Rudbeckia – Black Eyed Susan

Although the new hybrids offer Rudbeckia in orange, red, bronze and blends and in dahlia shapes —- the wildflower that started it all is a simple daisy-like flower with golden yellow petals and a dark center seedhead.

The Standard Perennial Black Eyed Susan

Goldsturn, known as Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii, is a good perennial one to start with and is close enough to it’s wildflower heritage that it’s not particular about soil as long as it drains well. Plants get about 2 to 3 feet tall and spread almost that much in a couple of years or three.


The Wildflower

If you fall in love with the “black-eyed-susan-look” but don’t want more of them as permanent fixtures, try growing Rubdbeckia hirta.  It should flower the first year from seed. It re-seeds itself so you’ll be able to keep it in your garden when you want.

The Giant Black Eyed Susan

Have a spot for tall large Black Eyed Susans?  You’ll enjoy Rudbeckia Maxima.  It’s very striking — even after the flowers are gone the tall stalks with their seed heads are attractive in the border.

Maxima can grow a whopping nine feet!  I cut my giant Rudbeckias back to the ground when the foliage reaches about a foot or two in height.  They regrow quickly and it makes for a more compact plant and keeps the height at a somewhat more manageable 5 to 6 feet. giantrudbeckia

Some Good Traits

Any of the perennial Rudbeckias are easy to propagate via root division.  They are not invasive plants, but they are strong growers. They don’t usually die out in the center like Shasta Daisy can. They’re easy to thin or divide if you have to or want to.

Bloom starts about July.  They bloom for me profusely for at least a month to 6 weeks and then sporadically until fall.  In my gardens – Rudbeckia has always had a longer bloom time than the Shasta Daisies.  But like the Shastas their bloom can be somewhat extended by deadheading if you want to.

Good Companions

These bright gold plants are stunning when paired with purple Echinacia, phlox, sedums,  and asters.  Add a splash of blue like Veronica to make the display even more appealing.

Final Thought

Whether your space is large or small — if you want an impressive display of color in midsummer — include Rudbeckia as one of your mainstays — to make the other colors shine.


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2 comments to Rudbeckia – Black Eyed Susan


    I would like to get some of the giant black eyed suzans. Can you tell me where?

  • Theresa

    I’ll send you a person email Phyllis.

    Update: Phyllis I tried to send you an email and it came back. Do you have another email address that I could use to reach you?

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