Indian Blanket – Facts, Grow and Care


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 GrandifloraOpens in a new tab..

 Facts

  • Can be grown in USDA zones 2-11, check your USDA zone hereOpens in a new tab.
  • 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

Physical Description

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

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.

Flower

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.

Gaillardia pulchella bumble bee
The bees really love this flower!

Root

Roots are shallow and fibrous.

Indian Blanket Reference Table
Common NameIndian Blanket, Firewheel, Blanket Flower
Scientific nameGaillardia pulchella
Bloom TimeEarly Summer until Fall
Bloom Duration3-5 months depending on zone
ColorYellow/Red/Orange
Bloom Size1 -2” diameter flowers (25-50 mm)
CharacteristicsIndividual blooms at the top of stalks, sometimes more than one bloom per stalk.  Multiple stalks per plant – very showy
Height1 -2’ tall (30-60 cm)
Spacing/Spread1’ (30 cm)
Light RequirementsFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypesAny, as long as well drained
MoistureDry to medium moisture
MaintenanceNone required, except pulling any unwanted seedlings
Typical UseFlower beds, meadows, micro-prairires
Fauna AssociationsBees/Butterflies/Moths
Larval HostNone
Sowing DepthSurface – just press into soil
Stratification30 days cold stratification can improve germination.  But takes a long time to sprout (20-60 days, roughly)
Native RangeUSDA Zones 2-9 (not hardy though – an annual in most zones)
Notes 

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.

bumble bee pollinating flower

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.

Garden Uses

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.

Fauna

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).

======

JOIN OUR FREE NEWSLETTER HERE.  Get our new content sent to your inbox. (No worries, we won’t spam you.)

PIN IT:

Be sure to check out these other articles, I think you would find useful, as well:

How to Remove Sod by Hand – Our Easy Method

How to Make DIY Tick TubesOpens in a new tab.

Reasons to NOT Build Raised Bed GardensOpens in a new tab.

Our Simple Method to CompostOpens in a new tab.

Our Easy Method to Remove Grass By HandOpens in a new tab.

Native Plant ProfilesOpens in a new tab.

Invasive PlantsOpens in a new tab.

Find our YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE:

GROWIT BUILDIT YOUTUBE CHANNELOpens in a new tab.

Joe Foster

Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. In high school I got my first job at a garden center where I learned to garden and landscape. I've been growing plants from seed and designing native plant gardens for over six years. I hope to share some of my knowledge with you! Additionally I am a wood worker / DIY enthusiast. I enjoy designing/building projects (with hand tools when I can!). I hope to give you some tips and useful information!

Recent Content