‘Arizona Sun’ Shines in Pittsburgh

An eye catching perennial for a sunny spot in your garden is the blanket flower. I have the Arizona Sun variety in my garden. Its botanical name is Gaillardia “Arizona Sun” and is available in other varieties like Gaillardia “burgundy,” Gaillardia “fanfare,” and Gaillardia “goblin.”blanket flower3

It is classified as part of the daisy/sunflower  family and is native throughout North and South America.  Its common name ‘blanket flower’ may have originated  from the flowers’ resemblance to the beauty of the hand-spun Native American patterned blankets. blanket flowers bunches

I planted this beauty in a raised garden bed in a sunny location. This beautiful bi-colored flower attracts butterflies, bees and birds alike.  I think this flower looks like it was dipped in fire or touched by flames. The flower has daisy-like petals and the blooms are long lasting.blanket flower single bloom

Grown in zones 3-10, once established the blanket flower requires little maintenance from the home gardener. Plant anytime after last frost and water until established. (That’s it!) Once established, blanket flowers are drought tolerant, and not picky about soil type (so long as it has well draining soil).

This perennial can be grown from seed, but I bought a small established plant at a local garden store. To ensure bloom all summer, de-head spent blooms.  Bonus for this beauty: deer resistant and rabbit resistant. This perennial is a true show piece for your garden. The photos from my garden show how striking the blooms are. I love the bi-colored petals. Beautiful, don’t you think? blanet flower1

I have read that blanket flowers are considered  short-lived perennials and last 3-4 years on average. It is recommended to replace this perennial once its blooms are not as bright. I am on the third year of this flower and so far, the blooms are still lively and there are lots of buds eager to bloom. Blanket flowers are considered a mounding type of perennial, so next spring I will divide the clump to encourage long lasting, vibrant blooms (and hopefully no replacement will be necessary).blanket flower2

The only problem I have encountered with this blanket flower are slugs. I have had to remove numerous slugs from the blooms, and it looks like the slugs may have eaten some of the petals. blanket flower1

The blanket flower can be paired with the perennial coreopsis and/or the annual cosmos. I have cosmos growing from seed and they are just starting to emerge. I can’t wait to see them compliment each other in the garden.

To read about other perennial plants I have had success with in my spring garden click the any of the following links: Siberian Iris,  Easy Peasy Peony,  Columbine.

If you are enjoying blog follow on Facebook @wicklowwildflower.

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