Gaillardia aristata 'Bijou'

Common Name: blanket flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Orange-red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, organically rich soils that drain well but tolerates dry soils and drought. Performs poorly in unamended, heavy clay soils typically found in the St. Louis area. Deadheading spent flowers is not necessary, but will tidy the planting and may encourage additional bloom. If flowering declines or stops in summer, consider cutting back plants to encourage a fall bloom.

‘Bijou’ is a seed strain that will self-seed in optimum growing conditions if flowers are not deadheaded.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gaillardia aristata is a species of blanket flower that is native from North Dakota to Colorado west to California and British Columbia. It typically grows in clumps to 30” tall and is found primarily in dry sites on meadows, prairies, grasslands, mountain foothills and at lower mountain elevations to 9000’. It features orange-red daisy-like flowers (to 3” diameter) with yellow tipped rays. Blooms late spring to fall. Lance-shaped gray-green leaves may be pinnately lobed near the base of the plant. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. In areas where goldfinches are present, gardeners should consider leaving some spent flowerheads for the birds. Gaillardia is sometimes commonly called blanket flower in probable reference to the resemblance of its rich and warm flower colors and patterns to blankets woven by Native Americans. However, some authorities suggest that the name blanket flower was originally derived from the habit of wild species plants to form colonies that blanket the ground. The popular but short lived gaillardia hybrid sold in commerce as G. x grandiflora are crosses between perennial G. aristata and annual G. pulchella.

Genus name honors Gaillard de Charentonneau, a French magistrate and patron of botany.

Specific epithet means bristly in reference to the hairs that cover the flowerhead receptacles, stems and leaves.

‘Bijou’ is a dwarf seed strain that typically grows to only 10-12” tall.

Problems

Root rot may occur in poorly drained soils, particularly during periods of protracted heavy summer rains. Species plants are generally susceptible to powdery mildew, aster yellows and fungal leaf spot diseases.

Garden Uses

Perennial border fronts, rock gardens, cottage gardens and cutting gardens. Also effective in containers.