Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella)
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 flowers with yellow tips (although with great variation), and dark red to purplish disk flowers. 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. The blooms attract a variety of pollinators.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8-11)
Soil: Sandy, well-drained to dry soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 1-2 feet tall, with 1-3 foot 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. You can also purchase seeds through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative.
To see where blanketflower occurs naturally, visit http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=730.