Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: June 12, 2008

Indian Blanket (aka Blanketflower)
Gaillardia spp.

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Species Native Range: Most of the U.S.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-10
Mature Size: 12-24 inches tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained, sandy
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Indian blanket is an attractive yet tough, versatile, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant annual or short-lived perennial that can take more abuse than many other plants. This member of the aster family is found throughout the United States. I've seen Indian blanket (G. aristata) growing wild in Montana. I've seen it (G. pulchella) used in beach restoration projects in Georgia and North Carolina. It's used on the roadsides as part of the wildflower beautification programs. Given these harsh conditions, it should thrive in your garden.

Starting in late May, the plant produces 1-2 inch daisy-like flowers of yellow, red and orange atop stems that range from 12-24 inches tall. The height of the plant, size of the flowers and the amount of each particular color depends upon the variety. Flowers will continue to be produced right through the hottest part of the summer and into fall. Despite the fact that each plant only lives for 1-2 years, seeds will mature and drop to give you an expanding patch year after year.

Plant Indian blanket in full sun in soil that is well-drained or sandy. On the coast, it can tolerate salt and is a great combination with coastal grasses used for dune stabilization. Plants may suffer with root rot in poorly-draining clay soils.

Grow Indian blanket in a mixed shrub or perennial bed, cottage/cutting garden or wildflower meadow. This plant is easy to start from seed by planting in the fall. Good companion plants include: purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, Stoke's aster, roses, salvias, goldenrod, lavender, etc.


This plant is widely available from retail nurseries or can be ordered from seed:

Jung Seed
Park Seed
Wild Seed Farms

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