Firewheel Blooms Late Spring Through Summer
By DEE BISHOP
Smith County Gardener
Gaillardia pulchella is better known as firewheel, Indian blanket or blanket flower. A native prairie flower, firewheel blooms from late spring through the hot summer. There are so many cultivars of Gaillardia that you can surely find one just right for your garden. This particular one is blooming in both the IDEA and Heritage gardens right now. We also have solid red, solid yellow, yellow and orange, yellow and peach, double flowering ones; well, you can see how many ways there are to get your gaillardia.
If you travel over the Mid-West, to the Southeast, from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi and beyond, you will find gaillardias. They love fairly poor soils that drain well and are fairly dry with lots of hot sun. The colors remind you of the sun both in shape and in color.
There are other varieties of gaillardia as well and some are even perennial (but short-lived perennials). Save some of the fuzzy seed heads once they turn brown. Pull out the little seeds that are attached to the fuzz. Plant them in late winter. They are easy and so colorful. People from other countries find our native plants outstanding and firewheel is always noticed.