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Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

PriceFrom $5.00

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan, is a vibrant and resilient flowering perennial that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Native to North America, this species is celebrated for its striking daisy-like blooms and its ability to thrive in a wide range of growing conditions. Its iconic black "eye" at the center of the golden petals makes it a popular choice for gardens, landscapes, and wildflower meadows.


Appearance:The Rudbeckia hirta plant typically grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm) and spreads about 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) in width. Its sturdy, upright stems are covered in coarse, slightly hairy foliage that adds to its rugged charm. The leaves are lance-shaped, dark green, and have a rough texture due to fine hairs.


Flowers:The most distinctive feature of Rudbeckia hirta is its stunning blooms. These flowers emerge in mid to late summer and continue to adorn the plant through early fall. Each flower consists of bright yellow to orange-yellow petals that surround a deep, almost-black central disk. The disk is what gives rise to the "black-eyed" appearance, creating a captivating contrast against the vibrant petals. The individual flowers are about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in diameter and are borne atop strong stems that sway gracefully in the breeze.


Cultural Requirements:Black-Eyed Susans are remarkably adaptable plants, making them a favorite among gardeners. They thrive in full sun to partial shade, with full sun promoting the most prolific flowering. These plants are well-suited for a variety of soil types, including well-drained and moderately fertile soils. Once established, they display moderate drought tolerance, though consistent moisture is recommended for optimal growth and flowering.


Landscaping Uses:Rudbeckia hirta can serve as versatile additions to various garden styles and settings. They make excellent choices for wildflower gardens, meadows, cottage gardens, and even formal landscapes. Their long-lasting blooms attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, enhancing the ecological value of the area. Additionally, the flowers can be used for cut arrangements, bringing their cheerful colors indoors.


Maintenance:Maintaining Rudbeckia hirta is relatively straightforward. Deadheading spent flowers encourages continuous blooming and prevents self-seeding. At the end of the growing season, the plant's foliage can be cut back to the ground, as it tends to die back during the winter. Mulching around the base of the plant can help protect the roots and conserve soil moisture.


Propagation:Black-Eyed Susans can be propagated through seeds or division. Seeds can be sown directly into the garden in the fall for spring germination, or indoors before the last frost for transplanting. Division is typically done in early spring or fall by separating the clumps into smaller sections and replanting them.


Pest and Disease Resistance:Rudbeckia hirta is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardens. However, like any plant, it can occasionally be susceptible to issues like aphids, slugs, and powdery mildew.

With its sunny disposition and captivating blooms, Rudbeckia hirta is a beloved perennial that adds a touch of warmth and charm to a variety of landscapes. Its ability to thrive in diverse conditions, coupled with its pollinator-friendly qualities, makes it a welcome addition to gardens and naturalistic settings alike. Whether in a formal border or a wildflower meadow, the Black-Eyed Susan never fails to bring joy and beauty to those who admire it.


Light: Full to part sun

Moisture: Average

Form: Flower

Size: 2-3' tall and 1-2' wide

Life Span: Short lived perennial

Salt Water Flooding Tolerance: Not tolerant

Salt Spray/Soil Tolerance: Low/None

Soil: Sand

pH: Adaptable

Zones: 8A, 8B, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B

Flower Color: Yellow

Bloom Season: Spring to Fall

Fruit Color: Brown

Noted for: Showy Flowers

Recommended Uses: Wildflower gardens, roadside wildflowers, meadows

Native Habitats: Roadsides


Considerations: While this is a short-lived perennial, it is usually grown as an annual. Readily self-seeds.

Wildlife: Seeds are eaten by small birds. Larval host for the silvery checkerspot (found only in extreme North Florida)


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