Gaillarida pulchella. Also known as Firewheel. This annual North American wildflower has a cone centre, a bit like Echinacea, but surrounded by sunset red petals tipped in gold. Start Blanketflower Gaillardia seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last frost, or direct sow in April. For best results, top dress with well-rotted manure just as flowering starts. Deadhead regularly and avoid overhead watering to prevent the onset of mildew in late summer. Gaillardia will self sow, but is not an invasive plant. Its natural drought resistance makes it an excellent choice for xeriscaping. They are also nice to have around for cut flower arrangements. Flowers can be quite variable in size and colour pattern.
Annual Gaillardia is known as Blanket Flower and is native to Northern Mexico. They make great cut flowers and look spectacular planted en masse in the hot, sunny conditions in which they thrive. Continue reading for some tips on how to grow Gaillardia from seed.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Direct sowing is easiest, and is done after last frost, or in the autumn in places where winter is mild. They can also be sown indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. These would be transplanted out once daytime temperatures are consistently above 10°C (50°F). Seeds will germinate in 7-20 days. If starting indoors, provide bright light and a soil temperature of 21°C (70°F).
Sow on the surface of the soil. Transplant or thin to stand 15-30cm (6-12″) apart.
Feed once, just as flowering begins, and top-dress with well-rotted manure once in summer. Deadhead regularly. Water regularly during dry spells, keeping leaves as dry as possible – this can be done in the early morning, so leaves dry off by noon. Gaillardia will self sow.