RUDBECKIA: Black Eyed Susan
This genus is popular in gardens because of great hardiness and valuable late-blooming flower display. All perennial varieties are tough and easy to grow. Rudbeckia attracts butterflies and other beneficial insects in the garden. Most are very tall plants, over 4 feet and carry masses of large golden yellow daisy like flowers with dark brown to black disk florets.
They make great cut flowers! Cutting also encourages re-blooming later in season. Available in dwarf, double-flowered, and a variety of multi and single colored forms. It flowers from late summer until frost. Rudbeckia hirta (and its hybrids)is the only species that is considered annual and not hardy in the Pacific Northwest.
Rudbeckia fulgida – (R. fulgida 'Early Bird Gold' shown here) Perennial. Yellow, 2-2.5 inches wide flowers with black to brown central cone. Develops flowers in summer. Branching stems; broadly lance-shaped, 5 inch long hairy dark green leaves. Spreads by rhizomes to form a larger clump. Grows 3’ tall and 2’ wide over a few years.
Rudbeckia fulgida “Goldsturm”- bearing 3 inches black-eyed yellow flower on 2-2.5 feet stems.
R. hirta – (gloriosa daisy) short lived perennial (not hardy in the Pacific Northwest). Flowers in the first summer from seed sown in early spring. Flowers are daisy like, 2-4 inches wide and have orange yellow rays with a prominent purplish black cone. Stems and lance-shaped leaves to 4 inches long are round and hairy. Grows 3-4 feet tall and 1-1.5 feet wide with an upright branching habit.
‘Cherokee Sunset’- Double and semi-double 3-4 inches flowers in shades of yeloow, orange, red, bronze and mahogany; some bicolor. Grow 24 inches high and 12 inches wide.
‘Prairie Sun’ – flowers have bright orange petals with lemon yellow tips with central green cone. Usually 36” high by 24” wide.
‘Toto’- dwarf 8-10 inches high golden-yellow ray flowers with brown central cone. (shown in side column)
Rudbeckia laciniata - Perennial. Develops 2-3.5 inches wide flowers with drooping yellow rays and a green cone. It has light green, deeply lobed leaves to 4 inches long. Blooming period from summer to fall. Can reach 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Rudbeckia nitida “Herbstsonne” – Perennial. Similar to Rudbeckia laciniata, but shorter reaching only 6 feet tall. Develops single 4-5 inches wide flowers with yellow rays and a bright green cone that ages to yellow. Grows 6’ tall by 2’ wide.
Rudbeckia subtomentosum “Henry Eilers”
Charming blooms of unusual gold quilled petals highlighted by chocolate-brown button centers. Good for cut flowers. A narrow upright grower which makes a great specimen for the back of the border.
FUN FACTS: RUDBECKIA
Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan
Origin: Native to North America. Genus contains 15 species of perennials in the daisy family. Linnaeus named Rudbeckia to honor Olaus Rudbeck (1660-1740), a professor at Uppsala University, who employed young Linnaeus as a tutor for his 24 children.
Culture: Likes full sun, and moist well drained soil.
Maintenance: Deadhead to encourage continued blooming.
Diseases: Powdery mildew can occur but usually only in late season.
Propagation: Easy to propagate by seed or root division.