How to Grow Blanket Flower

Hungry for color? Make room for blanket flower in your garden. It’s an easy-to-grow flower powerhouse that blooms all season long.

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: All-America Selections at All-AmericaSelections.org

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: Terra Nova Nurseries at TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: Terra Nova Nurseries at TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: Terra Nova Nurseries at TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: Terra Nova Nurseries at TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: ProvenWinners.com

Mesa Yellow + Mesa Bright Bicolor

Carve out a spot for blanket flower in your garden and you’ll be rewarded with a long season of colorful blossoms. This pretty bloomer is a native wildflower that’s related to sunflowers. Like its sunny cousin, blanket flower is undemanding in the garden, a low-maintenance plant that opens blossoms with hues in shades of gold, orange and red. Most blanket flowers are winter hardy perennials. These varieties are Mesa blanket flowers (Gaillardia x grandiflora): Mesa Yellow (left) and Mesa Bright Bicolor, hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Mesa Bright Bicolor

Because the flower show is so strong and colorful, blanket flower can easily hold its own in a container. This beauty is Mesa Bright Bicolor blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora). Its blooms offer intense, non-fading color that stands up to wind and rain. It’s the perfect plant for regions with frequent summer thunderstorms. If you grow blanket flower in a pot, the easiest way to overwinter it is transplanting it into a planting bed for winter. Just be sure to do so at least six weeks prior to fall frost in your region. Mulch the soil well after it freezes. Plants grow 14" to 16" tall and 20" to 22" wide. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Mesa Yellow

Blanket flowers make an ideal addition to wildlife gardens, because the flowers never stop. The blooms beckon all kinds of pollinators, including bees, butterflies and beneficial insects. Seed heads on plants are a winter favorite of seed-eating birds like goldfinches and native finches. Blanket flowers are versatile in the garden, working well in many theme gardens, including cutting, low water-use and native plant gardens. This blanket flower variety is Mesa Yellow. The Mesa varieties all grow well from seed. Plants grow 14" to 16" tall and 20" to 22" wide. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Mesa Peach

In planting beds or pots, try pairing blanket flower with strappy-leaf plants. Ornamental grasses are a go-to partner because their finer texture beautifully balancing the coarse plant form of blanket flower. The grass in this pot is ColorGrass Sirocco Anemanthele (A. lessoniana), a type of stipa or feather grass. Other fine texture plants to grow with blanket flower include daylily, New Zealand flax (Phormium) and liriope. This blanket flower is Mesa Peach. The Mesa varieties all grow well from seed. Plants grow 14" to 16" tall and 20" to 22" wide. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Mesa Peach

Create a pot filled with an eye-pleasing palette all season long thanks to a blend of perennial bloomers. Mesa Peach blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora, hardy in Zones 5-9) leads the color parade, complemented by Blue Spear English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, hardy in Zones 6 to 8) and PowWow Wildberry purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, hardy in Zones 4 to 10). Annual vine Silver Falls dichondra (D. argentea) provides a cooling cascade for the pot’s stronger hues. Give container perennials a permanent spot in your garden in early fall to enjoy their flowers in years to come.

‘Arizona Sun’

Blazing orange-red petals edged with gold, paint the blossoms on ‘Arizona Sun’ blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora). ‘Arizona Sun’ is a perennial variety of this native wildflower and a previous All-America Selections Winner. It opens large with 3" blooms from early summer well into fall. With most blanket flowers, you don’t need to remove spent blooms, but doing so does keep the plant from directing energy to seed formation, instead of flowers. Arizona Sun' grows 8" to 10" tall, forming clumps up to 10" wide. It's hardy in Zones 3 to 10.

‘Arizona Apricot’

Blanket flower is super easy to grow and really undemanding when it comes to care. Plants thrive in full sun and grow best in poor soil. If your soil is sandy and fast-draining, you should be able to grow gorgeous blanket flower. Heavy soils that don’t drain well are the number one reason blanket flower dies. If that’s the kind of soil you have, try growing blanket flower in containers, berms or raised beds. ‘Arizona Apricot’ unfurls 3" to 3-1/2" blooms from early summer into fall. Plants grow 12" tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 10.

‘Arizona Red Shades’

Blanket flower is genetically programmed to bloom. It will literally bloom itself to death, which is why it’s typically called a short-lived perennial. On average, blanket flower lasts about two years. Some varieties and hybrids readily self-sow, so it’s a good idea toward the end of the growing season to let a few flowers form spherical seed heads. You can sprinkle the seeds in the garden. Just be aware that young blanket flowers resemble dandelions, so it’s a good idea to mark the areas where you sprinkle seed. ‘Arizona Red Shades’ (Gaillardia x grandiflora) grows 10" to 12" tall and 10" wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 10.

