Black eyed susan deadheading

Learn About Black Eyed Susan Care

The black eyed Susan flower (Rudbeckia hirta) is a versatile, heat and drought tolerant specimen that should be included in many landscapes. Black eyed Susan plants grow all summer long, providing perky color and velvety foliage, requiring little care from the gardener.

Black Eyed Susan Care

As with many wildflowers, growing black eyed Susans is simple and rewarding when blooms brighten the garden, natural area or meadow. A member of the daisy family, black eyed Susan flowers go by other names, such as Gloriosa daisy or brown eyed Susan.

Black eyed Susan plants are drought resistant, self-seeding and grow in a variety of soils. Growing black eyed Susans prefer a neutral soil pH and a full sun to light shade location.

Black eyed Susan care will often include deadheading the spent blooms of the flower. Deadheading encourages more blooms and a sturdier, more compact plant. It also can stop or slow the spread of the black eyed Susan flower, as seeds are contained in the blooms. Seeds may be allowed to dry on the stem for reseeding or collected and dried in other ways for replanting in other areas. Seeds of this flower do not necessarily grow to the same height as the parent from which they were collected.

The black eyed Susan flower attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators to the garden. Deer, rabbits and other wildlife may be drawn to black eyed Susan plants, which they consume or use for shelter. When planted in the garden, plant the black eyed Susan flower near lavender, rosemary or other repellent plants to keep wildlife at bay.

Remember to use some of the flowers indoors as cut flowers, where they will last a week or longer.

Black Eyed Susans Flower Varieties

Black eyed Susan plants may be annual, biennial or short-lived perennials. Heights of various Rudbeckia reach from a few inches (7 cm) to a few feet (1.5 m.). Dwarf varieties are available. Whatever the landscape situation, most areas can benefit from the yellow petaled blooms with brown centers, which begin in late spring and last throughout the summer.

Photo © Stefan Bloodworth

The Black-eyed Susans’ (Rudbeckia hirta) are biennial plants that produce nectar that attracts butterflies, bees and other insects which can be potential food for birds. It also provides shelter for several song and game birds. Black-eyed Susans usually are used in treatment of critical areas subject to erosion! This plant is incredibly winter hardy; it can tolerate temperatures as low as -30⁰F.

The black-eyed Susan grows to be about 3 feet tall (about 1 m) with bright yellow ray flowers that are 2 to 3 inches wide and have small, dark brown spherical centers. Don’t worry if your black-eyed Susan seeds do not produce flowers the first year! They typically bloom in the summer and fall of the second year. Unfortunately, the plants die after producing flowers and having their seeds mature. Fortunately, however, once established, new seedlings will be produced from the plant before it dies.

Instructions

  • Plant black-eyed Susans when the soil temperature is around 70⁰ F for best seed germination. Sow by seed in loosely covered soil. This plant tends to spread out, so plant the seeds closer together to prevent them from sprawling (if you’d like).
  • Plant in a large container with moist, well-drained soil. Make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.
  • These plants prefer full sun but they will also grow in partial sun.
  • They grow best if soil is fertile but they can tolerate tough conditions.
  • Cut back the dead flowers for a chance at a second, smaller bloom in the fall.
  • Fertilize the plants in the container once a year (in the spring).

If you would like to learn more about the black-eyed Susan, please click here.

Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower

Rudbeckias have become one of our most popular garden plants in recent years, and it’s not surprising – bushy plants produce masses of colourful flowers with a long flowering period from July to October.

Rudbeckias are characterised by their colourful daisy-like flowers surrounding a prominent conical disk. They can be annuals, biennials or herbaceous perennials, the annuals grown as half-hardy annuals, sown indoors in warmth. The annual varieties may survive from year to year if left in the garden, but flowering may be reduced in subsequent years.

Although yellow is the prominent colour, in recent years numerous red and orange-flowered varieties have been produced.

How to grow rudbeckias

Cultivation

Rudbeckias grow perfectly in positions in either full sun or light shade. They need a fertile soil enriched with lots of organic matter, which holds plenty of moisture in spring and summer, doesn’t dry out or become waterlogged.

