About Indian Blanket: Meriwether Lewis collected the first specimen of this wildflower on July 7, 1806. His research of this and other native species was completed by botanist Frederick Traugott Pursch in 1813, who completed a catalogue of the species discovered on the famous expedition. The genus name Gaillardia honors an 18th century French botanist named Gaillard de Charentonneau. The common name Indian Blanket seems to come from the similarity of the brightly colored blossoms to Native American weaving.
Indian Blanket Germination: Direct sow in late spring, planting ¼” below the surface of the soil and compacting it slightly. Keep the soil evenly moist and at a temperature of 70-75 degrees F until germination, which widely varies from 20-70 days. Since these plants do not transplant well, they should be planted in peat pots if started indoors.
Growing Indian Blanket Seeds: Water the seedlings until they become established. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though watering in especially dry periods will improve the blooming. Excess moisture may result in root rot and other disease. Deadheading or cutting back the plant will also increase the blooms. This is a rather short-lived perennial that does not readily self-sow. This plant attracts butterflies and resists deer.
Harvesting Indian Blanket: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Indian Blanket Seeds: After the petals of the flowers drop off, the center will begin to turn from green to brown. Cut the seed heads off when they have ripened but before they begin to shatter. Spread them out to dry in a protected location for 2-3 weeks. Crush the seed heads to separate the seed from the stems. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Indian Blanket Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Firewheel, Indian Blanket Flower, Blanket Flower, Rose-Ring Blanket Flower Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Summer-Fall Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 14,000 Produces rough, hairy, divided 6” leaves and 2-3” daisy-like flowers with dark red centers and toothed burgundy petals that turn yellow at the tips.