Companions For Blanket Flowers: Learn About Blanket Flower Companions
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By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
Whether planting a formal flower bed or working to create a carefree wildflower meadow, Gaillardia remains a popular choice for home gardeners. Also known as blanket flower, these plants get their name from the bright, colorful blooms and ability to quickly spread within a growing space.
Planning an ornamental garden that incorporates blanket flowers will be both rewarding and beautiful, as long as some consideration is taken at planting time.
Choosing Companions for Blanket Flowers
Blanket flower can be grown from seed or starter plants can be purchased from local garden centers. Regardless, growers will need to place the flower in a well-draining location that receives full sun. While blanket flower does well when planted alone, more plants to grow with Gaillardias can elevate its appeal and bring in additional pollinators.
When choosing companions for blanket flowers, it will be important to consider several factors. While annual flowers will need to be replaced every year, perennials will help keep future maintenance low.
Companions for blanket flowers should also share similar growing conditions. Gaillardia is a drought tolerant plant which is able to thrive in soil with low fertility. This aspect makes it an ideal candidate for less desirable planting areas in the yard. Other wildflowers with the same qualities are among the best plants to grow with Gaillardias.
What Plants to Grow with Gaillardias
The selection of blanket flower companion plants will also depend upon bloom time. Gaillardia plants have a long bloom period, often flowering from early summer into fall. While some blanket flower companion plants may also have extended periods of bloom, growers may want to consider plants with several different bloom windows in order to maintain visual interest throughout the entire season.
With their tall, wiry stems and red yellow blooms, the choices of companion plants for blanket flowers are limitless. Among the most popular combinations are:
- Shasta Daisies
While plants like coreopsis provide complementary color and shape, those such as daylily offer reliable and consistent bloom times. By carefully weighing and researching each option, growers are able to better select flower companions which best suit the overall design of their growing space.
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Read more about Blanket Flower
Blanket Flowers: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
About blanket flowers
Produced above a clump of hairy, narrow, gray-green leaves, the blossoms of perennial blanket flower have petals that may be solid colored shades of yellow, wine red , orange or peach, or may be banded in combinations of red or orange with yellow. The petals of some are frilled, while others have a unique, tubular shape. Sizes range from 10-12 inch high dwarfs to selections as tall as 24-30 inches. All are easy care plants with few insect or disease problems and most are hardy in zones 3-9.
There is also an annual blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) that is easy to grow from seed. Start seeds early indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost, transplanting to the garden when the weather has warmed. In warm-winter areas, sow seeds directly in late fall or very early spring. Varieties are available with single, double and semi-double flowers.
Special features of blanket flowers
Besides attracting butterflies, blanket flowers can be grown in containers and the taller cultivars make nice cut flowers. Here are some popular cutivars of the perennial Gaillardia x grandiflora:
Gaillardia 'Ariziona Sun' This 8-10 inch high variety sports masses of bright orange-red blossoms tipped with yellow on a dwarf plant.
Gaillardia 'Fanfare' Unusual, trumpet-shaped petals of deep red tipped with yellow on a 14 inch high plant surround a burnt orange center.
Gaillardia 'Tokajer' With marmalade-orange flowers that shade subtly to peach at the tips, this 2 foot tall variety may need staking.
Gaillardia 'Burgundy' As its name suggests, this variety bears large, 3 inch wide wine-red blossoms on a 24-30 inch tall plant.
Gaillardia 'Oranges and Lemons' This variety offers softer colors than other blanket flowers, with peach-colored, yellow-tipped blossoms with gold central cones on a 2 foot tall plant. Hardy in zones 5-9.
Choosing a site to grow blanket flowers
Full sun and very well-drained soil are musts for blanket flowers to thrive. They prefer loose, sandy soil that isn't overly fertile with a pH near neutral or slightly alkaline. Established plants are quite drought tolerant.
Container grown plants can be set out throughout the growing season, but spring or fall planting is ideal. Space dwarf cultivars about a foot apart taller varieties should be set about 18 inches apart. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Deadhead plants regularly to encourage more flowering. Blanket flowers are often relatively short-lived. Cutting back clumps to 6 inches in late summer often increases their chances of winter survival. You can also keep your plants vigorous by dividing them every 2-3 years in spring or early fall. Water newly set out or divided plants regularly until they become established. Blanket flowers have few insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids and leafhoppers that can spread a virus-like disease called aster yellows. Control insects with insecticidal soap, if needed, and destroy any plants that are stunted with flowers that remain green, as these are infected with aster yellows.
Pests and Diseases
These plants are usually problem-free but are susceptible to virus-transmitted disease. It can affect plant growth and flower production. Disease spread by leafhoppers and aphids. Predatory pests such as Lady Bugs should be encouraged. You can also use spray with insecticidal soap.
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