The Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’ is a member of the aster or sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae) and is commonly named common blanket flower. The Gaillardia is native to North and South America.
The Gaillardia x grandiflora, of which the ‘Mesa Red’ is a cultivar, is a cross between the Gaillardia aristata and the Gaillardia pulchella. The Gaillardia aristata is a perennial, a prairie flower, and native to Canada and northern and western USA. The Gaillardia pulchella is an annual and is native to Mexico and southern United States. The Gaillardia x grandiflora is the most common type of blanket flower grown in gardens. This hybrid has the best characteristics of both parents; large flowers, a perennial habit, heat and drought tolerant, tolerant to poor soil and strong wind and good cold hardiness. They make excellent cut flowers.
The synonym Gaillardia × grandiflora ‘Mesa Red’ is used for the Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’. Another name that is used is Gaillardia aristata ‘Mesa Red’.
The Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’ prefers a spot in full sun with sandy, well-drained, not too rich soil. This perennial tolerates drought, strong wind and salt, but not wet feet.
It can happen that the blanket flower does not bloom in one year. This probably happens because it has produces so many flowers in the previous year that it has no energy left to bloom again the next year. The following year it should bloom again. It can even happen that the blanket flower blooms itself to death. To prevent this and the lack of flowers during one year it is best to cut the blanket flower to about 10 cm (4 inches) from the ground at the end of September. It is also best to deadhead so that the plant does not waste energy to produce seeds.
If the soil is too moist or too fertile this may result in less flowering. The blanket flower can tolerate some shade, but also shade may result in less flowers and floppier stems. The stems of this blanket flower then fall on the ground if they are not supported.
The Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’ is a short-lived perennial. You can propagate this perennial with cuttings. Take some cuttings at the beginning of the growing season. After three to four weeks these cutting will develop roots and can be planted. You can also leave some spent flowers to develop seeds and let your plant reseed. They grow easily from seeds. You can throw the seeds directly in the garden after the last frost or start them indoors.
The Gaillardia ‘Mesa Red’ forms a compact, well-branched plant with a strong, upright habit and the flowers are intense red and non-fading.
Attracts bees: yes
Characteristic: newly emerging every year
Deer resistant: yes
Flower color: red
Flowering time: June – September
Foliage color: green
Fragrant flower: no
Hardiness: -13 ºF/-25 ºC
Height: 14 inches/35 cm