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Gaillardia pulchella Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, Firewheel

Edward F. Gilman, Sydney Park-Brown, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


This sturdy North American native form, attractive, 12 to 24inchtall, rounded clumps of soft, hairy, divided leaves and single, semi-double, or double flowers held on long stems above the foliage. Appearing throughout the summer, the two to threeinchwide flowers are available in yellow, orange, red, or bicolor, 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.

Full Form - Gaillardia pulchella: Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, Firewheel
Figure 1. Full Form - Gaillardia pulchella: Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, Firewheel
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Flower - Gaillardia pulchella: Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, Firewheel
Figure 2. Flower - Gaillardia pulchella: Blanket Flower, Gaillardia, Firewheel
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Gaillardia pulchella

Pronunciation: gay-LAR-dee-uh pul-KEL-luh

Common name(s): gaillardia, blanket flower, firewheel

Family: Asteraceae

Plant type: annual; perennial; herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 3 through 11 (Figure 3)

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

Invasive potential: native plant that often reproduces into nearby landscapes

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

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Plant habit: spreading

Plant density: open

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf 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; bicolor

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

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.

Publication #FPS216

Release Date:October 24, 2023

Related Experts

Park Brown, Sydney G


University of Florida

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About this Publication

This document is FPS216, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Sydney Park-Brown, Extension agent, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.



  • Gail Hansen de Chapman