44 Gaillardia pulchellaCommon Names: blanket flower, firewheel, Indian blanket Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) is a short-lived perennial or annual noted for its brilliant, daisy-like flowers. The large centers of the flowers are rose-purple and the dense, frilly petals are yellow, orange, crimson or copper scarlet. Flowers appear in summer and are 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) across and are held upon 18-36 in (46-91 cm) light green stems. Indian blanket grows in 14-24 in (35.6-61 cm) high mounds with a spread of about 12 in (30 cm).
G. pulchella is a parent of the hybrid G. X grandiflora from which several popular cultivars are widely available including selections with single, double, and semi double flower forms. The other parent in this crossing is G. aristata, a pretty perennial species that is native to the prairies of North America. Among these hybrid selections are 'Goblin', a dwarf that grows only 12 in (cm) tall and is perfect for sunny beds and 'Sundance Bicolor' a double-flowered with a low trailing habit. 'Tangerine' has orange petals.
There are more than two dozen species of Gaillardia. Most of these are native to North America including G. pulchella which is found from Virginia to Florida and westward to Colorado and New Mexico extending south into Mexico.
CultureDeadheading will prolong flowering. Light: Indian blanket likes hot, sunny areas. Moisture: Needs good drainage and is drought tolerant. Soggy soil will cause root rot in winter. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 10. G. pulchella ranges from Zones 8-10, many of the hybrids are hardier. Protect roots from freezing. Propagation: The species volunteers readily from seed. Hybrid selections are propagated by root cuttings. Seeds will take 8 days to sprout and another 2-3 months to bloom, but seeds do not usually bring satisfying results. Perennial hybrid Gaillardias should be divided and replanted every two or three seasons. Best if divided in August or September.
Gaillardias make sturdy and colorful additions to borders and beds. Low-growing selections can be used for groundcover and in containers. They are salt tolerant and an attractive low maintenance choice for seaside plantings. Great for sunny container plantings. Indian blanket is an important component in wildflower and meadow gardens. The showy flowers are perfect for cutting and most will last for about a week in water.
Indian blanket blooms profusely even in light sands along seashore. The Gaillardias provide an abundant supply of cut flowers with little effort. Many states are sowing the shoulders along freeways and highways with blanket flowers, providing spectacular displays of color during the spring and early summer.
Named after M. Gaillard, a French botany patron.
Jack Scheper 04/01/97; updated 7/7/03, 10/15/03