Perennial of the Week: ‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia
This week’s Perennial of the Week is the Gaillardia, also known as the Blanket Flower! These wildflowers are a member of the daisy family, every bit as beautiful and easy to grow as their close relatives.
Toughness defines the Gaillardia, although you’d never guess it by looking at their lovely blooms. You can often find them in roadside plantings because they’re so easy to care for. Native to the United States and Mexico, these plants want to be grown in full sun and well-draining soil. They can tolerate drought as well, once they’re established. Add these flowers to a bed or border that needs a blast of color!
As hardy as Gaillardia are during their growing cycle, they occasionally struggle to make it through freezing winters. To help them out, cut back clumps to 6 inches in late summer. Dividing them every other year keeps them strong as well.
The ‘Arizona Sun’, an award winning variation, holds a special place amongst the Gaillardia. It got its name because it looks like the desert sun in Arizona. Its flowers are wide and eye catching, and last from early summer to fall. As with other Gaillardia, plant the Arizona Sun in full sunlight. The soil should be well-drained, and you can even plant them in rocky or sandy places.
The most important thing you need to do when growing Arizona Sun is remove faded flowers. By removing spent blooms, you encourage new blooms to grow. That’s very important for many flowers, but Gaillardia in particular. The difference in total blooms is dramatic.
We carry other varieties of Gaillardia as well. Arizona Apricot have beautiful yellow blooms that change to orange and red as they approach the center. Fanfare Blaze lives up to its name with bright red blooms with orange and yellow tips. They scream summer fun, and can add beauty to a variety of scenes. Finally, Mesa Yellow offers pure yellow blooms that last a long time and attract butterflies.
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