Your Guide to Planting Blanket Flower: Tips & Tricks

As spring unfolds, gardeners everywhere are eager to welcome the season's burst of colors into their landscapes by planting blanket flowers. 

The blanket flower (Gaillardia) is a resilient and stunning perennial that adds a pop of color and charm to any garden bed or container. Known for its daisy-like blooms in shades of red, orange, and yellow, planting blanket flower is a favorite among both beginner and seasoned gardeners for its low-maintenance nature and ability to thrive in various conditions.

Choosing the Right Location

Before diving into planting blanket flowers, select the right location for optimal growth. Blanket flowers thrive in full sun, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. 

Ensure the soil is well-drained, as blanket flowers are susceptible to root rot in overly wet conditions. 

If your soil tends to be heavy or compacted, amend it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve drainage and fertility.

How To Plant Blanket Flowers: Step-by-Step Guide

Once you've identified the perfect spot, it's time to grow blanket flowers. Follow these simple steps for successful blanket flower planting:

Step 1: Prepare the Soil

Before placing your blanket flowers in the ground, take the time to prepare the soil properly. Using a garden fork or shovel, loosen the soil to a depth of 10-12 inches. This aerates the soil, allowing for better root penetration and nutrient absorption. 

Additionally, remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area to provide a clean, unobstructed environment for your new plants to thrive.

Step 2: Spacing

Proper spacing is crucial for the healthy development of blanket flowers. Depending on the specific variety you're planting, aim to space them approximately 12-18 inches apart. 

This generous spacing allows for adequate air circulation between plants, reducing the risk of fungal diseases and promoting vigorous growth. It also provides ample room for the plants to spread out and flourish without competing for resources.

Step 3: Digging Holes

When it's time to dig the holes for your blanket flowers, remember that size matters. Digging holes that are slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the plant is key. This extra space encourages the roots to spread out and establish themselves more effectively, ultimately leading to healthier, more robust plants. 

Take care not to compact the soil at the bottom of the hole as you dig, as loose soil promotes better root growth.

Step 4: Planting

Now that your soil is prepared and the holes are dug, it's time to carefully plant your blanket flowers. Start by gently removing the plant from its nursery container, taking care not to disturb the roots excessively. 

Place the plant in the center of the prepared hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball sits level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with soil, pressing gently to eliminate any air pockets around the roots. 

Water the newly planted flower thoroughly to settle the soil and provide essential hydration to the roots.

Step 5: Mulching

After planting your blanket flowers, the final step is to apply a layer of mulch around the base of each plant. Mulch serves multiple purposes, including retaining moisture in the soil, suppressing weed growth, and regulating soil temperature. 

Choose organic mulches such as bark chips or straw, as they gradually break down over time, enriching the soil with organic matter. Apply a layer of mulch approximately 2-3 inches thick, taking care to leave a small gap between the mulch and the stems of the plants to prevent rot and disease.

Blanket Flower Care and Maintenance

In the initial year of growth, proper watering and maintenance are essential for the establishment of healthy blanket flowers. Follow these guidelines to ensure your plants thrive:

Watering

When it comes to watering newly planted blanket flowers, consistency is key. These plants prefer soil that is consistently moist but not waterlogged. 

During the initial establishment period, typically the first year after planting, it's essential to keep a close eye on soil moisture levels. Water the blanket flowers regularly, especially during dry spells, ensuring that the soil remains evenly moist. 

However, be cautious not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other issues. 

Once the blanket flowers are well-established, usually after the first growing season, they become more drought-tolerant and require watering only during extended periods of dry weather.

Fertilizing

Blanket flowers generally do not require heavy fertilization to thrive. Too much fertilizer can have adverse effects, such as promoting leggy growth and reducing flower production.

Instead, opt for a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied sparingly in early spring. This provides the plants with the necessary nutrients to support healthy growth and abundant blooming throughout the season without risking nutrient imbalances or excessive vegetative growth. 

Remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying fertilizer to avoid overfeeding the plants.

