Introducing this native beauty in your garden will attract both butterflies and birds. It grows in zones 3-10 in full sun but here in zone 7 tolerates some afternoon shade. The Blanket flower can be a lanky plant that can reach a height of 3′. There are hybrids of this flower that are more compact and range in color from yellow to red.
The bloom time is May (here in zone 7) and June in the lower zones and will bloom through fall. If you choose to deadhead (remove dead flower heads), then you may rejuvenate the plant to keep blooming longer. However, if you are a natural gardener (I prefer this term rather than lazy), then leave the seed heads for the birds and for reseeding.
It is a short lived perennial, and in many cases an annual, but it is easy to start from seed. There are several options to start the seeds and depending upon your level of gardening and patience you can sow them in the summer/fall by just letting the dried seed heads fall to the ground (this works great in my zone 7) or you can sow the seeds in the spring after the frost. You can also start them indoors about 4-6 weeks before the date of the last frost in your area.
The only downside in my garden is the red clay soil which is not the preferred soil of the Blanket flower. It does prefer well drained soil but will grow in red clay with some struggle and may end up lanky and sparse. I let it be in my garden but if you prefer to have full lush plant I would invest in 1 plant from your local garden center and grow it for a year to see how it does in your garden. But if you are like me and garden to attract butterflies, bees, and birds, then mix the Gaillardia in with other perennials like Black Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, and other sun loving plants.
I hope when you see this plant in the garden center you consider adding it to your garden. Attracting nature in the garden can be relaxing and rewarding.
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