Gaillardia (Blanketflower, Brown-eyed Susan, Common Gaillardia, Great Blanketflower) in bloom
Gaillardia (Blanketflower, Brown-eyed Susan, Common Gaillardia, Great Blanketflower)
Gaillardia aristata
Aster family - Asteraceae

Growth habit: Clumping short-lived perennial

Height: 30 - 60 cm

Spread: 30 - 45 cm

Bloom Time: July - August

Bloom Colour: Yellow, sometimes tinged with orange or red, with red centres

Light: Full sun

Moisture: Average to dry

Soil: Well-drained poor to average garden soil

Seeding: Seeds can be planted directly into the garden in the fall or late spring. See the Plant Info page for more detailed information on growing from seed. Collecting seed: seeds are ripe when the seed heads are grey and dry, and the seeds easily come off. Use gloves as the spiky hairs attached to each seed are prickly. Don't try to remove the hairs as they are part of the seed.

Landscape uses: Gaillardia likes sun and poor soil, but it will grow in any well-drained garden soil and will form a small clump when mature. It won't spread, but may self seed a little. Buy small, young plants rather than mature ones, since they have a deep tap-root and they don't like to be moved. Suggested spacing for planting is 45 cm. Many cultivars have been developed from this species; however, the native Gaillardia is just as beautiful, and far hardier. Gaillardia is one of the last plants to emerge in the spring and sometimes it doesn't appear until June, but it quickly makes up for lost time and is flowering by July.

Interesting features: If you want to keep your Gaillardia patch truly wild (and so conserve the gene pool of this local native plant), make sure that there are no Gaillardia cultivars within 300 m of your yard. Otherwise, the cultivated plants may cross-pollinate with your wild plants and the seeds will be hybrids.

Natural habitat: Dry sandy prairies and stony places. Very common in Southern Alberta and in the Rocky Mountains. Found in isolated patches on south-facing slopes in the Edmonton area.

Ecology: The fragrant flowers are attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects.