket Flowers Properly

Mid-May marks the beginning of the planting season for the blanket flower.

In a sunny location, dig small planting pits in sandy-loose soil with 1.5 times the volume of the root ball. A planting distance of 14-16 inches (35-40 cm) is appropriate for blanket flowers.

You can create a picturesque appearance if you arrange the perennials in small tuffs with 10-20 specimens. In each pit, place one flower as deep in the soil as before in the growing container.

Adding compost and horn shavings creates ideal starting conditions for a season rich in flowers. No less important is a sufficient supply of watering on the day of planting as well as in the following period.

Care Tips

In contrast to the spirited appearance in the bed and tub, the blanket flower is restrained in terms of care.

This is how to care for blanket flowers correctly:

  • Water moderately during dry spells.
  • From May to September, treat it with compost or liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
  • Clean out withered flower heads promptly.
  • At the beginning of September, cut off the perennial close to the ground and cover it with foliage.

Please do not underestimate the timing of pruning in the fall. If you prune them too late, Gaillardia will lack sufficient time to produce the vital winter shoots.

Which Location is Suitable for Blanket Flowers?

The blanket flower achieves its optimum in a sunny, warm, and sheltered location.

While the towering varieties do not like a windy location at all, the sturdy ‘Goblin’ or the dainty ‘Bijou’ can enjoy an airy spot in the sun.

What Soil Do Blanket Flowers Need?

You set the stage for a flower-rich course when you plant the blanket flower in loose, humusy, and sandy-loamy soil.

In view of this requirement, it is not surprising that the perennial feels extremely comfortable in the rock garden or the steppe bed.

Corresponding to this, a potting substrate leached with sand or fine chippings comes into the shortlist, ideally enriched with lava granules or perlite respiration flakes.

When is Flowering Time for Blanket Flowers?

From June to September, the blanket flower beats its floral wheels of fire in the bed and on the balcony.

Since a single flower doesn’t have that kind of staying power, brush out wilted blanket flowers regularly. In this way, you maintain a well-groomed appearance and can even extend the flowering period into the fall.

Pruning Blanket Flowers Properly

The experienced amateur gardener always has pruning shears handy when paying a visit to his blanket flowers. On these occasions, you should prune the picturesque summer flower like this:

  • As a vase decoration in the morning hours, when the flowers have just opened.
  • Pruning out wilted flowers to make room for a repeat bloom.
  • Pruning close to the ground in early/mid-September.

The last pruning is also one of the most important maintenance measures. In this way, you encourage a Gaillardia to re-sprout before winter.

Without this head of leaves, the flower will not make it through the cold season unscathed.

Watering Blanket Flowers

You want to water blanket flowers only moderately. When in doubt, this summer beauty would rather stand dry for a short time than deal with waterlogging.

Give the water only slowly on the root ball to recognize in time when no more moisture is absorbed. On potted flowers, you can tell when the first drops are running into the saucer.

Fertilizing Blanket Flowers Properly

In the bed, the blanket flower gratefully accepts a portion of compost with horn shavings every 3-4 weeks. With the pruning before winter ends the gift of fertilizer.

The same applies to potted flowers. From May to September, apply a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants every 2 weeks. Do not apply nutrients between October and April in the winter quarter.

Wintering Blanket Flowers

The linchpin of successful overwintering is sharp pruning in the fall at the right time.

Cut back the blanket flower close to the ground in early/mid-September. As a result, the perennial will resprout by forming the vital overwintering shoots.

If you miss this deadline for pruning, the blanket flowers’ chances of survival drop dramatically. In addition, we recommend covering with leaves or straw, to protect against constant moisture and freezing cold.

Pots with a diameter of fewer than 12 inches (30 cm) should be stored in frost-free winter quarters. Larger planters should be given a winter cover of fleece, jute, or bubble wrap and a warm wooden base.

Propagating Blanket Flowers

If you are aiming for the propagation of a single variety, the division of the root ball comes into focus. The best time to do this is in the spring when the soil has completely thawed.

If, on the other hand, you are planning to have a larger number of blanket flowers, sowing the seeds makes more sense. Certified seeds from specialized stores will ensure what attributes the flowers have.

Sown on peaty sand, just press the light seedlings and shower them with soft water. At a constant temperature of 68 °F (20 °C) the first seedlings will sprout after 10 to 14 days.

For further care, place the seedlings a little cooler at 60 to 64 °F (16 to 18 °C). By mid-May, you will have numerous vigorous blanket flowers in your hands, strong enough for planting.

How to Repot a Blanket Flower Properly

Every 3-4 years, pick up the root ball to replant after dividing it. This measure will significantly contribute to the fact that the blanket flower will remain with you as a perennial for a long time.

A suitable date is in the spring, as soon as there is no longer a threat of frost on the ground. Cut the plant into two or more parts.

Each segment with 2-3 eyes has the potential to become an adult blanket flower.

Blanket Flower in the Pot

In pots and balcony boxes, blanket flowers spray their colorful fireworks in a sunny, warm and sheltered location.

Above a water-bearing layer of pebbles or shards of clay, fill in a loose potting soil, enriched with quartz sand and perlite.

The depth of planting in the growing container should be maintained as much as possible. Water the blanket flower only moderately.

From May to September, pamper the fiery flower beauty with a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks. In early September, cut the perennial close to the ground to relocate it to frost-free winter quarters.

Beautiful Varieties

  • Burgundy: A magnificent blanket flower that sets colorful eye-catchers with its deep red flower spikes. The growth height is 20-24 inches (50-60 cm).
  • Tokay: A majestic blanket flower with orange flowers, ideally suited as a backdrop plant in the perennial bed. It grows 28-32 inches (70-80 cm) high.
  • Goblin: A sturdy variety with red, yellow-tipped ray florets for bed and balcony. the growth height is 12-16 inches (30-40 cm).
  • Arizona Sun: A beautiful and colorful blanket flower, like a sunset. It only grows 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) high.
  • Amber Wheels: Predominantly yellow flowering Gaillardia that shines with the sun. It has a growth height of 24-28 inches (60-70 cm).
  • Bijou: The smallest jewel among the blanket flowers, with semi-double flowers in red, yellow and scarlet. It grows 10 inches (25 cm) high.