Last Updated On: February 18th, 2020
Learn all about the perennial species of Blanket Flower in this gardener's guide and profile of this beautiful plant, including plant care, companion plants, and more.
If you could create a summer perennial garden wishlist, you might include plants that not only have beautiful, vibrant color but are low maintenance and drought-tolerant.
Well, look no further because the Blanket flower should be right at the top of your list.
With bright hues of pinks, oranges, and yellows, the Blanket flower will jazz up your garden with its daisy-like flowers.
In this Blanket flower plant profile, you'll learn about the unique characteristics of this plant as well as basic plant care and companion plants for your landscape.
If you already have these perennials in your garden or you're wondering if they would work for you, read on to learn more or jump to a specific section below!
By the way, for a quick podcast related to this plant, check out Full Sun Perennials That Bloom All Summer.
Jump ahead to a specific section:
- How to grow and care for the Blanket flower in your yard
- Blanket flower plant table and free printable guide
- Blanket flower companion plants
- Blanket flower seeds for sale
To prolong the life of your Blanket flowers throughout the summer months (maybe even into the fall), you need to deadhead them at the right time using the proper tools.
These pruning shears we are recommending are best for any plant material that measures up to an inch in diameter and the ones we've been using for years. Perfect for your daisies!
Blanket Flower: Why You Should Plant Them
First, what's not to love about these drought-tolerant perennials? They're colorful and need very little water.
These summer bloomers are perfect for perennial borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens, or containers.
With their full sun growth requirements, this beautiful plant will grace your garden year after year with its bright, daisy-like flowers.
And, they make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers.
In addition to their beauty, these hardy perennials are really easy to maintain.
Blanket flowers are a popular choice for xeriscape gardens because they do well in rocky soils and thrive with very little moisture.
With just a bit of deadheading for spent flowers, Blanket flowers will bloom throughout most of the summer months. For that reason, they are perfect for a beginner gardener, such as these two perennial species: Gaillardia aristata or Gaillardia x grandiflora.
Finally, Blanket flowers attract many kinds of pollinators. With their broad, daisy-like shape and bright color, pollinators cannot resist a visit.
Plus, they are also deer-resistant.
As you can see, this plant is a perfect addition to any drought-tolerant garden for so many reasons!
Blanket Flowers: History and Types
Blanket flowers, or Gaillardia, are in the large Asteraceae family. Also known as the daisy family, this family group has more than 20,000 species of flowering plants throughout the world!
The daisy family features unique flowers that are actually made up of two types of flowers, not just one. Each flower you see in this family is actually composed of one or more rows of "Ray" flowers on the perimeter/edge and the "Disk" flowers in the center.
Daisy family members are valued for a range of uses, including:
- Cut flowers
- Cooking oils
- Herbal teas
- Other medicinal uses
Other members of the large Asteraceae family include Shasta daisies, sunflowers, zinnias, chrysanthemum, and lettuce.
Blanket Flower History
Blanket flowers, also called Indian Blanket flower or Firewheel, are native to North America and have historical significance in Native American history.
Partially, this plant gets its name from its spreading habit as the flowers can wrap a landscape with their super bright colors.
Officially, the genus, Gaillardia, was formally named after an 18th-century French botanist named M. Gaillard de Charentonneau.
Botanist Frederick Pursh described this species for science in his monumental Flora Americae Septentrionale published in 1814.
One Native American legend tells the story of a little girl who's father, a brave returning from war, found her covered in flowers of the bright red and orange colors. The same colors as a blanket that was woven by her mother when her father left. From that time on, the flowers were called Indian blanket flower.
One fun fact is that Texas State University school colors were inspired by the Blanket flower colors of maroon and gold.
Today, you can find Blanket flowers mostly used as ornamental plants in all types of gardens.
Being a native plant from the central and western United States, this plant has a great ability to adapt to different climates and can be lower maintenance than most other landscape plants.
Therefore, Blanket flowers need to be planted next to full sun, drought-tolerant companions.
Companion plants to consider:
- Shasta daisies
- Gloriosa daisies or Black-Eyed Susans
- Ornamental grasses
- Lamb's ear
- Russian Sage
Blanket Flower Plant Profile!
Subscribe to our Spoken Garden community and receive your FREE Blanket Flower Plant Profile!
Included in the plant profile: General plant info, maintenance tips, companion plants, and a planning guide!
|Common/Trade Name||Blanket Flower|
|Botanical/Scientific Name||Gaillardia aristata or G. x grandiflora. Other species but these grow best in the western US.|
|Cultivars||'Goblin', 'Baby Cole', 'Mandarin', 'Burgundy', 'Tokajer', 'Torchlight', and 'Yellow Queen' among others.|
|Zones||USDA - hardy to zones 3 to 10; Sunset - mostly grows in zones 1 to 24, H1 and H2.|
|General Information||In the Asteraceae (old Compositae) Family. Attract tons of pollinators. Considered a perennial, but there are annual species, too. Blanket Flowers are considered low-growing summer blooming plants with daisy-like flowers in very warm colors. Are drought-tolerant. Make great cut flowers.|
|Native Environment||Native to the central and western United States.|
|Water Needs||Needs moderate watering.|
|Mature Height/Width||Can grow between 2-4 feet high and 1.5 to 2 feet wide.|
|Bloom Time||During Summer months. grandiflora species have very long bloom times from start of summer to first frost in fall and will flower first year when planted by seed.|
|Flower Colors||Flowers come in red, orange, yellow variations with most common colors being red-ray flower petals with jagged or uneven yellow borders or tips. Some flowers come in solid colors like "Indian Yellow" with pure gold-yellow flowers.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Growth Habit||Small spreading clumps of perennials with upward growth.|
|Soil Needs||Well-draining soil.|
|Fertilize||A good dose of a balanced organic fertilizer every month wouldn't hurt. Generally, nothing in literature indicates frequent fertilizing needed, though.|
|Plant Spacing||Plant on 1 to 1.5 foot centers so plants grow into adjacent plants to give good coverage for weed control. If weeds aren't an issue then 1.5 to 2 foot or more centers is fine.|
|Suggested Companion Plants||Well-suited among other daisy family plants, specifically Shasta Daisy, Echinacea, Black-Eyed Susans, Sunflower, or Aster, also, Sage (Hot Lips or Pineapple Sage), Candy Tuft, Campanula, Foxglove, and others.|
|Maintenance Level||Low to minimal maintenance. Only after fall and herbaceous stem dieback will they be cut back and cleaned up for the winter. Mainly, cutting back flower stems to just above the plant leaves and crown.