Rudbeckia varieties

Annuals
  • Rudbeckia hirta Cappuccino Bronze petals bleed into yellow at their tips.
  • Rudbeckia hirta Cherry Brandy Cherry-red flowers.
  • Rudbeckia hirta Prairie Sun Orange petals radiating back to lemon yellow with green central cone.
  • Rudbeckia hirta Rustic Dwarfs Shorter variety with a mix of flowers from yellow to rich mahogany.
  • Rudbeckia hirta Toto Dwarf, compact plants with golden-yellow blooms.
Perennials
  • Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii Goldsturm Deep yellow petals with an orange tint surrounding a purple-brown centre.
  • Rudbeckia laciniata Goldquelle Bright lemon-yellow, double flowers.
  • Rudbeckia laciniata Herbstsonne Golden, drooping petals surrounding a prominent pale green conical centre.

Sowing rudbeckias

Sow seeds from February to April in pots or trays of moist seed sowing compost at a temperature of 20-25C (68-77F).

Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5-10cm (3-4in) pots. Harden off by growing on in cooler conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 30cm (12in) apart.

Sow seeds from February to July in trays or pots of good seed compost at a temperature of 65-70F (18-20C).

Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5-10cm (3-4in) pots. Harden off early-sown plants by growing on in cooler conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 60-90cm (2-3ft) apart.

Planting rudbeckias

You can buy young plants from garden centres, nurseries or mail order suppliers. Perennial varieties can be planted at any time of year, although autumn or spring are the best times.

Dig over the planting area, incorporating lots of organic matter such as compost, especially if the soil is heavy clay or light, well-drained sandy soil. Dig a good sized hole big enough to easily accommodate the rootball.

Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth so that the crown of leaves is at soil level. Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole. Apply a general granular plant food over the soil around the plants and water in well. Then add a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) thick mulch of organic matter over the soil around the plants.

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Flower borders and beds, patios, containers, city and courtyard gardens, cottage and informal gardens, cut flower garden.

How to care for rudbeckias

Water plants whenever necessary to keep the soil or compost moist during spring, summer and early autumn, as this will prolong flowering. Always try to water the soil or compost, rather than over the foliage.

Apply a liquid plant food every couple of weeks in the growing season to encourage more, bigger and better flowers.

Deadhead faded flowers regularly to encourage more blooms to be produced.

Apply a granular general plant food around the plants in spring.

Apply a layer of compost or mulch around the plants in spring to retain soil moisture and control weeds.

Water plants whenever necessary to keep the soil or compost moist during spring, summer and early autumn, as this will prolong flowering. Always try to water the soil or compost, rather than over the foliage.

Feeding with a liquid plant food every couple of weeks in the growing season will also encourage more, bigger and better flowers.

Plants are compact and bushy and rarely need staking.

Wherever possible, deadhead plants by cutting back faded flowers to encourage further flushes of flowers. In autumn, cut down all growth to ground level after it has died back.

Divide overcrowded plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in spring, lifting the plants and dividing them into smaller clumps.

Flowering season(s)

Summer, Autumn

Foliage season(s)

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Sunlight

Full sun, Partial shade

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy

Soil pH

Neutral

Soil moisture

Moist but well-drained

Ultimate height

Up to 90cm (3ft) depending on variety

Ultimate spread

Up to 90cm (3ft) depending on variety

Time to ultimate height

2-3 years

Coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and several other summer-blooming annuals and perennials are all part of the Rudbeckia flower family. Rudbeckia flowers need a sunny spot with average to rich, well-drained soil. Sow annuals indoors in spring to set out after frost. Plant perennials in spring or fall. Divide every 3 to 4 years; deadhead to avoid self-seeding unless you want them to spread in a meadow or prairie garden. Mildew can be an issue on the foliage, so avoid overhead watering and don’t crowd the plants.

How to Grow Echinacea

Summer-blooming annual Rudbeckia hirta, black-eyed Susan, bears single yellow, dark-centered daisies on 3-foot stems. The beloved cottage and cutting garden staples, Gloriosa daisies, with their marvelous blends of gold, orange, reddish, and mahogany petals on daisies up to 6 inches across, are a strain of this species; like black-eyed Susans, they bloom the first year from seed and are usually treated as annuals, though they may live a second or even third year if left in place.

