Plant of the week: Gaillardia

Blan­ket flow­ers re­ward with bright daisies through­out sum­mer

Garden News (UK) - - News -

The blan­ket flower, or gaillardia, is one of those peren­ni­als that loves to please. Once es­tab­lished, this valu­able gar­den as­set will pro­duce a suc­ces­sion of cheer­ful daisies in warm yel­low, apri­cot or zingy red tones from early sum­mer into au­tumn.

These fast grow­ing, eye­catch­ing plants come from the prairie re­gions of north­ern USA and south­ern Canada. They like moist, but well-drained con­di­tions in full sun, but will tol­er­ate drier con­di­tions once es­tab­lished. They’re gen­er­ally short-lived, two to three years in the case of G. aris­tata or an­nu­als, such as G. pul­chella. A hy­brid be­tween the two, G. gran­di­flora, which is a short-lived peren­nial, forms the ba­sis of the 25 or so va­ri­eties found in gar­dens. You can en­cour­age the more peren­nial va­ri­eties to sur­vive win­ter by re­mov­ing spent flow­ers in late sum­mer. Avoid­ing wet or over-rich soil, or shaded po­si­tions will also help. Taller forms are prone to flop when in flower, so grow­ing them in more spartan con­di­tions will keep them more compact. They’re use­ful for fill­ing gaps or plant­ing in clumps with other sum­mer peren­ni­als, such as monarda, he­le­nium or an­themis.

Gaillardia is eas­ily grown from seed, even the peren­nial types quickly form plants that are highly likely to flower the same year if sown early enough, or the fol­low­ing year if sown later. They can also be bought as plugs

or es­tab­lished plants, when they can be planted at any time.

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