Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) Quick Facts
Nectar plant to many butterflies
Self seeding annual, can be short-lived perennial in zones 5-9
Native or naturalized to many states in US, excluding northwest
Grows in USDA zones 2-11
Needs well drained soil, drought tolerant once established
Red with yellow tipped flowers bloom summer through fall
1-2 feet tall
Space plants 12 inches apart
May be grown in containers
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), aka Firewheel and Blanket Flower, is an easy wildflower to establish. If you want nectar for butterflies and native bees, plant Gaillardia with its beautiful blooms. The name is from the color patterns of the flowers that resemble designs found in native American Indian blankets. The most common pattern is a red center with yellow tips, while some variations include almost solid red or even mostly yellow.
As a great nectar plant, this is one of those robust natives for any butterfly garden. It provides flowers all summer long!
Growing Conditions for Blanket Flower
Indian Blanket is the Oklahoma State wild flower and can be found throughout the Great Plains and the Southwest. Since this variety grows in zones 2-11, it is an annual in many regions. Don’t worry about planting new plants each season as it readily self-sows to form expanding patches that return the following year. In zones 5-9, some of these plants will overwinter as short-lived perennials.
With excellent drainage, Blanket Flower is probably one of the easiest wildflowers to grow. Loose, well-drained soil, is a must. Full sun is ideal, however, light shade is tolerated. It flourishes in heat and tolerates drought and poor soil conditions. Your will need very little fertilizer. If you don’t have the right conditions in your garden, Firewheel will grow in containers.
G. pulchella grows up to two feet tall, with flowers 1-2” in diameter. It begins blooming in mid-spring, and will sport bright flowers through the summer and well into fall. As with most plants, dead-heading encourages more blooms and prevents heavy reseeding. If you have goldfinches in your area, you may want to leave
some flower heads for them as they enjoy the seeds.
Indian Blanket provides a lot of beauty for little maintenance – Plant a blanket of Indian Blankets to attract Butterflies to your Garden!