Blanket Flower Guide: Growing Blanket Flowers, Types, Care Tips (ID Charts)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 28, 2024

Woman looking closely at blanket flower types after learning how to identify types of blanket flowers, how to plant blanket flower varieties, growing zones, and planting and care tips.

Out of all the types of flowers in the world, the rich colors of the Blanket Flower plant have the power to transform your entire landscape with their deep, vibrant blooms and their lovely scent.

Moreover, Blanket flowers, like many other brightly colored plants, are great at attracting pollinators to your garden.

And, they can be grown in a variety of ways.

This complete guide outlines how to recognize and grow Blanket flower types, and provides key care tips to ensure that your plants thrive.

Blanket Flower

(Gaillardia X Grandiflora)

Blanket Flower image in an oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Gaillardia
  • Leaf: Grayish green tinge, quite soft and feels a little bit hairy to the touch
  • Seed: Shaped like miniature torpedoes, easily separated from the dried flowers, and are perfect for propagation
  • Blossoms: Blooms in the early part of summer in dazzling colors of yellow, orange, red, peach, and purple, as well as a combination of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  • Native Habitat: Often found in prairies and in wide open meadows
  • Height: Can grow up to three feet
  • Canopy: Width can vary from one foot up to two feet, depending on the hybrid type
  • Type: The hybrid varieties of this plant enable it to be an annual or a perennial
  • Native Growing Zone: South America and North America, thriving in USDA hardiness zones 3 -10

How To Identify Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

The heads of the flowers are about two to three inches wide on average with bright yellow tips, while the center is an array of orange, red, and purple colors surrounded by alternate leaves that often have smooth or slightly serrated edges.1

It is not uncommon if you mistakenly identify a Blanket Flower as a daisy, as it does look very similar, but it is in fact more closely related to the sunflower plant.

Graphic showing how to identify Blanket flower plant, with images of the Blanket flower, Blanket flower leaves, and Blanket flower seeds inside circular frames.

And if you’re wondering where the name came from, look no further than the red and yellow pattern on the flowers themselves. Centuries ago, native Americans wove blankets with similar colors to the flowers, and the resemblance was so close that they became associated one with the other, and the plant was then forever known as the “Blanket Flower.”

Growing a Blanket Flower From a Seed

Most climates within the hardiness zones allow the planting of seeds at any time of the year to give you that flexibility, or you can wait until spring when the last frost has gone, to begin sowing with other plants in your garden.

With just a little bit of research, you will discover that not only is Gaillardia a richly colored perennial that blooms for long periods but that this species is also great for container growing and for staging along borders.

In zones 9-10, it would be better for you to start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Whereas, for mild winter areas, you can plant seeds in pots in the early spring to be transplanted outside when the soil warms up mid-spring.

Blanket Flowers in these areas are hardy perennials that will bloom almost year-round in your garden.2

If your intention is to sow the seeds directly into your garden, make sure you rake the dirt around the area so it is debris-free and then disperse the seeds over the well-worked soil.

Once the area has been cleared, and the seeds have been scattered, don’t forget to water the ground thoroughly.

Bear in mind, however, that Blanket Flower seeds need sunshine to germinate, so you should merely sprinkle the seeds lightly with soil to hold them in place rather than smother them with a mountain of dirt. Or, if you prefer, you can use no soil at all and let nature take its course.

After this has been done, all you have to do to encourage seed germination is to lightly spray the soil and maintain a wet environment for a few weeks.

Transplanting a Blanket Flower Seedling

If you are planting seeds in starter pots with the intention of transplanting them outside when they have become seedlings, make sure you start them off in moist, high-quality seed-starting soil in a container with drainage holes.

When the seedlings are three to four inches tall, you can plant them out in the garden in a location where they will get full sun exposure for six to eight hours a day.

To start the transplanting process you will need to dig holes that are slightly bigger than the root balls. And if you’re wondering how far apart to plant Blanket Flowers, just allow a distance of 6 to 12 inches apart if you’re planting more than one.

