About Blanket Flower: Meriwether Lewis collected the first specimen of this wildflower on July 7, 1806. His research of this and other native species was completed by botanist Frederick Traugott Pursch in 1813, who completed a catalogue of the species discovered on the famous expedition. The genus name Gaillardia honors an 18th century French botanist named Gaillard de Charentonneau. The common name Blanket Flower seems to come from the similarity of the brightly colored blossoms to Native American weaving.
Blanket Flower Germination: Direct sow in late spring, planting ¼” below the surface of the soil and compacting it slightly. Keep the soil evenly moist and at a temperature of 70-75 degrees F until germination, which widely varies from 20-70 days. Since these plants do not transplant well, they should be planted in peat pots if started indoors.
Growing Blanket Flower Seeds: Water the seedlings until they become established. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though watering in especially dry periods will improve the blooming. Excess moisture may result in root rot and other disease. Deadheading or cutting back the plant will also increase the blooms. This is a rather short-lived perennial that does not readily self-sow. This plant attracts butterflies and resists deer.
Harvesting Blanket Flower: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Blanket Flower Seeds: After the petals of the flowers drop off, the center will begin to turn from green to brown. Cut the seed heads off when they have ripened but before they begin to shatter. Spread them out to dry in a protected location for 2-3 weeks. Crush the seed heads to separate the seed from the stems. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Blanket Flower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Blanket Flower, Indian Blanket, Brown Eyed Susan, Common Blanketflower, Common Gaillardia, Firewheel Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 2a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 8,000 Produces rough, hairy blade-shaped 6” leaves and 2-3” daisy-like flowers with toothed yellow petals that turn red toward the darker red center.