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Mesa Gaillardia – Ornamental Plant of the Week for September 29, 2014

Mesa Yellow gaillardia
Mesa Yellow gaillardia blooms in the gardens at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station in July. (Photo by Allen Owings)

Mesa gaillardia has been named a Louisiana Super Plant for this fall. Also called blanket flowers, it is a native perennial that can be grown as an annual or a short-lived perennial in Louisiana.

Mesa gaillardias are available in three colors – peach, yellow and bicolor flowers.

Mesa Yellow was an All-America Selections winner in 2010. It was the first hybrid blanket flower with a controlled plant habit and prolific flowering. Its performance has been impressive in AgCenter trials. Flowers are red and yellow.

The 3-inch, daisy-like flowers of all three varieties and their globe-shaped seed heads offer a superior presentation of color that continues throughout the summer. The bright flowers are rich in nectar and will attract butterflies.

Especially notable is the improved plant habit of the Mesa series. These do not get tall, loose and floppy. Individual plants are neat and mounded – reaching about 16 inches tall and 20 inches across.

Plant Mesa gaillardia in a full-sun, well-drained landscape bed. Deadhead old flowers through the season. Fertilize at planting with a slow-release product and then repeat fertilization as needed, depending on plant performance.

These gaillardias are relatively maintenance-free because they are drought-tolerant and not susceptible to insect pests. They are adaptable to small-space gardens or any type of container. When planted near the edge of the container, they will cascade down the side.

Mesa gaillardia can be planted in spring or fall, but we encourage September or October planting. If Mesa gaillardias are planted early enough in fall, they’ll begin flowering before Christmas. Plants are winter-hardy and will not be severely damaged by cold weather. In mild winters, you may see flowers throughout the year.

The main advantage of fall planting, however, is improved spring and summer performance.

Mesa gaillardia will attract beneficial insects and pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the landscape. Mesa gaillardias have been sold at garden centers around Louisiana regularly the past few years.

Allen Owings
Rick Bogren

Last Updated: 9/29/2014 8:34:53 AM

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