Perennial R. fulgida, orange coneflower, bears 3- to 4-inch single, dark-centered gold daisies on 1½- to 3-foot plants in late summer and autumn. R. fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is a widely grown, very floriferous cultivar, often grown from seed. Zones 3–9. Mass in borders with other summer bloomers, in informal plantings, and cutting gardens. Coneflowers are naturals for the meadow or prairie garden, where their showy blooms add welcome color. Leave them standing in the meadow or prairie until spring—birds (including goldfinches) love the seeds, and the cones will remain showy through winter.

Gardening How-to Articles

Ravishing Rudbeckia—Coneflowers That Light up the Fall Garden

By Barbara Blossom Ashmun | September 1, 2003

My first encounter with coneflowers (Rudbeckia), also called black-eyed Susans, was on a visit to a Long Island estate garden that once belonged to Woody Allen. A hedge of Rudbeckia nitida formed an eight-foot-high summer wall between two garden rooms and was alive with butterflies that flitted from flower to flower in an exuberant dance. The large daisylike coneflower blossoms had vibrant yellow petals and green conical centers, which jutted quirkily up in the air. Annual sunflowers bloomed in front of them in tints of mustard, wine, and creamy yellow. It was an unforgettable scene, one I relive every year when the coneflowers blossom in my own garden.

Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’

Blooming from late summer through frost, coneflowers bring saturated warm color and height—they grow anywhere from three to ten feet tall—to beds and borders. Coneflowers are easy to cultivate and good for cutting, and they mingle well with other plants as long as their flower colors are compatible. The bright yellow coneflower petals look great beside purple, deep blue, orange, red, burgundy, and even white blossoms. (They don’t blend too well with flowers in the pink or magenta spectrum.)

The genus Rudbeckia consists of around 25 mostly perennial species (there are some annual and biennial species and forms) native to moist meadows and forest edges of North America. Named by Linnaeus to honor his teacher, Swedish botanist Olaf Rudbeck, the genus is part of the Asteraceae, or aster family, which includes such other daisy-flowered genera as Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, and Aster. Following are some of my favorite species and cultivars for the garden.

Best of the Bunch

The vertically unchallenged Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’ (also called R. nitida ‘Autumn Sun’) is a gem for the back of a border. It has large, gently lobed leaves and five-inch-wide blossoms. The yellow petals droop so that the green central cones stand up like noses. In my garden ‘Herbstonne’ grows happily in clay-based soil, rising seven to eight feet without any staking. Behind it, the deep green leaves of a tall cutleaf elderberry (Sambucus nigra f. laciniata) provide a good backdrop and make the coneflower’s inflorescence sparkle.

‘Goldquelle’ is a four- to five-foot-tall cultivar of Rudbeckia nitida, with deep yellow semidouble flowers that are more voluptuous than those of ‘Herbstonne’. Packed with petals, it looks more like a dahlia than a coneflower. ‘Goldkugel’ is a showy double-flowering form that resembles a chrysanthemum.

The tall coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata, grows from five to ten feet high. Its leaves are more deeply cut than those of R. nitida and provide more interesting texture, but the plant’s large, coarse, single flowers make it a less graceful addition to the garden. The cultivar ‘Golden Glow’ is a better option with its fully double all-yellow flower heads. However, it spreads quickly by runners and is a better candidate for a meadow than a border, where it can become a bit of a thug.

Cabbage leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) is in a class of its own, with striking 18-inch-long blue-green leaves. By mid- to late summer, the flowering stems rise up seven feet tall and are topped by dramatic coneflowers with two-inch-high noses and strongly drooping petals. This species loves moisture and heat and is ideal for a sunny damp meadow, but it can also be placed as an architectural accent in a mixed border.

Three-lobed coneflower, Rudbeckia triloba, usually a biennial, has all the presence of a shrub by midsummer. Its distinctive three-lobed leaves are furred. The plant grows five feet tall and wide and is filled with light, airy branches that bear hundreds of small bright black-eyed Susans. Picture a blazing beacon in the garden from which stems can be cut for bouquets with no loss to the plant’s appearance. Like ‘Goldsturm’ (see below), it seeds around freely, sending pleasant surprises into next year’s borders. Several medium-size coneflowers provide long-lasting color for the middle of borders.