Deadheading

Deadheading spent flowers is a simple yet effective technique for prolonging the blooming period of blanket flowers. Regular deadheading removes faded blooms before they have a chance to go to seed, redirecting the plant's energy into producing new flower buds instead. 

To deadhead blanket flowers, simply pinch off the spent flowers at the base of the stem using your fingers or a pair of pruners. This encourages the development of new buds and ensures a continuous display of colorful blooms throughout the growing season. 

Make deadheading part of your regular garden maintenance routine, checking the plants every few days during peak blooming periods for any spent flowers that need removal.

Dividing

Over time, blanket flower clumps can become overcrowded, leading to reduced flowering and overall plant vigor. Dividing the clumps every few years helps rejuvenate the plants and prevent them from becoming too congested. The best time to divide blanket flowers is in early spring or late summer when the weather is mild and the plants are actively growing. 

To divide the clumps, carefully dig up the entire plant using a garden fork or shovel, taking care to preserve as much of the root system as possible. Use a sharp knife or garden shears to separate the clump into smaller sections, each containing several healthy shoots and roots. 

Replant the divided sections in well-prepared soil, and water thoroughly, and continue to care for them as usual. 

Dividing blanket flowers not only promotes better plant health but also allows you to expand your garden's floral display with minimal effort.

Start Planting Blanket Flowers Today

With proper care and attention, your blanket flowers will reward you with a profusion of colorful blooms from spring through fall. These cheerful flowers not only attract pollinators like bees and butterflies but also add a cheerful flair to borders, rock gardens, and containers. 

Whether you're a novice gardener or a seasoned enthusiast, planting blanket flowers is sure to bring joy and beauty to your outdoor space this spring.

Start planting blanket flowers today! Happy gardening!

