What are Blanket Flowers?

Learn more about Blanket Flowers, their different types and how they differ from each other, where they usually grow, how they reproduce, and a few tips on caring for Blanket Flowers.

looking down at beautiful red blanket flowers with yellow tips growing next to purple flowers in a spring garden

Gaillardia

Gaillardia is a genus of flowers that contains over 2 dozen different species. These plant specimens are also part of the asteraceae botanical family, which is the flower plant of sunflowers!

These are a very easy-to-grow but short-lived perennial flower that is native to both North America and South America. These daisy-like flowers are beautifully shaped and colored flowers that would make a wonderful addition to any cottage garden, city balcony, or farmland.

The blanket flower is just one of a ton of Amazing Types of Flowers in our crazy detailed article series. Whether you’re looking to spice up your garden or add some color to your kitchen windowsill, we guarantee you’ll find the right candidate in there!

Table of Contents

Related: Famous Types of Flowers | Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet

Why is it Called a Blanket Flower?

The flower gets its name for two different reasons. Number one being the bright and dramatic natural color patterns that the flower bears, resembling the intricately made blankets made by Native Americans in the flowers’ growing regions.

The second reason being the way that these flowers grow. They are a slowly spreading ground cover type flower, that can densely cover a large surface area, much like laying out a blanket would.

patch of blanket flowers completely covering a garden area with bright red flower heads and lovely green foliage

What do Blanket Flowers Look Like?

Flower

The inflorescence of this plant is a single flower head that will have 15 or more ray florets (which is a petal). Flowers with these types of patterns are usually called a “ray flower”. Depending on the type of blanket flower, it will vary in shape and color.

Flower heads can be anywhere from yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, white, or a combination of any of those colors! Some will have red interiors with yellow tips, and others may have purple interiors with white tips!

Flowers will start to bloom either in early spring or late spring, and blanket flower seed will spread in the late summer.

single blanket flower head in red and yellow on an isolated white background

Stem

The stems of this plant stand erect and grow in a branching pattern. They will sometimes achieve heights of 80 cm (31.5 inches).

Leaves

Blanket flower foliage is a dark green color, and they are simple and ovately shaped. Leaves are alternately arranged along the stem, and some species will only grow basal leaves.

Growth Pattern

These plants will either stand erect, or they will grow as a spreading mound. They can slowly spread across a small distance and cover an area. This sprawl is how the tree gets its name “blanket”.

How do Blanket Flowers Reproduce?

Blanket flowers reproduce through pollination. Insect pollinators are greatly attracted to the bright colors and enticing smell of the flower and will collect its nectar, while simultaneously depositing pollen from another flower it has visited.

Insect pollinators can be anything from a bee, to a butterfly, even wasps, ants, or moths.

single red and yellow blanket flower growing in a garden with a stunning butterfly sitting on the flower head

What are the Common Types of Blanket Flowers?

Gaillardia Aristata

There are several cultivars of gaillardia aristata, including the Arizona Sun, Burgundy Wheels, or Goblin. These are a very resilient wildflower that can often be found growing along roadsides or as landscape plants in public spaces, as they require very little care.

Gaillardia Grandiflora

There are several cultivars of gaillardia grandiflora, including Dazzler, Oranges and Lemons, and the Sun. This variety is resistant to cold, and flowers will bloom from early summer all the way until the first frost of the season.

Gaillardia Pulchella

Gaillardia pulchellais a blanket flower species that was cultivated as an annual plant. Though they share the same physical characteristics as other species, they will continuously bloom each year, and are exceptionally easy to care for.

several different types of blanket flowers all growing in the same garden patch

Where can Blanket Flowers Grow?

Blanket flowers are a native plant to the central United States, and all over Mexico as well. They grow in USDA growing zone 5, and some varieties can survive in zone 3 as well.

How do you Care for a Blanket Flower?

You don’t have to be an expert gardener in order to help a blanket flower patch thrive. Whether you want to plant your seeds indoors or outdoors, whether you’ve propagated your own seeds or gotten a plant from a garden center, these tips should help you along your gardening journey.

Soil

Blanket flowers prefer to live in soils with a pH level anywhere from 6.1-6.5. Soil should be moist but well drained. The gaillardia plant prefers to exist in poor soil, meaning low in nutrients.

Sun Exposure

The blanket flower plant prefers to exist in full sun conditions. Keep this in mind when planting them in your garden.

lovely bunch of growing blanket flowers in a rocky garden with blurry plants in the background

Water Level

When the plant is first establishing itself, it prefers to exist in very moist conditions. Once germination has occurred and it has established itself, it prefers to have occasional watering.

Temperature

Though the flowers of this plant won’t survive past the first frost, they can survive winter temperatures as they are a cold hardy specimen. Flowers will drop in the early fall. That being said, they are a heat loving plant and grow most prosperously in hot climates.

Fertilizer

These flowers seem to perform much better in poor nutrient soils, and therefore do not require fertilizer. Growing gaillardia is easier than you may think!

looking down at a bunch of bright red and pink blanket flowers growing in dark soil

Pruning

The blanket flower (depending on the variety) will be a long lived plant if it is deadheaded at the end of the season. This ensures that the plant will grow back next year. Deadheading is simply plucking off the flower head!

Intolerances

Before a plant is well established, it is intolerant to both drought conditions and waterlogged conditions. They are also shade intolerant.

What are the Uses of Blanket Flowers?

Because blanket flowers are so easy to care for, they can be used in many different settings and instances. Some plantings occur in public landscape settings and along roadsides in mass planting to add a splash of color.

Others occur in gardens and parks to create vibrancy, and of course to attract pollinators! Gotta save those bees! They make for an excellent perennial border plant to help ward away deer and rabbits!

And event though it may seem sad to cut flowers to some, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with plucking a few bunches of wildflower types to create a beautiful bouquet on the way home to a loved one.

incredible spray of blanket flowers growing in a large meadow and sun setting over the horizon

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