Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

By Jennifer Olvera, Garden Guides Contributor

About Blanket Flowers

The sun-loving, mound-forming blanket flower is a hardy, drought-tolerant annual or perennial that is commonly seen throughout the United States. It can be established easily from seed and forms dense colonies of brilliant red flowers with yellow rims. The daisy-like single or double flowers of the blanket flower can be up to 4 inches across, depending on the variety, and spring from wiry, branched stems with textured foliage. There are some dwarf varieties, but many blanket flower varieties grow to be 2 to 3 feet tall.

Site Preparation

Blanket flowers prefer full sun and light, sandy, well-drained soil. Work the soil at least 12 inches deep. Add a general-purpose fertilizer when planting blanket flowers. Fertilize with a general-purpose fertilizer once a month after that.

Special Features

The blanket flower is an extremely adaptable plant that is a popular, long-living choice for cut flowers. The blanket flower attracts butterflies, bees and birds and is deer-resistant.

Choosing a Variety

Select a plant that has a sturdy stem and appears vigorous and healthy-looking with new growth in leaves and flower buds. Avoid plants that appear overgrown, leggy or damaged from insects or diseases.

Planting

Plant blanket flowers 15 to 18 inches apart. Dig a hole as deep as the container and slightly wider. Remove pot, and break up roots if bound. Place the plant in the hole, and add a light application of organic fertilizer to the planting hole. Refill hole. Mulch around but not on top of the plant with 3 inches of organic compost.

Care

* Moderate watering extends the blooming season, which generally is June through September. Blanket flowers do tolerate drought.
* Deadhead blooms to encourage reblooming throughout the season.
* Cut old stems back to the ground in late spring using bypass pruners.
* For perennial varieties, apply a light application of organic fertilizer to the top of the soil in the spring; follow package directions. Mulch around but not on top of the plants with 3 inches of organic compost in the spring. For best performance, divide perennial blanket flowers every 3 to 5 years.

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