Blanket Flower - TN Nursery

Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower is a perennial wildflower known for its vibrant, daisy-like blooms with red or yellow petals and dark center disks. Often found in prairies and gardens, it attracts pollinators and adds color to landscapes. Blanket Flower is the perfect choice when you’re craving warmth. This radiant wildflower with an extended blooming season will light up your garden with a kaleidoscope of glowing colors. There are roughly 30 species of the genus Gaillardia. Multiple legends surround the name. The simplest indicates that it comes from the tendency of these plants to blanket the ground with vibrant blooms quickly. Another suggests that the name comes from the way thriving patches of these plants are reminiscent of brightly patterned Native American types. One story links the inspiration for the plant's name to the gorgeous blooms that repeatedly appeared on the grave of a talented Native American weaver famous for creating richly hued blankets. The Blanket Flower's Vibrant Fiery Colors They are available in an array of hot colors. Yellows, oranges, peaches, reds, maroons, and burgundies are common. The flowers are intensely colored and framed by silver-green foliage that’s slightly hairy. The color is vivid and long-lasting. These plants bloom repeatedly throughout the summer and into the fall. Aesthetics Of It Generally, they have daisy-like flowers that feature multiple rays around a central disc. These rays can be in a single or double layer. There may be flat or trumpet-shaped petals. Some flowerheads offer a single, vibrant hue. Others boast bands of colors, resulting in a striking ombre effect. They send up stems with a single bloom measuring two and four inches. The plants typically reach heights of 12 to 18 inches, but they can grow up to 36 inches tall. Pollinators Love It Blanket Flowers are an excellent way to add more color to any space, and their blooms last well in gardens and vases. They are heat—and drought-tolerant and withstand deer, rabbits, and groundhogs while attracting bees, butterflies, and birds. Their ability to blanket the ground with a carpet of color makes them a popular choice for borders, roadside plantings, and ground covers. They also thrive in rock gardens, cottage gardens, and pollinator gardens. The Blanket Flower is known for its resilience, daisy-like appearance, and brightly burning colors. With varying color palettes, it is an ideal choice to add brightness and warmth to your garden. So today, we will spotlight this unique plant and describe why it would be a great addition to your landscape. The Beauty of the Blanket Flower  Their color is in the central disc, which can be made up of small fertile blooms. The center of the disc is typically yellow but graduates to a blazing red, maroon, or orange around the fringe. The daisy-like petals also adopt a deep red, burgundy, or pink coloration, where they meet with the disc but soften to a yellow or orange near the tip.  The blanket flower's hot color palette is reminiscent of summer warmth, commensurate with its summer and fall bloom times. The stem holds the bloom upright about 12 to 31 inches above the soil. The foliage is typically a silvery green that provides a natural counterpoint to the wild colors of the bloom head.  Their blooms are typically between 2 and 4 inches in diameter. The vivid colors command attention, making great statement pieces in gardens. While there are many theories about how this plant got its name, one posits that it comes from its ability to cover the ground it inhabits. Depending on growing conditions, they can be annual or perennial, making them an excellent choice for adding seasonal color to outdoor spaces.  Aside from attracting attention from visitors, they will also draw in butterflies and bees who love their nectar and seeds. Their complexion is inherently reminiscent of bustling life, and their natural role as hosts for pollinators keeps up with the theme of humming wildlife. This is an ideal plant to inject vibrancy and vigor into your landscape.  What Are the Benefits of Them?  They are an easy planting choice when you know about their practical benefits. Here are just a few of them:  Heat and Drought Resistant - They are naturally heat and Drought-resistant, which makes them a great choice if you want to spend less time watering. They adapt well to dry soils and are even resistant to the cold. Remember that they are native plants, so maintenance is generally low.  They Attract Pollinators-There are few things more fulfilling than seeing your backyard or garden brimming with natural life. They attract pollinating bees and butterflies, and the seeds that the fertile florets of the central disc produce are a food source for birds like the goldfinch.  Excellent Ground Coverage-They are ideal if you are looking to border a garden bed or any area of your land with low-maintenance yet colorful blooms. As the terminology alludes to, they can carpet the ground where they are planted, making creating a natural edge around your garden beds or garden easy.  Pest-resistant-They attract pollinators and beautiful birds but deter destructive wildlife like rabbits, deer, and groundhogs.  Native Species: As a species native to North America, they naturally work well with other native plants. They can share a mixed bed with coreopsis, coneflower, sunflowers, and other native species. Their bright colors contrast the muted shades of ornamental grasses, and blue-blooming blooms nicely. However, they can also be paired with plants that burn with vivid colors, like the purple coneflower.  F.A.Q.s  There's a lot to know about them, so let's review some of the questions gardeners and landscapers usually ask.  Do They Come Back Every Year? They bloom multiple times in the summer and fall. Depending on the level of maintenance and the growing conditions, they can be either annual or perennial. Their average lifespan is two years. However, this lifespan can be extended with careful deadheading.  Do They Like Sun or Shade?  Their seeds are light and warm to germinate, and the plant is in full sun. Typically, it would help if you gave these plants as much sun as possible.  Should They Be Cut Back in the Fall?  Deadheading them is optional but could prolong their lifespan since they must dedicate more resources to producing seeds. If you deadhead them, do it in the late summer or early fall. The plant should be reduced to about 6 inches to encourage winter survival.  What is a Good Companion Plant for Them?  Other native species work well alongside them. You can pair them with other daisy-like species like Echinacea and Black Eyed Susans. Their penetrating colors also complement the toned-down hues of ornamental grasses.  What Month Do They Bloom?  Typically, they bloom multiple times a season, starting in early summer. The blooming season can last until fall, providing visual interest for several months.  Do Blanket Flowers Attract Hummingbirds Yes. The fertile florets of its central disc attract all kinds of pollinators, making it handy for hummingbird gardens or anyone who wants to provide a sanctuary for wildlife.  Your Plants Are Here  Whether you want to add stunning color or understated foliage to your garden, we have what you need here at T.N. Nursery. For over 64 years, we have provided professional landscapers and home gardeners with various native plants that are easy to grow and stunningly beautiful. Make your garden everything you want it to be with our plants!

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