The three-foot-high sweet coneflower, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, is one. This plant is named for the mild scent of anise that wafts from its three-inch-wide flowers. Its toothed gray-green leaves have downy undersides, and its stems are nicely branched—a benefit for bouquets.

Popularized by landscape designers Wolfgang Oehme and James Van Sweden, ‘Goldsturm’ orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’) belongs in every garden. This long-blooming yolk-yellow black-eyed Susan never flops, and it blooms well even in partial shade as long as it gets ample moisture. Flowers are three to four inches wide, and the plant grows three to four feet tall. ‘Goldsturm’ has seeded itself throughout my 2/3-acre garden and is always a welcome bright touch in late summer and fall.

For a small garden, or the front or middle of a narrow border, the compact black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia speciosa var. newmanii, is a good choice. The plant grows only two feet tall. Its abundant flowers are slightly smaller than those of ‘Goldsturm’.

Although the one- to three-foot-high gloriosa daisy, Rudbeckia hirta, is considered an annual and is easily grown from seed, it often self-sows for future years and brings some excellent cutting flowers to the mix. The cultivar ‘Indian Summer’ is popular for its six-inch-wide flowers with orange, red, and gold tints. Similarly, the Rustic Colors strain blends gold with burgundy for a Van Gogh look. ‘Irish Eyes’ is yellow with a green center, and ‘Goldilocks’ is a double yellow.

Rudbeckia Culture

Rudbeckia is easy to grow in any fertile garden soil and tolerates heavy clay as well. Sunny sites are ideal, but most black-eyed Susans will also bloom well enough in part shade. Most prefer regular watering where summers are dry.

To extend flowering and prevent self-sowing, deadhead the spent flowers—this also makes for a tidier-looking plant. If the old flowers are left alone, however, there are other advantages as well. For instance, the cones have ornamental appeal after the petals have dropped; birds enjoy the seeds in the winter; and you will be surprised by numerous seedlings next spring. Plants can also be increased by divisions made in early spring or late fall. When starting from seed, growers recommend a 50-50 sand and peat mix and find a better germination rate when seeds are chilled in the refrigerator for two weeks before sowing.

Companionable Combinations

I like the single-flowering coneflowers accompanied by similarly low-key perennials that would fit into a naturalistic meadow scene. Tall ‘Herbstonne’ likes a skirt of red switch grass, say Panicum virgatum ‘Rehbraun,’ or P. virgatum ‘Shenandoah,’ both with airy red flowers starting in late summer and red tints brightening their green leaves in autumn. Add some ‘Gateway’ joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum ssp. maculatum ‘Gateway’) for a touch of purple in the mix.

Try double-flowering ‘Goldquelle’ with more cultivated-looking double dahlias in warm hues—red, orange, or burgundy—to match its style. Or contrast this shapely yellow coneflower with vertical spikes of purple fall monkshood (Aconitum henryi ‘Sparks’) for a striking combination.

To make the most of the cabbage leaf coneflower’s (Rudbeckia maxima) distinctive blue-green leaves, combine it with purple-leaved golden loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata ‘Purpurea’) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ for contrast, and repeat its foliage color with accents of plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) and globe thistle (Echinops ritro).

Since Rudbeckia triloba is so profuse, with hundreds of small vivid gold flowers smothering the shrub-size plant, it’s hard to find a perennial with brilliant enough flowers to hold its own. Instead, balance the weight with the dark leaves of Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’, which will also bring out the coneflowers’ black eyes. Or place a dark-leaved shrub nearby—’Diabolo’ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’) or ‘Black Beauty’ elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’)—for a similarly sultry contrast.

‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan mixes nicely with any number of fall-flowering sedums at its feet. My favorites are the dark-leaved Sedum telephium ‘Mohrchen’ and the golden-variegated Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum.’ Grasses are good companions; try blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) for a cool effect.