‘Sun Devil’

Ignite your garden with the bright colors of ‘Sun Devil’ blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora). This variety is a hybrid of two blanket flower species: Gaillardia aristata (perennial type) and Gaillardia pulchella (annual form). The hybrid retains the best of both species, creating plants that tend to open big blossoms on long stems, perfect for cutting. ‘Sun Devil’ fits that bill. Plants form a leafy mound that is 8" tall and 12" wide and the flowers grow another 8" on top of that, offering stems perfect for picking. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

‘Sun Devil’

Blanket flower adds a punch of color to garden beds. Because it’s a short-lived perennial, many gardeners dig and divide plants every two to three years to keep the plants growing strongly. When working with blanket flower, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. The hairy leaves contain compounds known as lactones that can cause contact dermatitis — a red, itchy rash — in susceptible individuals. In colder zones, cut plants back to 6" in late summer to help them survive winter. This blanket flower is ‘Sun Devil’ (Gaillardia x grandiflora), which grows 8" tall (14" with flowers) and 12" wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

‘Red Sun’

Imagine filling a neglected corner of your garden with bright blooming color. ‘Red Sun’ blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) can do just that, thanks to its ability to withstand heat, sun, drought and poor soil. The beauty of blanket flowers is that it’s a prairie native, which means it can take the tough stuff and still bloom its head off. Good planting companions for blanket flower include other prairie flowers, such as coreopsis, liatris, achillea and purple coneflower. 'Red Sun’ plants form a leafy mound that’s 10" tall (14" with flowers) and 12" wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

‘Sun Flare’

Bold blossom colors probably earned blanket flower its name, according to one story that says these bright flowers carpeted the grave of a revered Native American blanket weaver. The name is also said to pay homage to the hues of Native American blankets, as well as the way the plant covers the prairie in a quilt of sunny-hued blooms. Whatever the case, the name suits this perennial, which literally blankets a planting bed with a colorful cover. ‘Sun Flare’ blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) features distinct trumpet shape petals with multiple hues. Plants form a leafy mound that’s 8" tall (10" with flowers) and 20" wide. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

Heat It Up Scarlet and Yellow

Blanket flower is also a terrific choice for cottage gardens, where its high-flowering potential blends beautifully with traditional cottage plants like larkspur, pinks and lady’s mantle. In the garden, cool blanket flower’s bold blossom hues with gray or silver plants (lamb’s ears, santolina, lavender) or deep burgundy toned plants (alternanthera, purple millet, amaranthus). This planting features Heat It Up Scarlet and Yellow blanket flowers with Sweet Caroline Red Hawk sweet potato vine. Heat It Up blanket flowers grow 12" to 24" tall and spread 18" to 36". Typically grown as an annual, but hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Heat It Up Scarlet

Summer sizzles when you include Heat It Up Scarlet blanket flower in your plantings. It’s a natural thriller in a pot, especially when paired with filler calibrachoa (Superbells Double Amber) and spiller sweet potato vine (Sweet Caroline Red Hawk). In the garden, blanket flower doesn’t need a lot of extra water once it’s established. With blanket flower in pots, water like a typical summer container garden, whenever the soil is dry. Heat It Up Scarlet grows 12" to 24" tall and spreads 18" to 36". Typically grown as an annual, but hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Heat It Up Yellow

A newcomer to the market, Heat It Up Yellow blanket flower hit garden centers in 2020. Its sunny hued blooms open reliably all season long and make the perfect addition to containers or planting beds. In this pot, blanket flower sparkles when paired with a dark leaf sun-loving coleus (Color Blaze Wicked Witch) and orange calibrachoa (Superbells Dreamsicle). Like other blanket flowers, Heat It Up Yellow has no pest or disease problems and is deer and rabbit resistant. Plants grow 12" to 24" tall and spread 18" to 36". It's typically grown as an annual, but hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Heat It Up Yellow

Blanket flower is adaptable in the garden and in containers. It grows well in hanging baskets, cascading in a just-right way as it flowers without missing a blooming beat. This basket combination features Heat It Up Yellow blanket flower, Superbena Red verbena hybrid and Luscious Citrus Blend lantana (L. camara). In a hanging basket, blanket flower is heat tolerant and loves sunshine. Heat It Up Yellow blanket flower grows 12" to 24" tall and spreads 18" to 36". Typically grown as an annual, but hardy in Zones 8-10.

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