How to Balance pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Gaillardia, also known as Blanket Flower, is a beautiful and hardy perennial that can add a burst of color to any garden. These flowers are known for their ability to thrive in poor soil and tolerate a wide range of pH levels. However, to ensure optimal growth and flowering, it is important to maintain the right pH balance for Gaillardia. In this article, we will discuss how to balance pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) and provide a step-by-step guide for DIY gardeners.

What is the Ideal pH Range for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)?

Gaillardia can tolerate a wide range of soil pH, from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.0 to 7.5). However, they prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH, around 7.0. If the soil pH is too acidic or too alkaline, it can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, leading to stunted growth and fewer flowers.

How to Test Soil pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)?

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Before attempting to balance the pH for Gaillardia, it is important to test the soil pH. There are two ways to test soil pH:

  1. Home Test Kit: A home test kit can be purchased from a garden center or online. These kits are easy to use and provide a quick result. Simply follow the instructions on the package to collect a soil sample and mix it with the provided solution. The color of the solution will indicate the pH level of the soil.

  2. Soil Testing Lab: For a more accurate and detailed analysis of the soil, you can send a soil sample to a soil testing lab. These labs will provide a comprehensive report on the soil’s pH, nutrient levels, and other important factors.

See also  How to Balance pH for Morea Plants

How to Adjust Soil pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)?

If the soil pH is outside the desired range for Gaillardia, you can amend the soil with lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower the pH. Here’s how to do it:

Raising Soil pH with Lime

  1. Determine the amount of lime needed based on the current soil pH and the desired pH. A general rule of thumb is to add 5 pounds of lime per 100 square feet of soil to raise the pH by one point.

  2. Spread the lime evenly over the soil surface and work it into the top 6 inches of soil with a garden fork or tiller.

  3. Water the soil thoroughly to help the lime dissolve and distribute evenly.

  4. Retest the soil pH after 2-3 months to ensure that the desired pH has been achieved.

Lowering Soil pH with Sulfur

  1. Determine the amount of sulfur needed based on the current soil pH and the desired pH. A general rule of thumb is to add 1 pound of sulfur per 100 square feet of soil to lower the pH by one point.

  2. Spread the sulfur evenly over the soil surface and work it into the top 6 inches of soil with a garden fork or tiller.

  3. Water the soil thoroughly to help the sulfur dissolve and distribute evenly.

  4. Retest the soil pH after 2-3 months to ensure that the desired pH has been achieved.

Home Remedies for Balancing pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) 2

In addition to using lime or sulfur to adjust soil pH, there are some home remedies that can help balance pH for Gaillardia:

  1. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds are slightly acidic and can be used to lower soil pH. Simply sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of the plant and work them into the soil.

  2. Wood Ash: Wood ash is alkaline and can be used to raise soil pH. Sprinkle a thin layer of wood ash around the base of the plant and work it into the soil. Be careful not to use too much, as it can make the soil too alkaline.

  3. Compost: Adding compost to the soil can help balance pH and improve soil structure. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of compost around the base of the plant and work it into the soil.

See also  How to Balance pH for Bluebell Blueberry Bushes

How Long Does it Take to Balance pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)?

Balancing soil pH is a gradual process and can take several months to achieve the desired results. It is important to retest the soil pH every 2-3 months and make adjustments as needed. In general, it can take up to 6 months to see significant changes in soil pH.

Watering and Temperature Requirements for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Gaillardia is a drought-tolerant plant and does not require a lot of water once established. However, during the first year of growth, it is important to keep the soil evenly moist to help the roots establish. Water deeply once a week, or more often during hot, dry weather.

Gaillardia can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from hot summers to cold winters. They are hardy in USDA zones 3-10 and can survive temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C). In areas with hot summers, provide some afternoon shade to prevent the flowers from fading.

Conclusion

Balancing pH for Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) is an important step in ensuring optimal growth and flowering. By testing the soil pH and making adjustments with lime or sulfur, you can create the ideal growing conditions for these beautiful and hardy perennials. With proper care and attention, Gaillardia will reward you with a stunning display of colorful flowers all summer long.

References

  1. Blanket Flower: Plant Care & Growing Guide
  2. Gaillardia aristata Plant Guide
  3. Gaillardia: How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Blanket Flowers
  4. Blanket Flowers: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties