GAILLARDIA Blanket Flower

A familiar sight in herbaceous borders everywhere – large Daisy-like flowers, measuring 2 to 4 in. across, with red or orange petals tipped with yellow or gold. The blooms continue to appear from early summer until autumn and cut blooms are long-lasting in water, but the Blanket Flower has one major problem. In badly-drained soil it will die out in winter and even when given an ideal environment of sandy, well-drained soil and full sun, deterioration takes place in just a few years. To prolong its life, remember to cut the stems down to ground level in September and to divide the clumps every three years.

VARIETIES: The species grown is G. aristata (G. grandiflora) – height 1.5-2.5 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: June-September. The stems require support. Popular varieties include ‘Dazzler’ (red centre, orange outside). ‘Wirral Flame’ (dark red, tipped yellow), ‘Croftway Yellow’ (all yellow) and the red and yellow ‘Mandarin’. A few dwarfs are available – the most famous is ‘Goblin’ (9 in., flame red, tipped yellow)

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – light land is preferred. Choose a sunny spot.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass or outdoors in spring. Divide clumps in March or take root cuttings in early spring.

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