Gaillardia aestivalis

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: lance leaf blanket flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to October
Bloom Description: Yellow rays with brownish-purple center cone
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in light, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers soils that receive regular moisture, but soils must drain well. Plants perform poorly in unamended, heavy clay soils typically found in the St. Louis area. Wet soils in winter can be fatal. Tolerates dry soils and drought. 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 6” to encourage a fall bloom and new basal growth that will help plants overwinter. May be planted from seed and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions if some of the flowers are not deadheaded. Plants may be short-lived.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gaillardia aestivalis, commonly known as lanceleaf blanketflower, is native from North Carolina to Kansas south to Texas and Florida. This is a perennial or annual that typically grows in clumps to 18” tall. Flowerheads (to 3” diameter) have yellow rays (sometimes with red bases) and brownish-purple disks. The flowers are distinctive because they often have only partial rays or in some cases are virtually rayless. When the rays that are present drop, the globular cones remain attractive. Long bloom period of late spring to fall. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Lance-shaped gray-green leaves. 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. Genus name honors M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, 18th century French amateur botanist. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word for summer in reference to the bloom time. In Missouri, Steyermark originally listed G. lutea (synonymous with G. lanceolata var. flavovirens) as a rare Missouri native gaillardia having yellow disk and ray flowers. This variety was confined to only two counties in the far southeastern corner of the state. G. lanceolata var. flavovirens is now synonymous with G. aestivalis var. flavovirens.

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

Specific epithet means pertaining to summer.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in poorly drained soils, particularly during periods of protracted heavy summer rains. Plants are susceptible to powdery mildew, aster yellows and fungal leaf spot diseases.

Garden Uses

Perennial border fronts, rock gardens, cottage gardens and prairies.