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Publication #FPS216

Gaillardia pulchella Blanket Flower, Gaillardia1

Edward F. Gilman and Sydney Park-Brown2


This sturdy North American native forms attractive, 12- to 24-inch-tall, rounded clumps of soft, hairy, divided leaves and single, semidouble, or double flowers held on long stems above the foliage. Appearing throughout the summer, the two- to three-inch-wide flowers are available in yellow, orange, red, or bicolors, and make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers. The brilliant blossoms are quite attractive to butterflies, and these annual flowers will normally reseed themselves quite readily.

General Information

Scientific name: Gaillardia pulchella
Pronunciation: gay-LAR-dee-uh pul-KEL-luh
Common name(s): gaillardia, blanket flower
Family: Compositae
Plant type: annual; perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 3 through 11 (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: May; Jun
Planting month for zone 8: Apr; May
Planting month for zone 9: Mar
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Mar
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: container or above-ground planter; cut flowers; accent; mass planting; ground cover; attracts butterflies; small parking lot islands (< 100 square feet in size); medium-sized parking lot islands (100-200 square feet in size); large parking lot islands (> 200 square feet in size)
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Figure 1. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


eaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: lobed; serrate
Leaf shape: oblanceolate; spatulate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: yellow; orange; red; bicolors
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering


Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: good
Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: native plant that often reproduces into nearby landscapes
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Suitable for growing along the beaches right on the dunes, gaillardia does best in light, very well-drained soils in full sun locations, enduring heat, sandy soil, and drought extremely well.

Gaillardia shows well in a mass planting spaced two to three feet apart, as an edging plant along a walk or driveway, or as an accent in a perennial garden or in front of a shrubbery border. Do not over-water since this could induce root rot.

Cultivars include 'Yellow Sun', bright yellow blooms, and 'Red Plume', vibrant, dark red blossoms.

Propagation is by seed or root divisions planted in early spring.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.



This document is FPS216, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Sydney Park-Brown, Extension agent, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.