Blanket flower has a reputation as a stubborn prairie plant with beautiful sunset colors. Mesa Yellow, a new cultivar in 2010, keeps the power of its ancestors while showing off a brilliant all-yellow flower. It’s a long-blooming champion, like its relatives—flowers appear from spring to fall, which is one reason it was an All-America Selections winner for 2010. (It also won a 2010 Fleuroselect Gold Medal.) Mesa Yellow has a tidy, mounded habit that’s good for containers, and it makes a great cut flower. Bees and butterflies like it, too.
Common name: Mesa Yellow gaillardia, Mesa Yellow blanket flower
Botanical name: Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Mesa’ Mesa Yellow
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 16 to 22 inches
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Average, well-drained
• Moisture: Average to dry
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By seed and division.
Pests and diseases
• Vulnerable to downy mildew, powdery mildew, leaf spot, and rust.
• Snails and slugs may be a problem.
• Take advantage of Mesa Yellow’s drought tolerance, and plant it at the furthest corners of your yard, where the hose barely stretches. Combine it with other never-say-die perennials like yarrow, mountain mint, black-eyed Susan, and prairie coreopsis.
• Mesa Yellow is super tough, but not tall. If you use it with gangly prairie plants like Joe Pye weed, cup plant, and native grasses, be sure to place it near the edges of the border.
• Butterflies like gaillardia flowers, and birds feast on the seeds if you leave some to ripen.
• Gaillardias have a tendency to form colonies, so give this flower some room.
• Mesa Yellow flowers about four months after sowing.
All in the family
• About 30 species of Gaillardia are found in the Americas. G. aristata (Zones 3 to 8) is found from Canada to Arizona. G. pulchella, an annual, is found in the southern U.S. and Mexico. Both species are called blanket flower. Together, these species produced G. x grandiflora, from which many cultivars, including Mesa Yellow, have been developed.
Where to buy
• 2B Seeds, Broomfield, CO, 800-833-5988, www.2bseeds.com (seeds)
• Jung Seeds, Randolph, WI, 800-297-3123, www.jungseed.com (seeds)
• Santa Rosa Gardens, Gulf Breeze, FL, 866-681-0856, www.santarosagardens.com (plants)
(Photo of Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Mesa’ Mesa Yellow courtesy of the National Garden Bureau.)