Then carefully remove each plant from its container so as not to damage the roots in any way, loosen the dirt if it is slightly compacted, and then place it in the hole.

Mixing organic compost with your garden soil will help to create a healthy structure and assist with good drainage. At this stage, it is a good idea to apply a layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress any unwanted weeds from settling nearby.

Forget to lay down a layer of mulch, however, and you may only be able to recognize a few of those weeds from a photo that might appear as if from nowhere. Not one of them that pops up is going to be good news for any of the plants you have painstakingly planted and nurtured, so don’t forget to mulch.6

Also, to ensure that the roots grow well, it’s important that you water the soil thoroughly right after planting. Don’t overdo it, but just make sure that the soil is damp, and over the next few days check the surface so it does not dry out without you noticing.

Fortunately, as soon as the roots become settled and established, the Blanket Flower won’t be so thirsty. Unless the weather becomes unbearably hot and dry for an extended period, you don’t need to water the bed too often.

If the temperature does skyrocket, then just bear in mind that you may have to water it once or twice a week, but even under those circumstances try not to overwater them as that can be just as detrimental to the health of your new Gaillardias.

Blanket Flower Growth Rate (How Long It Takes To Grow Blanket Flowers)

It usually takes about two or three weeks for the seeds of your new Blanket Flowers to germinate. Although the majority of perennial Blanket Flowers produce blooms in the year of planting, the quality of their display actually improves with each passing year.

Graphics of Blanket flower growth rate chart showing sapling to full grown images of the plant with height range based on age.

(Data from: NC State Extension14 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison15)

While Blanket Flower plants started from seed may not bloom for another year or two, those started in a nursery setting usually do so in the very first year. From the very beginning, they will surprise you as they are quick growers, and they will fill out your flower beds before you know it.

Blanket Flower Bloom Time

If you are not plugged into the green vine, which is similar to the grapevine, then you are probably unaware that this plant has recently enjoyed a renaissance in popularity because of its exceptional ability to withstand long periods of drought, and its easy-to-grow nature.

All of which makes it an ideal option for eco-conscious landscape designers who are searching for a hardy, drought-tolerant plant. Blanket Flowers grow exceptionally well in poor soil conditions and will specifically thrive in areas in your backyard garden that are exposed to a full day of direct sunlight where other plants may be burnt to a crisp.

Exactly how much sunlight does Blanket Flower need each day, you may ask?

Well, there is no doubt that the Blanket Flower is a sun worshipper. If you make sure that it gets anywhere from six to eight hours of full, not partial, sun a day, then it will bloom gloriously from the early part of June until the first signs of frost start to creep in across your lawn.

Best Growing Conditions for Blanket Flowers

Whether landscape gardening is a passion of yours or just a casual hobby, you will still want to make sure that the flowers you’re planting in your garden will survive rather than wither and die as soon as you glance in the other direction.

You will be pleased to know that the growing zones for Blanket Flowers, where to grow them will not keep you awake at night, as they are surprisingly easy to grow once they have become established and as tough as they come when it comes to their maintenance needs.

Because of their hardiness and ability to thrive even in challenging ground conditions where the soil may lack nutrients and cause problems for other plant types,5 you won’t have to worry about the watering needs for Blanket Flower plants even during long, hot summers.

Fortunately, despite its well-deserved reputation for heat and drought tolerance, Gaillardia can also live in USDA Zones as chilly as zone three, which can get as cold as -30°F to -40°F.

So, as long as you live within USDA zones 3-10, which cover most of the United States, you will be able to flex your green skills with any one of the 25-30 types of Blanket Flower species.

