Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

Family: Coneflower

Type: Biennial

Other Common Name: Gloriosa Daisy, Coneflower

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan, is a widely recognized perennial known for its bright yellow petals and dark brown central cones. This vibrant plant adds a touch of wildflower charm to any garden setting. Black-Eyed Susan is valued for its long blooming period, typically from mid-summer to early fall, bringing continuous color when many other perennials are fading.

Growing to about 2-3 feet in height, with a similar spread, Black-Eyed Susan is an ideal size for a variety of garden contexts. It’s a hardy plant, capable of thriving in a range of conditions, from full sun to partial shade. This flower’s ability to adapt to different environments, along with its low-maintenance nature, makes it a favorite among gardeners.

Rudbeckia hirta is perfect for naturalistic plantings and meadow gardens, where its bright, daisy-like flowers can shine. It’s also a great choice for attracting pollinators, as butterflies and bees are drawn to its nectar-rich blooms. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Black-Eyed Susan is known for being drought-tolerant once established.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 4a-4a

Deer Resistant: Yes

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Dry to moist

Sun Needs: Full sun

Drought Tolerance (Xeriscape): Yes

Growth

Growth Rate: Fast

Average Height (feet): 2.5

Average Spread (feet): 2

Average Life Span (years): 2

Form: Upright spreading

Ornamental

Flower Color: Yellow

Secondary Flower Color: Gold

Flower Eye Color: Dark brown

Flower Shape: Daisy

Bloom Season: From early summer to early fall

Foliage Color: Green

Foliage Shape: Pointy

Landscaping Your Yard With Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan is excellent for adding a burst of color to perennial borders and flower beds. Its vibrant yellow blooms create a stunning contrast with other perennials and shrubs. Plant it in groups for a dramatic effect or intersperse it among other flowers for pops of color.

This plant works wonderfully in wildflower or cottage gardens, blending in naturally with a variety of flowering perennials and grasses. Its informal growth habit and bright flowers contribute to the relaxed, abundant feel of these garden styles. Black-Eyed Susan is also suitable for mass plantings in larger landscapes, creating a sea of yellow during its blooming period.

Due to its adaptability and resilience, Black-Eyed Susan is also an ideal choice for urban and roadside plantings. It can thrive in tough environments, adding beauty and attracting wildlife to these areas.

yellow_flowers_black_eyed_susan_rudbeckia_hirta_plant_by_number

Suitable Garden Styles

Cottage Garden

In cottage gardens, Black-Eyed Susan adds a delightful splash of color with its cheerful flowers. Its informal growth habit fits perfectly into the relaxed, bountiful style of these gardens.

Meadow Garden

In meadow gardens, Rudbeckia hirta contributes to the naturalistic aesthetic. Its ability to self-seed and spread makes it a great choice for creating a wildflower meadow look.

Formal Garden

In formal gardens, Black-Eyed Susan can be used to add a touch of brightness. Its simple yet striking flowers can complement more structured plantings and designs.

Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan Landscaping Ideas

Plant Black-Eyed Susan along garden edges or walkways. Its bright blooms can define paths and borders, guiding visitors through the garden. Combine it with plants that have contrasting foliage or flower colors for a striking visual display.

Seasonal Interest

Spring

In spring, Black-Eyed Susan starts to produce foliage, preparing for the blooming season.

Summer

During summer, it's covered in vibrant yellow flowers, creating a lively and colorful display in the garden.

Fall

In the fall, Black-Eyed Susan continues to bloom, adding warmth and color to the autumn garden. The seed heads also provide interest and food for birds.

Winter

In winter, Black-Eyed Susan becomes dormant. While the plant may lose its leaves, the dried seed heads can provide interest in the winter landscape and serve as a food source for wildlife.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Black-Eyed Susan thrives in areas with full sun to partial shade. It’s perfect for open, sunny gardens, meadows, or spots along the edges of wooded areas where it can enjoy ample sunlight.

Light

This plant prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. In full sun, Black-Eyed Susan produces the most abundant blooms and robust growth.

Soil

Black-Eyed Susan is adaptable to various soil types, though it prefers well-drained soil. It can thrive in both dry and moderately moist soil conditions.

Spacing

Space plants about 18-24 inches apart. This allows each Black-Eyed Susan plant enough space to grow and flourish without overcrowding.

When to Plant

The best time to plant Black-Eyed Susan is in the spring after the danger of frost has passed, or in the early fall to allow roots to establish before winter.

How to Plant

Plant at the same depth as the container they came in. Loosen the soil around the planting hole, place the plant, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.

Plant Care Tips

Watering

Water regularly to establish plants, especially in dry conditions. Once established, Black-Eyed Susan is relatively drought-tolerant.

Fertilizing

Fertilize in early spring with a general-purpose garden fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth and blooming.

Pruning

Deadheading spent blooms can encourage more flowering. Cut back plants in late fall or early winter after they go dormant.

By Season

 

Spring Care

In spring, clear away any dead foliage and apply fertilizer. Monitor watering as new growth begins.

Summer Care

During the hot summer months, ensure adequate watering, especially in dry conditions. Continue deadheading for prolonged blooms.

Fall Care

Reduce watering as the plant prepares for dormancy. This is a good time to divide and replant overcrowded clumps.

Winter Care

In winter, Black-Eyed Susan requires minimal care. The plant can be left untouched to provide winter interest and food for birds, or cut back if desired.

FAQ

How Long Does Black-Eyed Susan Bloom?

Black-Eyed Susan typically blooms from mid-summer to early fall, offering a long display of vibrant color.

Are Black-Eyed Susans Perennial?

Rudbeckia hirta varieties, including Black-Eyed Susan, are typically biennial or short-lived perennials. They often reseed themselves, ensuring continued presence in the garden.

Can Black-Eyed Susan Be Grown in Containers?

Yes, Black-Eyed Susan can be successfully grown in containers, provided they have sufficient space and are placed in a sunny location. Ensure the container has adequate drainage.

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