Blanket flowers are also referred to as gaillardias. They are indigenous to North America and are grown as either perennials or annuals, depending on the variety. They can grow to heights of 18 to 36 inches and are abundant blooming plants. The globe-shaped blossoms of blanket flowers can range in color from red, yellow, bi-color, through various shades of orange.
Planting Gaillardia Seeds Indoors
Gaillardia seeds dislike being transplanted, so to get an early start on germinating the seeds. It's recommended to sprout them early indoors, in peat pots approximately five to six weeks before spring. Fill each peat pot with a good-quality, sterilized seed starting mix to approximately 3/4 full. Water each peat pot, then let drain completely.
Plant two to three blanket flower seeds into each peat pot--push the seeds into the soil firmly. Cover with approximately 1/4 inch of the seed starting mix. Mist the surface of the soil with your plant mister or garden sprayer.
Put plastic wrap over each of your peat pots (to provide moisture and warmth). Place the peat pots in a location that will provide a temperature of 70 to 80 F. and approximately eight to 10 hours of light per day. Keep the pots moist, but not drenched, and don't allow the soil to dry out. Mist them with water every day or two. Germination for gaillardias is approximately two to four weeks, depending on variety and growing conditions.
Once the seedlings are well established, (approximately three to four inches tall) and have several sets of leaves, plant them outside in your flower garden. Blanket flowers require full sun and soil that's quick to drain. Dig holes twice the width and only slightly deeper (about one inch) then the peat pots.
Place a blanket flower into a hole. Make sure it's not planted to deep--the base of the stem should be approximately 1/2 inch below the surface of the surrounding soil. Fill the hole up with dirt and pat it down with your hand. Place a planting stake near the blanket flower seedling, and water each plant using a slow stream of water.
Planting Blanket Seeds Outdoors
To sow blanket flower seeds directly into your flower garden, choose a location that is low in weeds, which can inhibit germination.
Turn over the soil several times to a depth of five to six inches, level the area using your rake, pull any weeds and remove rocks and sticks.
Dig rows spaced at 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant two or three blanket flower seeds spaced four inches apart. Cover with no more than 1/4 inch of soil. Mist the area with water until the surface of the soil appears dampened. Push in gardening stakes at the beginning and end of each planted row.
Once seeds have sprouted, (two to four weeks) thin out the seedlings to one plant every 12 inches.