Gaillaridia x grandiflora
The perennial continuous-flowering, rounded plant grows two to three feet tall from a taproot and spreads by underground rhizomes. It produces striking flowers and linear, dark green leaves that are serrated with coarse, grayish-white hairs. If the upper stems of the plant are destroyed, the plant re-grows from its rhizomes. It is a member of the sunflower family, developing large, brilliant, daisy-like flowers in colors of gold, red, orange, or bronze. Many varieties are available, including shorter dwarf forms and various flower colors. Blooms last over a long period from early spring into the fall and attract butterflies and birds. Wild birds feed on the flower seeds, dispersing them to other parts of the landscape. The plant freezes in the low thirties, but recovers quickly in the spring. It prefers full sun, moist, well-draining soil and drought conditions. Do not over-water this plant. Fertilize it with a light application of ammonium phosphate in spring. Prune it lightly to encourage further blooming and prevent the plant from becoming too weedy. Use it in beds, borders, raised planters, perennial gardens, and low-water-use landscapes. The gaillardia also makes a beautiful cut flower for indoor arrangements. Its brilliant red and yellow colors add a great addition to any garden. Plant the blanket flower from seed or nursery transplants. It is a hybrid created by crossing North American wildflowers.