How to Grow Blanket Flower: Easy Tips

Gaillardia, commonly known as blanket flower, is a low-maintenance perennial with vibrant, daisy-like flowers. How to Grow Blanket Flower (Gallardia); its name is likely inspired by how it gradually spreads and covers an area. The plant forms a slowly expanding mound, reaching a height of approximately 24 inches and a spread of about 20 inches. Blanket flowers are rapid growers; if grown from seeds, they will blossom in their second year, while nursery-purchased plants are ready to bloom in your garden. How to Grow Blanket Flower (Gallardia); This beloved garden species produces large, impressive blossoms in various shades of reds and yellows throughout the warmer months.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

How to Grow Blanket Flower (Gallardia); These short-lived perennials are typically established from nursery-grown starts, but they can also be easily grown from seeds directly planted in the garden after the last frost date (or started indoors 4 to 6 weeks prior). It is essential to note that the blanket flower is mildly toxic to humans.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Common Names:  Gallardia, blanket flower

Botanical Name:  Gaillardia x Grandiflora

Family:  Asteraceae

Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial

Mature Size:  24 – 36 in. tall; 12- to 24-in. spread

Sun Exposure:  Full sun

Soil Type:  Poor, well-draining soil

Soil pH:  6.1 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)

Bloom Time:  Repeat bloomer, summer through fall

Flower Color:  Various shades of red, yellow, orange, or peach

Hardiness Zones:  3-10 (USDA); varies by variety

Native Area:  Cultivated hybrid; parents are native North American wildflowers

Toxicity:  Slightly toxic to humans

How to Grow Blanket Flower

How to Care

Gaillardia X Grandiflora exhibits full hardiness within USDA Zones 3 to 10. Thanks to extensive hybridization, you’re likely to find a suitable variety that matches your specific zone and climate conditions. How to Grow Blanket Flower (Gallardia); the flowers have the tendency to self-seed and can easily spread throughout your garden. Given that the original plants are hybrids, expect some variations resulting from self-seeding.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

The extended blooming period of Gaillardias makes them equally suitable for borders and containers. They thrive when planted alongside other heat-loving plants that prefer full sun. The striking daisy-like flowers harmonize beautifully with soft textures like thread-leaf Coreopsis and cosmos, as well as airy ornamental grasses. How to Grow Blanket Flower (Gallardia); for a more contrasting effect, consider pairing them with spiky plants such as Kniphofia, Crocosmia, or daylilies. The ‘Burgundy’ variety creates an appealing contrast when planted alongside blue flowers like Salvia and veronica. Additionally, all Gaillardia varieties serve as excellent cut flowers.


Optimal growth for these plants occurs in full sun. While the blanket flower can tolerate some partial shade, especially in hot climates, it may become slightly floppy and produce fewer flowers under such conditions.


Soil Gaillardia thrives in poor soil and should not be amended with rich matter or over-fertilized. While it is not overly sensitive to soil pH, it does require well-draining soil. Although it can tolerate somewhat moist conditions, it is essential to avoid heavy clay soil as it may prove fatal for the plant.

How to Grow Blanket Flower


Right after planting, ensure a deep watering to promote healthy root development. Keep a close eye on the soil, checking it every other day or so, to maintain moisture at about one inch below the soil line without making it overly soggy. Once Gaillardia is established, it exhibits high drought tolerance and can survive without frequent watering, except during periods of extreme heat and dryness. In such cases, it’s advisable to water the bed once or twice per week. Avoid overwatering to prevent any potential issues.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Climate and Moisture Level

Blanket flowers flourish in full sun and are well-equipped to endure hot summer temperatures. They are not reliant on a humid environment and actually prefer hot and dry climates compared to cool and moist ones. If you’re in a cooler climate, it’s recommended to safeguard your overwintering blanket flowers by applying a thick layer of mulch for protection.


Flowering appears to be more abundant in poor soils compared to rich soils, so it’s best to be cautious with or even avoid using fertilizers.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Types of Blanket Flower

The Gaillardia genus comprises over two dozen species, with the majority being native to various regions of North America. Gaillardia pulchella, native to the southeastern U.S. through to Colorado and south into Mexico, was hybridized with Gaillardia aristata, a prairie flower, resulting in the creation of Gaillardia X Grandiflora, which has become the most prevalent garden variety.

Here are some popular types:

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’: As a 2005 All-America Selections Winner, these 3- to 4-inch flowers showcase a red center surrounded by yellow.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’: This variety exhibits wine-red petals with a yellow center disk that matures to burgundy.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’: Characterized by trumpet-shaped flowers that transition from soft red to yellow, radiating from a rosy center disk.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Gaillardia ‘Goblin’: A remarkably robust variety with large green leaves veined in maroon.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’: Renowned for its striking yellow flowers, this variety was honored as the 2010 All-America Selections Winner.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

How to Prune

While deadheading is not necessary for continuous blooming, cutting back the stems when the flowers begin to fade will enhance the appearance and fullness of the blanket flower plants. Engaging in deadheading will also promote more consistent flowering, so feel free to do so without hesitation. Though not obligatory, deadheading might encourage additional blooms. In case the plant appears to struggle during the hot summer months, a significant cutting back could revitalize it, leading to a vibrant display of flowers in the fall.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

How to Propagate

Gaillardia x Grandiflora varieties can be propagated from seeds. Sow the seeds in spring, but keep in mind that they won’t flower in the first year. For a head start, consider sowing them in late summer and protecting the young plants during the winter. As hybrids and short-lived plants, dividing them every two to three years in spring or fall is a good practice to maintain their vitality. Here’s how you can divide blanket flowers:

  • Use a spade to dig a circle approximately 6 inches to 8 inches around the mound of blanket flowers that require dividing. Dig down about a foot to free the root ball.
  • Lift the root ball from the soil using the spade, and gently shake it to remove some dirt, exposing the roots.
  • With your fingers or a sterile, sharp knife, gently tease the roots apart, creating two or three clumps. Each clump should have a few shoots of foliage.
  • Replant the divisions in a prepared area that allows the roots to spread comfortably.
  • After covering the roots with soil, thoroughly water the divisions to moisten the roots.
  • Maintain the soil moist, but avoid making it soggy until you notice the plant is no longer stressed. Then, reduce watering as you would with established blanket flowers.
How to Grow Blanket Flower

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Blanket flower plants can be vulnerable to aster yellows, a virus-like disease that can hinder their growth and result in green flowers. If any plants become infected with aster yellows, it is crucial to remove and destroy them. Unfortunately, they will not recover, and allowing them to remain can lead to further spread of the disease.

How to Grow Blanket Flower

The transmission of aster yellows is carried out by leaf-hoppers and aphids. Encouraging natural predators, such as ladybugs, is an effective approach to manage these pests. Ideally, having a sufficient population of natural predators will help keep the leaf-hoppers and aphids in check. In case there is a need for additional control, using insecticidal soap can be beneficial in warding off these pests.