Blanket Flower Care (Blanket Flower Leaves)

One of the easiest methods of caring for your Blanket Flowers is to incorporate a natural pest control for Blanket Flowers which will also serve to eliminate the common pests of the Blanket Flower such as aphids, thrips, and leafhoppers.7

To protect the leaves and care for your plants, spraying with neem oil diluted with water will prove to be a potent protector for your Gaillardia against most types of foreign invaders.

Deadheading and pruning will promote new growth, and as long as a few companion plants are sown close by, any maintenance tasks you generally have to do with other plants will be eliminated, leaving you more time to sit back, relax, put your feet up, and enjoy the view of the new Blanket Flowers growing contentedly in your garden.

Companion Plants For Growing Blanket Flowers

This is a well-known method of lightening your maintenance workload by naturally warding off any infectious diseases that may try to get a death grip on any of your plants.

They also serve to keep annoying pests at bay from other nearby flora and fauna, often creating an impenetrable barrier to all sorts of invasive pests and diseases.

If you situate a few of the following in your garden, you will be amazed at how many different types of butterflies, birds, and bees flock to your flower beds, and they will help to keep your Blanket Flowers nice and healthy.

Gaillardia Varieties

Because there are nearly 30 types of Blanket Flowers, you can rest assured that there is at least one that will fit nicely into your garden.

You don’t even have to be concerned about when to plant Blanket Flowers for the best yield as some of them can be planted in the autumn in warmer climates and others at any time of year.

If you’re looking for an annual flower to complement the plants you already have or a vibrant red and yellow flower to liven up your lawn, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Here are just a few of the amazing Blanket Flower options you can choose from:

A bumblebee sits atop the raised center of a Firewheel Flower with vibrant red petals and yellow tips.

(Image: PurpleOwl8)

Gaillardia pulchella (aka The Indian Blanket Flower or Firewheel Flower)

With rich red colors, a reddish brown center, and yellow tips, the Firewheel name is very descriptive of this variety of the Blanket flower.

Depending on your planting zone, it can be a flashy annual or a perennial that only lives for a short period of time.

Still, it will bloom late in the spring and continue to impress you and brighten your landscape well into the fall. It grows up to two feet in height with two-inch flower heads and can be grown in planting zones 2 to 11.

Gaillardia aristata

This variety is definitely a showstopper with its multicolored sunburst of reds and bright yellows.

The Gaillardia aristata is also quite large, spanning about three inches in width, nearly three feet tall, and nestled within long, six-inch hairy leaves.4

A Gaillardia ‘Aristata’ flower with bright red-orange petals and yellow tips while a bee sits atop its brownish center, with the entire flowerhead surrounded by dark green leaves at the bottom.

(Image: David J. Stang9)

One of the easiest plants to grow, it requires very little attention to thrive, but you should still practice good Blanket Flower disease prevention methods and keep a watchful eye out for powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases if you accidentally overwater or inadvertently soak the leaves.

Growing best in zones three to eight, the aristata is native from North Dakota all the way to British Columbia.

A single Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’ flower with a daisy-like appearance of rich wine-red, velvety petals convening on a central yellow disk.

(Image: David J. Stang10)

Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’

Due to their very lengthy blooming season, Blanket Flowers such as the Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’ are highly prized for summer borders, and you can’t go wrong if you choose this deep red variety.

The petals of this long and attractive specimen are a rich burgundy red hue that surrounds a darker core that sports a sunburst yellow at the very center.

Not only will you be able to appreciate this flower in your garden as it attracts bees and butterflies, but it also makes excellent cutting flowers to be displayed indoors.

Adaptable to be grown in hardiness zones two to nine, caring for them couldn’t be easier, and you can promote continuous flowering by pruning away withered flowers to allow new ones to grow in their place.

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’

Accustomed to growing in USDA planting zones three to nine, this species is as flamboyant and an outstanding version of a Blanket Flower as it’s possible to get.

Its eye-catching and distinguishing features are the petals which are shaped like golden miniature trumpets that flare outwards from a velvety red center.