Nursery Sources:

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Foss Hill Rd.
Albion, ME 04910
207-437-4301
www.johnny-seeds.com Prairie Nursery, Inc.
P.O. Box 306
Westfield, WI 53964
800-476-9453
www.prairienursery.com Digging Dog Nursery
P.O. Box 471
Albion, CA 95410
707-937-1130
www.diggingdog.com Forestfarm
990 Tetherow Rd.
Williams, OR 97544-9599
541-846-7269
www.forestfarm.com

Barbara Blossom Ashmun writes a regular gardening column for Oregon’s Portland Tribune. Her latest book is Married to My Garden, a collection of humorous and philosophical stories.

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Guide To Rudbeckia Deadheading – How To Deadhead Black Eyed Susans

It’s an age old tale in the garden, you planted one cute little Black Eyed Susan in a perfect spot. Then a couple seasons later, you have hundreds of little ones popping up everywhere. This can be maddening for the tidy, organized gardener. Read more to learn how to deadhead Black Eyed Susans for control, as well as the pros and cons of cutting blooms on Rudbeckia plants.

Do You Deadhead Black Eyed Susans?

Deadheading Black Eyed Susan flowers is not necessary but can prolong the blooming period and prevent the plants from seeding all over your landscape. There are about twenty-five native species of Rudbeckia blanketing fields and meadows across North America.

In nature, they efficiently go about their business of providing food and shelter for butterflies, other insects, birds and small animals while self-sowing new generations of Black Eyed Susan plants.

Left to grow wild, Rudbeckias are visited throughout the blooming season by pollinators and butterflies like fritillaries, checkerspots and swallowtails. In fact, Silver checkerspot butterflies use Rudbeckia laciniata as a host plant.

After the blooms fade, the flowers turn to seed, which goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches and other birds feed on throughout the fall and winter. Colonies of Black Eyed Susans also provide shelter for beneficial insects, small animals and birds.

Cutting Blooms on Rudbeckia

While wildflower gardens are great little habitats for birds, butterflies and bugs, you don’t always want all that wildlife right next to your front door or patio. Black Eyed Susan can add beautiful and durable splashes of yellow to the landscape, but their seed will happily sow itself everywhere if not deadheaded.

Cut off faded and wilted Black Eyed Susan blooms throughout the growing season to keep the plant tidy and in control. Rudbeckia deadheading is easy:

On Rudbeckia that grow a single flower on each stem, cut the stem back to the base of the plant.
For Rudbeckias with multiple flowers on a stem, just snip off the spent blooms.

In autumn, cut Black Eyed Susan back to about 4” tall or, if you wouldn’t mind a few more Black Eyed Susan plants, let the last blooms go to seed for the birds. The seed heads can also be cut and dried to propagate new plants.

Black-Eyed Susan: Winter Care Tips

Black-Eyed Susan can be perennial (Rudbeckia fulgida) or annual (Rudbeckia hirta). Garden varieties of both have been bred from wildflowers that are common throughout the United States and southern Canada.

If you don’t mind some untidiness in your winter garden, and if you like to feed the birds, don’t bother removing dead foliage and cutting stalks back. Birds will feast on the seeds.

Perennial Black-Eyed Susan is hardy, especially if you give it a light mulch of dried leaves—mimicking the way leaves would catch in the flower stalks if the plant grew wild. Annual Black-Eyed Susan self-seeds, so new plants will appear in the spring. Keep the surrounding ground bare, so seeds have a place to rest through the winter and sprout in the spring.

If you cut back stalks of perennial Black-Eyed Susan, wait until late fall when the plant is completely dormant. Leave three or four inches of the stem above the basal leaves to avoid injuring the plant. Cover the plant well with a mulch of dried leaves, especially in the first year after planting or dividing.

If you cut back stalks of annual Black-eyed Susan, it will not be able to self-seed. Lay the stems with the seed heads on a paper plate and let them dry. Shaking or rubbing the dry seed head will release the seeds onto the paper plate. You can store them through the winter in a labeled envelope or plastic bag and plant in the spring.

