GAILLARDIA 'El Fuego' PPAF
Plant Common Name
Blanketflower, El Fuego Blanketflower
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Blanket flowers sport the warm colors of hand woven Native American blankets. There are approximately 17 species that make up this genus. They are naturally distributed across much of the United States, Central America and northern South America and favor open sunny meadows, prairies and uplands.
Gaillardia may be annual or perennial. All are clump-forming and some spread slowly by rhizomes (rooted underground lateral stems). They are most commonly herbaceous, usually well-branched and have variable leaves of green that are usually rough to the touch, hairy and dotted with conspicuous oil glades. They may be oblong, lance-shaped, spatula-shaped or linear with smooth, deeply divided or toothed edges.
The flowers generally appear from late spring to frost, with regular deadheading. Their daisies are produced on wiry stems above the foliage and often have centers (disc flowers) of yellow, orange, red or burgundy surrounded by single or multiple rows of sharp tipped, toothed petals (ray flowers) of yellow, white, orange, red, or burgundy. Bi-colored flowers are common. The daisies draw bees and butterflies and the fruits that follow resemble small hairy sunflower seeds and are eaten by birds.
Indian blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) is a popular bedding annual native to coastal region of the southeastern United States. Its bushy gray-green foliage beautifully compliments its colorful red or yellow daisies with dark burgundy centers. The perennial Gaillardia aristata reigns from the plains of North America to Canada and the southwestern United States. It is hardy, drought tolerant and easily grown from seed. Most Gaillardia are cultivated hybrids of these and other garden-worthy species.
Blanket flowers are generally very easy to grow. Most are highly drought tolerant and prefer sunny locations with fertile to average soil that’s well-drained. Sandy or gravelly soils are also favored. Garden varieties still look best with occasional water and fertilizer. Deadheading will extend the flower season. Most Gaillardia gently self-sow, so it’s a good idea to allow some of seed heads to mature at season’s end.
Many Gaillardia are salt tolerant and amenable to Oceanside gardens. They also work well in any sunny beds or container. Butterfly gardens benefit from the presence of blanket flowers because they provide nectar for adults and larval food for the caterpillars.