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ blooms surrounded by green leaves in the background, highlighting the flowers' unique pinwheel appearance with tubular florets that are red at the base and yellow on the tips, all convening into a central red disk.

(Image: Laitche11)

Despite its delicate appearance, it can withstand temperatures of -30°F, and applying a fertilizer on a monthly basis and removing any dead heads, will ensure that it will stick around for months on end in your garden.

Gaillardia 'Mesa Yellow' plant with green lance-shaped leaves and cheerfully bright yellow flowers.

(Image: F. D. Richards12)

Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’

The golden brightness of this species is more than impressive, as is the sheer quantity of flowers this herbaceous perennial plant produces. It actually blooms earlier than other varieties and maintains the bright yellow that is famous for the entire season; just one of the traits that has enabled it to win numerous performance awards.

It is easy to grow, is low-maintenance, attracts its fair share of beneficial pollinators, and is fairly resistant to pests and diseases.

Blanket Flower Facts

Perfect for edging garden paths or rock gardens, Blanket Flowers are growing in popularity, so to speak. They have been around for quite a few centuries now, and there are some interesting facts about them that you might just not know.

  • The scientific name for the Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, was named after a French botanist in the 18th century called Maître Gaillard de Charentonneau.
  • A compound called sesquiterpene lactones found in the leaves can cause skin irritations for sensitive individuals, so you should always handle them with care.
  • Native Americans have often used parts of the plant for diarrhea, to make medicinal teas, for saddle sores, for kidney problems, and even for skin disorders.
  • The flowers themselves can also be used to make a dark red honey that has a nice buttery taste.

Although your intention for growing one of these beautiful plants in your garden may not be to make poultices or medicinal herbal teas,3 the delicate beauty of Blanket flower types will decorate your pathways and flower beds in lovely ways and provide an excellent source of nectar for pollinators.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blanket Flowers

What Are the Blanket Flower Growing Zones in America?

The USDA hardiness zone for growing Blanket Flowers starts from zone 3 up to zone 10.

What Is the Lifespan of Blanket Flowers?

Two to three years is generally how long a Blanket Flower will live for, but because it is a frequent bloomer and self-seeder, its absence is not noticed for long.

What Are the Things To Learn How To Stop Blanket Flower Disease?

If you get into the habit of not watering the plant from overhead and leaving sufficient space between your plants, you will prevent the buildup of any fungus spores that can affect the health and appearance of the leaves.

Do Blanket Flowers Spread?

Yes, they do. Because they self-seed, they can spread around the same area and literally blanket the ground very similar to the growing pattern of the daisy flower.

What Are Blanket Flower Symbolism Meanings?

The symbolism related to this species is that of joy and modesty.


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2Greene, L. H., & Klett, J. E. (2020, January). Herbaceous Perennials. Colorado State University Extension. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

3Harvard Medical School. (2021, October 21). The health benefits of 3 herbal teas. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

4Owen, W. (2024). Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata). US Forest Service. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

5Traunfeld, J. (2023, February 17). Common Soil Problems. University of Maryland Extension. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

6United States Department of Agriculture. (2024). Mulch. USDA. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

7University of California. (2024). Leafhoppers. University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from <>

8Firewheel, Blanket flower, Beautiful flowers Photo by PurpleOwl. (2020, May 28) / Pixabay Content License. Resized and changed file format. Pixabay. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

9Gaillardia aristata Arizona Sun Photo by David J. Stang / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

10Gaillardia Burgundy Photo by David J. Stang / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

11Flowers of Gaillardia × grandiflora Photo by Laitche / Public Domain. Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

12Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’ AAS 2017 Photo by F. D. Richards / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

13Species Information Image: Bee on a blanket flowers Photo by Marina Yalanska. (2022, July 1) / Unsplash License. Cropped and remixed with text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

14NC State Extension (2024). Gaillardia x grandiflora. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>

15Mahr, S., University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2024). Blanket flower, Gaillardia spp. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from <>