|Pest Susceptibility||Mainly to Aphids and Powdery Mildew, Leaf Hoppers, Bacterial Leaf Spots, Slugs, Spider Mites, and White Fly.|
|Poisonous to Pets?||No known poisonous or toxic attributes to animals with ASPCS or other organizations. Possibly a skin irritant.|
|Edible for Humans?||No known poisonous or toxic attributes to humans. Can cause irritated skin, or dermatitis.|
|Fun (or historical) Facts||- Texas State University school colors were inspired by the Blanket-Flower flower colors.
- Featured in Native American folklore and stories.
- Named after 18th Century French Magistrate, M. Gaillard Charentonneau, who was a big botany enthusiast. It also gets its name from how it can actually blanket the ground with flowers once it becomes dense enough in a garden or field.
- Gaillardia is used as food by some caterpillars, where some exclusively will only eat this plant and have evolved with this symbiotic relationship.
- A type of moth, Schinia masoni, will actually camouflage itself for protection on the blanket flower. It has adapted to blend in with the ray flowers.
How To Plant Blanket Flower
We've included brief steps and tips for planting either seeds or live plants below.
First of all, not all seeds are created equal.
Our seed planting steps below are a guide for planting most seeds in general.
Blanket Flower Seed Planting Steps:
Read the seed packet label and follow their directions.
Choose an area according to the plant's sunlight needs and water the soil first before planting.
Dig a trench at the recommended depth.
Place your seeds by planting one at a time according to the recommended spacing.
Lightly cover the seeds with the soil. According to the packet, firm down the soil as needed.
Water, water, water!
Wait for germination and then thin according to the packet directions for each seed.
Indian Blanket Seeds - Gaillardia pulchella seed. Another delightful North American native... [More]
Blanket Flower Live Plants Planting Tips
If planting live Blanket flower plants, be mindful of plant spacing.
In general, plant the plants on 1 to 1.5-foot centers so the plants grow into adjacent plants to give good coverage for weed control.
If weeds aren't an issue then 1.5 to 2-foot or more centers is fine.
Indian Blanket Seeds - Gaillardia pulchella seed. Another delightful North American native... [More]
Plus, when you get to the Eden Brothers checkout, because we are affiliates (which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you which helps us run our website and podcast), use our special coupon code "SPOKEN" for an extra 15% off your order!!
First, enter SPOKEN into their coupon code box (just like the first photo). You will know you received the coupon if you see the "coupon applied" notice (see the second photo).
Summer-Blooming Perennials Flower Books
If you’re looking for further educational resources, these books below are the perfect reference book to educate you about butterflies.
The first book is our new eBook which we’re so excited to show you! The two books below that can be found on Amazon at the links below.
If you want to create a four-season garden featuring specific, beautiful plants that bloom during specific seasons, look no further.
In Four-Season Gardening, our new eBook on sale until August 5th, we’ll teach you plant care for 15 seasonal plants and seasonal gardening tips that could be the difference between a thriving garden and a ho-hum garden. Check it out!
This is a great reference guide for tons of plants from the American Horticultural Society.
This book has stunning images, how-tos, and planting information to grow your own cutting garden.
Or, if you need to shop for other garden plants for this summer or fall, click here to find what you need!
Blanket Flower Plant Conclusion
As you have read above, the Blanket flower is a perfect addition to any garden for so many reasons.
Whether you want to attract pollinators, plant a drought-tolerant garden, or enjoy the vibrant summer flowers, this plant would make a great addition to your garden!
Now it is time to hear from you!
What more do you want to learn about Blanket flowers? Do you have any questions that still need answering?
Leave a quick comment below and let us know!
Well, that's all for now.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed our Blanket flower plant profile.
Want to learn about other plants in your garden? Check out some of our previous plant profiles:
- Shasta Daisy: A Gardener's Guide and Plant Profile
- Primroses: A Gardener's Guide and Plant Profile
- The Gardener's Guide to Dianthus
- Grape Hyacinth: A Gardener's Guide and Plant Profile
- Sunflowers: A Gardener's Guide and Plant Profile
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
P.P.S. Before you go, collect your free Blanket Flower reference guide!
Blanket Flower Plant References:
- "Blanket Flower" - USDA Fact Sheet
- "Blanket Flower" - Better Homes & Gardens
- "School Colors" - Texas State University
- "Firewheel: A Native Wildflower Favorite Rich in Legend and Lore" - Nature's Seed
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Learn all about the Blanket Flower in this gardener's guide and profile of this beautiful plant, including plant care, companion plants, and more.