Indian Blanket Flower is a native annual (or short lived perennial) that is native to Southern and Eastern North America. It has bright red blooms with accents of yellow and is great at attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.
Since it is not a perennial, you need to let it self-seed in your garden, or save seeds to start new plants each year. If this isn’t your thing and you would rather just get a hardy variety, please check out the native-hybrid that is a perennial, Gaillardia Grandiflora.
- Can be grown in USDA zones 2-11, check your USDA zone here
- As it is an annual, it blooms for a long time, typically from early Summer until frost.
- Can make a great cut flower that will produce nearly all season long
- The common name Indian Blanket comes from the colors being similar to blankets made by Native Americans
- Is a member of the Aster family
- Indian Blanket was discovered in 1788
A short and somewhat compact plant, they are usually 1-2′ tall by 1/2 as wide. There are generally multiple stalks with some branching, and flowers at the end of each stalk.
Stalk / Stem
Stalks are erect and stout. They are round, and light/whitish-green in appearance. There will be branching starting about 1/2 up the stalk. Small hairs are present on the stalk.
Leaves are lance shaped, but rounded. There are generally small hairs on them. And they almost have a satin-like finish. The color is generally light green.
Flowers occur at the end of stalks, and are 1-2″ diameter. They will have both ray and disc flowers on a bloom, similar to Echinacea or a daisy. The petals are primarily red, with yellow near the outside diameter.
Roots are shallow and fibrous.
|Indian Blanket Reference Table|
|Common Name||Indian Blanket, Firewheel, Blanket Flower|
|Scientific name||Gaillardia pulchella|
|Bloom Time||Early Summer until Fall|
|Bloom Duration||3-5 months depending on zone|
|Bloom Size||1 -2” diameter flowers (25-50 mm)|
|Characteristics||Individual blooms at the top of stalks, sometimes more than one bloom per stalk. Multiple stalks per plant – very showy|
|Height||1 -2’ tall (30-60 cm)|
|Spacing/Spread||1’ (30 cm)|
|Light Requirements||Full sun to partial shade|
|Soil Types||Any, as long as well drained|
|Moisture||Dry to medium moisture|
|Maintenance||None required, except pulling any unwanted seedlings|
|Typical Use||Flower beds, meadows, micro-prairires|
|Sowing Depth||Surface – just press into soil|
|Stratification||30 days cold stratification can improve germination. But takes a long time to sprout (20-60 days, roughly)|
|Native Range||USDA Zones 2-9 (not hardy though – an annual in most zones)|
Indian Blanket Growing Conditions
Full sun will make Indian Blanket reach its full potential. So, plant in full sun and well drained soil. If planting in clay soil, ensure plenty of drainage by either amending with compost or planting on a slope.
They are commonly seed on roadsides in the South, particularly the Southwest. However, their native range does extend to the Atlantic Ocean and up to Pennsylvania. It is mainly a matter of moisture conditions as to whether this plant will thrive.
How to care for
No care is really required. They are annuals that will die at the end of the season. As long as you give Indian Blanket full sun and dry to medium moisture, it will thrive.
How to Establish Indian Blanket from Seed
The seed needs to be surface sown in early Spring. Press into the soil, and maintain moist conditions. Germination takes anywhere from a couple weeks to several months.
These can make wonderful, colorful annual flowers to have in flower beds, meadows, border gardens. They will provide colorful blooms for all summer until the temperature drops below freezing. I’ve grown these in native plant gardens, and they look great if given the proper conditions and companion plants. So, anywhere red/yellow will look nice, you can plant these for a stunning display.
These flowers are loved by bumble bees and smaller butterflies, like skippers.
Pests and diseases
I’ve never seen rabbit/deer damage on any of these plants that I have grown. Nor have I seen disease. But, I generally give them the conditions they like (drier, sunnier).
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