Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Blanketflower, also known as Indian blanket or firewheel, is a brightly colored herbaceous wildflower. Its showy, daisy-like blooms appear as deep pink to reddish ray florets with yellow tips (although with great variation), and dark red to purplish disk florets. Its leaves are alternately arranged, narrow yet deeply lobed, and pubescent.
Blanketflower blooms in spring, summer and into fall in North Florida, and year-round in Central and South Florida. It occurs naturally in dry savannahs, coastal dunes and other dry, open areas. The blooms attract a variety of pollinators.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster, daisy or composite family)
Native range: Scattered throughout Florida in 27 counties but favoring east coast
To see where natural populations of blanketflower have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Sandy, well-drained to dry soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 1-2’ tall, with 1-3’ spread
Garden tips: Blanketflower is a hardy wildflower that is incredibly easy to grow from seed. However, it must have dry sunny conditions, as it will not tolerate shade or too much soil moisture. It is salt-tolerant and is often used in coastal landscapes. Because it is so resilient, it does well in difficult conditions such as along roadsides and in parking lots. Blanketflower is a prolific self-seeder and may take over if allowed. Deadheading of spent flower heads is recommended, as is occasional removal of older plants.
Blanketflower is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area. Seeds are also available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative.