Kelly D. Norris is the horticulture manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

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Commotion ‘Moxie’ Blanketflower
by Kelly D. Norris       #Hot Plants

All summer long, ‘Moxie’ graces the garden scene with an ample array of flowers.

For years, there was no love lost between me and blanketflowers. Despite their colors, proud garden pennants of my alma mater Iowa State, I just didn’t dig them. So many of the seed strains lack any sort of charm or panache—they melt in the summer, fall apart into a disheveled mess by fall and reseed on top of each other, resembling an unruly mosh pit. Blech.

But then I had an epiphany somewhere around 7,500 feet in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota. I encountered Gaillardia aristata, one of the truly perennial species of blanketflowers, growing by the zillions in amber and melon shades. I was hooked. What if blanketflowers could be true perennials, unlike the half-hardy, mother-was-an-annual and daddy-was-a-perennial wannabes I’d previously known? Along about that time a blanketflower with real spunk, named ‘Moxie’ no less, made its way into my garden.

It’s part of the Commotion series,and surely has the potential to cause quite a stir in the garden. ‘Moxie’ is an all-star, regularly flowering in my Iowa garden from mid-May through frost, even without supplemental watering. Though in the heat of summer it may not effuse with the same quantity of flowers it does in spring and fall, its ever-present radiance is hard to deny. Flowering effortlessly in bright exposures and decently draining soils, it’s a fluted charmer, evoking the memory of such popular favorites as ‘Fanfare’, though with more petals, ensuring a longer display. And it’s architecture? Mounded, compact and superb; no flopping or flailing with this one. 


Common Name: Commotion ‘Moxie’ blanketflower

Botanical Name: Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Moxie’

Hardiness: Zones 5 through 9

Color: Bright, cheery yellow petals encircle an orange center

Blooming Period: Early summer through fall

Type: Perennial

Size: Up to 24 inches high and wide

Exposure: Full sun

When to Plant: Spring or fall

How to Plant: Plant container-grown specimens to label directions.

Soil: Adaptable to a range of soils with good drainage. Great in xeric conditions.

In Your Landscape: Yellow and orange daisies appear abundantly throughout the season on compact plants suitable for beds, borders and containers.


From Iowa Gardener Volume I Issue IV. Photos courtesy of Kelly D. Norris.


Posted: 05/16/14   RSS | Print


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