Louisiana Super Plants: Mesa Gaillardia

Maureen Thiessen, Edwards, Ashley, Abdi, Damon, Fields, Jeb S.

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Mesa Gaillardia (Gaillardia x grandiflora)

  • Recommended Use: Warm season bedding plant that performs well as a border planting or container specimen. Attractive to pollinators and well suited for butterfly or wildflower gardens. Excellent choice for cut flower production and bouquets.
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Size: 14 to 16 inches high, 20 to 22 inches wide
  • Habit: Upright
  • Bloom Time: Fall and early spring through late summer
  • Maintenance Category: Very low
  • Water Use: Low
  • Highlights: Drought tolerant, pollinator attractor, with vibrant and long-lasting colors.


Also known as Indian blanket flower, or blanket flower, gaillardia is a wildflower species native to the southern plains region of the United States. As such, this plant can withstand harsh heat and dry conditions while providing beautiful displays of color reliably throughout the summer.

The Mesa series gaillardia offers a more compact upright and uniform alternative for what is considered a plant with a fairly spreading form. This makes Mesa an excellent option for container plantings. Mesa also blooms slightly earlier than typical gaillardia varieties, extending its value with about two to three weeks of extra color. The blooms are usually about 3 inches in diameter, fade resistant and rarely eaten by deer. The attractive color and nectar of the flowers draws the attention of bees, butterflies and many other beneficial species, making this a great option for welcoming pollinators to a wildflower garden. The Mesa series offers deep red, peach, yellow and bicolor blooming varieties that can add a splash of color to any landscape.

Blanket flower plantings are easy to establish and maintain. Transplants are readily found at local nurseries, and seed is available from several online retailers. Simply scatter seeds over the surface of tilled soil, lightly cover and keep moist. Seedlings should emerge in roughly two to three weeks. Transplants can be planted to get a head start if time is of the essence and blooms are desired sooner. Mesa gaillardia is a perennial and usually withstands typical Louisiana winters. For the best warm season display, plant blanket flower in the fall months. September plantings will bloom before Christmas and grow vegetatively through the winter. The following spring, plants will be stronger and ready to put on a fantastic display of color.

In addition to deer resistance, Mesa gaillardia have very few insect and disease problems. This plant will not break your fertilizer budget either, as they are not considered to be heavy feeders. Overall, Mesa is a very low maintenance plant that performs superbly in the Louisiana landscape.


  • Plant in a sunny to partly sunny location with good drainage.
  • Till or loosen soil before planting seeds.
  • Seed at a rate of 1 ounce per 250 square feet, or space transplants 20 to 24 inches apart.
  • Also suitable for container plantings.
  • Plant during fall (September or October is best) or start in the early spring.

Growth Habit

  • Neater, more upright and mounding habit than typical gaillardia varieties.
  • Pale green, slender foliage with brightly colored, non-fading flowers in red, yellow, peach and bicolor.
  • Plants reach about 16 inches high and 20 inches wide.

Care and Maintenance

  • Fertilize with a slow-release bedding fertilizer at planting; apply during growth only if performing poorly and supplementary nutrition is needed.
  • Deadheading can maintain a neater appearance.
  • Cold hardy to the Louisiana landscape.

Closeup of Mesa bicolor gaillardia.

Mesa gaillardia planted in September will broom before Christmas and put on a display of color the following spring. LSU AgCenter file photo

Closeup of a bicolor Mesa gaillardia.

Bicolor varieties of the Mesa series gaillardia can add a splash of color to any landscape. LSU AgCenter file photo

Closeup of Mesa peach gaillardia.

Mesa gaillardia is a perennial and usually withstands typical Louisiana winters. LSU AgCenter file photo

3/16/2023 2:58:29 PM
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