Black-Eyed Susan Brings Cheerful Colour

Black-eyed Susan is a cheerful, widespread plant with daisy-like flowers, vibrant yellow rays, and domed, dark brown center disks. The stems and oval leaves are covered with bristly hairs. is a biennial plant. The first year, it creates a rosette of leaves at ground level, followed by blooms the second year. It reseeds fast, so blossoms can be seen year after year. It grows well in clusters.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Rudbeckia hirta

Botanical Family: Asteraceae

En français: Rudbeckie hérissée

Colours:

Blooms:

Water: One inch a week in the first year, drought resistant when established

Soil:

Pollinators:

Hardiness Zones:

Black-eyed Susan’s bright yellow flowers attract many different pollinators. It is one of the larval host plants of the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly. The flowers also appeal to other , moths, bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. The seed heads provide good winter interest as well as food for birds.

Consider planting rudbeckias in bunches in a layered garden with other colourful summer and fall bloomers. Use our plant selection tool to serch for alternatives.

Drought Tolerant Once Established

Once established, Black-eyed Susans are fairly drought tolerant, low-maintenance, self-seeding, and disease resistant with few necessary care requirements. However, in the first year, water about an inch a week until the plant is established. Powdery mildew can form on their foliage when there is lingering water on the foliage. Thus, they should be spaced appropriately and watered at the soil level rather than from above. Regarding their growth, they thrive under partial to full sunlight with a neutral level in the soil.

Deadheading Rudbeckia

Deadheading is a major part of Black-eyed Susan’s care as they can reseed faster when kept intact. Since seeds are contained in the blooms of the black-eyed Susan, it can slow or stop their spread. Otherwise, the seeds of these plants spread throughout the garden as the flowers fade and dry up. Deadheading also allows the plant to grow a sturdier body and spurs more blooms.

Seeds

Similar to its sister plant, the , the eyes of the Black-Eyed Susan are the source of its seeds. You can allow the seeds to dry on the stem for reseeding or collect and dry them in other ways for replanting elsewhere. They can be harvested by drying up the seed head when the blooms turn brown or faded/Black-eyed Susan has seeds that look like smaller rice grains with black coloring. 

Close up of Black-eyed Susan Flower with a a pollinator
Credit: Plismo, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Black-eyed Susan can grow up to six to seven feet tall, but their size can change dramatically depending on the variety you grow. They can appear to be a few inches to a few feet tall. The plant grown from its seed tends to be a bit smaller in size than its parent plant. 

Companion Plants to Repel Fauna

Planting these plants alongside strong-scented companion plants such as rosemary or lavender can be the best possible repellent against rabbits, varmints, or deer. Rabbits do not specifically target Black-eyed Susan to feed on, but when they come across these biennial flowering plants, they do not hesitate to munch on them.

Sources and References

Rudbeckia

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