Gallardia, or blanket flower, is a native plant that grows as a short-lived perennial (hardy to zone 3) or as an annual variety, depending on the selection. The 1- to 2-foot tall plants feature orange or yellow daisy-like flowers. Recent breeding has expanded the color range to include red, apricot and peach colors. Many selections will have two colors banded across the flower petals. This flower has gray-green, hairy leaves, is relatively pest free and can self sow readily. It’s a versatile plant growing well in the gardens, containers, meadows and as a cutflower.
Plant gaillardia plants in a full sun location after all danger of frost has passed. You can start plants from seed indoors or purchase transplants from garden centers. Plant seedlings and transplants in well-drained, compost-amended soil. Gaillardia can be planted in fall in warm winter areas to avoid the hot summer conditions the first year. Gaillardia is drought tolerant once established.
Although gaillardia plants are drought tolerant newly sown seeds and planted seedlings should have a consistent supply of water until they get established. Mulching around the plants helps conserve moisture and keeps weeds away. The plants grow well with average soil fertility. Gaillardia has a long bloom period. Gaillardia are either annuals or short-lived perennials in most gardens. It is a magnet for bees, butterflies and birds. The bees and butterflies enjoy the nectar and pollen of the flowers while the birds feast on the seeds in fall.
1. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
2. Put the seeds on the soil.
3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
4. Water the seeds.
5. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
6. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.