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September 2008
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Blanketflower (Gaillardia grandiflora)

Blanket Flower is an extremely beautiful flower, favoring the bright colors. And why is the common name of the plant called ‘Blanket Flower’, well it is because the flower has the brilliant red and yellow colors that are found in some southwestern Indian Blankets. The botanical name, Gaillardia’s name comes from the French botanist, Gaillard de Marentoneau, (for whom the plant was named after). Some other common names for the plant include: Indian blanket and brown-eyed Susan.
Why is the plant so beautiful – it is because Gaillardia’s large, daisy-like flowers of gold, red and bronze look so attractive that they are a beautiful addition to any garden. Blanketflower is botanically similar to members of the Helianthus genus and the genus Chrysanthemum; however it is distinguished from these 2 genus by the different features of a flattened stem and purple based, yellow tipped flowers.
This is a perennial plant, blooming over a period that lasts from early summer through fall. When these plants are of a mid-height, they produce masses of fiery red blooms surrounded by a ring of rich flame yellow. The flower heads are showy, solitary, 2-3 cm wide and yellow with a purple base.
These plants are very eminently suitable for beds, and borders. They also make great cut flowers. The other benefit of these plants is that they are hardy plants, and drought tolerant. Growing the plants is fairly easy, they grow easily from seed and form dense colonies of brilliant red flowers with yellow rims.
The seed is an achene with a pappus of bristled scales. Allow seed heads to completely dry prior to trimming. This will aid in reseeding for the following year.

Here are some steps for planting and maintaining of Blanket Flower:
– Plant in a full sun in soil that is well-drained.
– Fertilizer: Add lightly
– Place the plants no deeper than they were growing in the containers.
– Keep the distance between the plants to be 9 to 12 inches.
– Keep mulch around the plants, but do not cover the plants.
– Water till the soil is moist.
– Once the flower has been established, cut off old flowers to encourage more blooms.
– Cut old stems back to the ground in late spring.
– In spring, apply fertilizer lightly to the soil.
– Mulch in spring with compost, around the soil, but not on top.

How to propagate the plants:
1. Directly sow the seed outdoors in the fall season
2. In winter, sow from seed in containers with vents or in a glasshouse
3. If near the end of frost season, sow the seed indoors
4. If frost season over, seed directly outdoors

Overall conditions:
– Soil should be well drained and moist
– Can take dry and sandy condtions
– Full sun
– Not really affected by pests or diseases
– This plant is very drought resistant
– Works for zone 2- 10 in the US

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