GAILLARDIA (Blanketflower)

North & South America

G1 Gaillardia flowers with hoverfly, 6th Aug 2011

Gaillardia with insect, late 2012
Gaillardia is a colourful firework of a flower from the Americas, where it is found in open, sunny habitats on prairies & hillsides.

It is drought tolerant, perhaps more important than ever given the extreme heat of recent growing seasons.

Gaillardia likes full sun & free drainage: it is drought tolerant once established, preferring soil that is low in nutrients. “On heavy ground such as clay, try growing gaillardia in raised beds, planting n small mounds of soil to prevent the rootball becoming saturated, or adding grit.”+

In June the buds open into sunwheel daisy flowers, with petals that may be ORANGE-RED with YELLOW tips, around a central mound of RUSTY RED. Flowers bloom through October in the UK. Deadhead to encourage more blooms & cut back at the end of the season.

Bees’ Favourite.

Bumblebees browse enthusiastically on the Blanketflower. They often seem to be hugging the central mound. We have had a number of Gaillardias over the years – ‘Goblin’, ‘Kobold’, and ‘Arizona Sun’. All have been bees’ favourites, but some individual plants were more intensely magnetic to bees than others.

The Blanketflower is a sunlover which will tolerate poor soil. Cut it back in late summer to 6 inches, allowing new growth at the base to overwinter. We have lost a number of these in winter wet, and now treat it as an annual.




Other names: Bandana Daisy, Firewheel, Indian Blanket, Jam Tarts, Sunburst, Sundance Flower.



The Gaillardia Flower Fairy, Cicely Johnson, from a series begun in 1923


“According to Aztec legend, gaillardia was originally only yellow, but with the murderous arrival of the Conquistadores, the flower felt sadness over Aztec blood so freely spilled, & added red to its petals to honor the slain.”

Paghat’s Garden

GaillardiaGaillardia Arizona Sun


Lockdown Gaillardia from the Fruiterer

There was no visit to a garden centre in the spring for Gaillardia, but the local fruiterer on Blackstock Road – White Brothers – had a selection of perennials once garden centres reopened. These two plants were in  9 inch pots.