Blanketflower a/k/a Indian Blanket or Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella)

This is one of the most beautiful, resilient, low-maintenance, and pollinator-attracting prairie plants in our spring and summer gardens. It is a composite flower, meaning that the flower’s center is actually comprised of many tiny flowers. Consequently, an insect can feed on the multiple nectar rewards from a single flower—kind of like shopping at a mall, rather than a freestanding store! The flower heads are also broad enough to support larger pollinators, like Monarch and Gulf Fritillary butterflies. Blanketflower is one of the most widely used nectar and pollen sources in our gardens during the spring and summer.

Blanketflower is an annual, meaning that it will die back, with new plants sprouting from the prior generation’s seed. However, in the south, this annual is long-lived, blooming from early spring through late fall, sometimes even through the first freeze. It reseeds freely and sprouts prolifically.

Having evolved in the prairie, it has deep enough roots that, once established, it doesn’t need supplemental watering—despite growing in full sun in the blazing Texas summer. This saves time, money, and resources.

It also thrives in a wide range of soil: you can see robust patches popping up along the highway in hard clay, sand, etc. In my experience, the only way to kill Blanketflower is to pamper it with too much water, too much soil amendment, etc. It is happiest when left alone.

You can learn more about Blanketflower here.