'Gold Star Ruby Tubes' Gaillardia
Origin: North America
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~60
Germination tested 12/2021: 87%
Life cycle: Annual or Short-lived Perennial
Gaillardia, also known as firewheel or blanketflower, is a popular garden plant native from Mexico north through the Great Plains. Typically grown for its beauty, it is also a little known crop plant: the seeds can be ground into a paste and eaten like peanut butter or sunflower butter, and the leaves and powdered root are medicinal (a tea from the leaves is taken internall for gout, and applied externally for sore eyes and nipples irritated by breastfeeding; a root tea is used for gastroenteritis, while chewed powdered root is used for skin disorders; the whole plant is a diuretic).
From our friends at Wild Garden Seeds, this is a stunning form of gaillardia, selected from the variety 'Lorenziana,' featuring a natural mutation that has turned the once flat red and yellow petals into tubular little trumpets, red at the base and fringed in yellow. Reminscent of the 'Tubular Ray' sunflower we sometimes offer, this is a unique plant that will have all visitors to your garden asking about it!
GROWING TIPS: Very easy to grow from seed. It thrives in heat and can tolerate drought and poor soil conditions. Despite being an annual, gaillardia is a prolific self-seeder and will come back year after year. To establish, sow the seed in late fall or spring in an area with full or part sun. Make sure the area is well-drained. Rake the area before seeding to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Keep the area moist, but not soaked. With enough moisture, it should germinate in 1-2 weeks. Gaillardia seeds are easy to collect. This wildflower requires very little maintenance, but could use some deadheading throughout the season to keep it blooming to its full potential.