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Publication #FPS217

Gaillardia pulchella 'Red Plume' Red Plume Gaillardia, Red Plume Blanket Flower1

Edward F. Gilman and Sydney Park-Brown2


'Red Plume' gaillardia grows 6 to 12 inches tall. Deep red, fluffy flowers emerge in the heat of the summer and stand well above the simple or lobed foliage. These showy flowers are attractive to butterflies and command attention in the landscape.

General Information

Scientific name: Gaillardia pulchella 'Red Plume'
Pronunciation: gay-LAR-dee-uh pul-KEL-luh
Common name(s): 'Red Plume' gaillardia, 'Red Plume'
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: not native to North America
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


Leaf arrangement: basal rosette
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: red
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: may self-seed each year
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Gaillardia flowers are perfect for the cutting garden, and the plants can be massed in the landscape for a lovely effect. The small size makes it well suited for a ground cover. Gaillardia does well in heat and humidity and is perfectly suited to coastal gardens.

Plant the blanket flowers in full sun on well-drained soils. Shady areas or overly moist soils will cause gaillardia to rot. These plants are both drought and salt tolerant.

Pests and Diseases

Sweet potato whitefly can be a problem.



This document is FPS217, 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.