How to Care for Black-Eyed Susan Perennials in Fall

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Since Black-Eyed Susan perennials spend most of the fall blooming and thriving, not much fall care is necessary. These perennials are a wildflower that require little attention and can thrive in almost any conditions. To ensure that the Black-Eyed Susans are protected during the cold winter months, covering them with mulch before the first frost is sufficient. Doing so will protect the roots of the perennial from being damaged by the cold.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Cut back the stalks of the Black-Eyed Susan perennials in late fall, when the plant is dormant. Use gardening shears to cut the stem, but leave about 4 inches of the stem above the leaves so the plant is not harmed.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Gather items to use for mulch, such as straw or dried leaves.

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Cover the Black-Eyed Susan perennials with mulch in late fall. This will protect the flowers during the cold months so they will be strong in the spring.

This annual Rudbeckia is commonly known as Black Eyed Susan, but also answers to such folksy names as Brown Betty, Brown Daisy, Brown Eyed Susan, Golden Jerusalem, Poor-land Daisy, Yellow Daisy, and Yellow Ox-Eye Daisy. This wonderful, fun flower comes in so many shapes, sizes and colours. It is so easy to plant and grow Rudbeckia seeds. Follow these simple instructions.

Latin
Rudbeckia hirta
Family: Asteraceae

Difficulty
Easy

Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 2-10

Timing
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost (early to mid-February on the coast), or direct sow about 2 weeks before last frost (middle of March on the Coast). If starting indoors, provide bright light and maintain a soil temperature of 21-25°C (70-75°F). Expect germination in 5-21 days.

Starting
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil. Thin or transplant to stand 30cm (12″) apart. In hot summers, some afternoon shade is appreciated.

Growing
Top dress with a thin layer of well rotted manure once a year. Keep watered in hot weather, and deadhead regularly. Plants may self-sow, which should be encouraged.

Planting Instructions for Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan):

Bloom Time: Summer Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Average to loamy, well-drained Moisture: Average to dry
Planting Depth: 1/2 to 1″ deep, mulch lightly Spacing: 18 to 24″

Upon arrival: Unpack box and check that you have everything on your packing list. Bare root Rudbeckia should be dry in the bags, so if condensation has formed on the inside of the bag, open and let it air out. Plant everything within a day or two.

Soil/Location: Plant your Rudbeckia in full sun to part shade in any good, well-drained soil. Add compost or peat humus to enrich and loosen the soil if needed, but they are very adaptable to almost any soil conditions provided it dries out between watering. Remember to keep the soil light and airy for perennials, so cover them with loose soil and don’t pack them in after planting.

Moisture: Rudbeckia do not require much moisture, even after they are actively growing, and they are not very tolerant of wet conditions. Early season plantings (April and May) and plants that have no foliage should be started on the dry side. During that time we like to water lightly once and then we don’t water again until the foliage has started to emerge, and even then there is usually enough natural moisture to keep them going without ever needing supplemental water. During the growing season you can water if they wilt and then make sure the soil dries between watering. Black foliage and brown leaf tips are often signs of fungus which is common when plants are over watered.

Spacing: Rudbeckia spreads underground and can take up a good amount of space, so plant 18 to 24″ apart or more.

Depth: Plant with the top of the crown about 1/2 to 1″ below soil level so that all parts of the roots are buried. Mulch lightly after planting.

General Instructions: Amend your garden with compost or peat humus to enrich or loosen the soil, if needed, however Rudbeckia are very adaptable to any loose, well-draining soil and will thrive in a good sandy loam. Mix a couple teaspoons of garden food or bone meal into the planting hole if desired. Plant the roots as listed above, then water in once lightly. They prefer a dry start when they are dormant in spring and have no foliage. Once they are actively growing it is alright to give them supplemental water once a week or so, if needed, making sure the soil is never really wet.

Landscape Uses: Rudbeckia are great summer blooming plants for the wildflower garden, cottage garden, or mixed borders. They combine well with tall garden phlox, daylilies, Echinacea, Liatris, daisies, lilies, Salvia, Veronica, and ornamental grasses.

Most varieties will self seed freely, so they do have a tendency to spread around. Deadheading can keep them in check and will help them bloom more, however leaving the seed heads standing can provide food for birds if you don’t mind the seedlings. Some varieties have a tendency to develop black spot, even in the best growing conditions. A preventive fungicide spray in early to mid summer can help keep it at bay.

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