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Mesa gaillardia named Louisiana Super Plant

News Release Distributed 09/19/14

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – Fall is starting, and this time of year is great for gardening and planting. Some outstanding plants you can add to your landscape for this fall and future years are Louisiana Super Plants.

The LSU AgCenter is now in the fifth year of the Louisiana Super Plant program – educating, promoting, recommending and marketing truly excellent landscape plants that have performed well in our test gardens.

We announce plant selections each spring and fall. And one of this fall’s Super Plants is the Mesa series gaillardias. Also called blanket flowers, gaillardias are native Louisiana plants that are typically a short-lived perennial in the state.

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.

Here are your Mesa gaillardia keys to success:

–Short-lived herbaceous perennial.

–Full to part sun.

–Grows 14-16 inches tall and 16-18 inches wide.

–Space 15-18 inches apart in well-drained soil.

–Plant in early fall for fall flowers and flowers next spring and summer.

–Plant in early spring for flowers through fall.

–Hybrid variety with improved garden performance and longer-lasting flowers.

–Bicolor (yellow and red), yellow and peach flower varieties.

–Attracts butterflies.

Some previous Louisiana Super Plant flower selections that are ideal for fall planting include Swan columbine, Amazon dianthus, Diamonds Blue delphinium, Camelot foxglove and Sorbet violas. You can also plant Drift roses and Belinda’s Dream roses in fall. An additional Louisiana Super Plant for this fall will be announced in October.

Plant some of the great Louisiana Super Plants for the fall season soon.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

Last Updated: 9/29/2014 9:16:44 AM

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