Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
This native prairie biennial forms a rosette of leaves the first year, followed by flowers the second year. It is covered with hairs that give it a slightly rough texture. The Green-headed Coneflower (R. laciniata) has yellow ray flowers pointing downward, a greenish-yellow disk, and irregularly divided leaves.
Ease of Growing: Easy
Other Common Names: Gloriosa Daisy, Yellow Ox-eye Daisy
Grown as: Biennial
Maturity: 70 Days
Hardiness: Hardy. Black-Eyed Susan can tolerate light frost and will sometimes survive a hard frost or snow.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Spring
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cool, Warm. Black-Eyed Susan tolerate a wide variety of climates but will do best in full sun, well-draining rich soil, and cool temperatures. The plants will often stop blooming in hot weather.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 55°F - 85°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 60°F. Black-Eyed Susan seeds can be planted as soon as the soil warms up to around 60˚ F.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: Yes
Water: Moderate. Black-Eyed Susan plants require regular watering but never water so much that the soil becomes soggy.
Feeder: Light. Black-Eyed Susan prefers a rich soil but will tolerate poor soils of many types.
Suitability: Tolerates light frost
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Sometimes known as “pot marigold,” Black-Eyed Susan is easily grown in pots on the doorstep or in window boxes.
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes. Butterflies, bees and a variety of insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar.
Produces: A mixture of pure yellow and splashy bicolors, most with dark mahogany red splotches at the base of the petals, creating a stunning pinwheel effect
USDA Grow Zone: 4a-10b
Soil pH: 4.5-8.3, Ideal 6.0-7.0. Black-Eyed Susan will grow in almost any soil, but prefers a rich, well-drained one.
Compost (Nitrogen), 2" in top 6" of soil, 1 time: Incorporate a maximum 2" of compost into the top 6" of soil before planting.
Water Needs: Moderate. Black Eyed Susan plants require regular watering but never water so much that the soil becomes soggy.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Black Eyed Susan prefers a rich soil but will tolerate poor soils of many types.
Watering, regularly: Water, 1/2", regularly, 2 times a week. Watering also depends on your local weather; don't water if it's raining, or water more frequently if it's dry. Just be sure to keep soil moist but never soggy for the best crop. The best way to know how much moisture is in your soil is to feel 2" below the soil line. If it's dry, water.
Weeding, before flowering: before flowering, every 2 weeks. Keep Black Eyed Susan well-weeded, especially while young.
Pruning, after flowering: after flowering, 1 time a week. Remove flowers when they start to fade for continued blooms.
They are also well-suited to planting colorful flowers such as the brilliant orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), clasping coneflower, purple coneflower, purple Salvia nemorosa, or the deep blue-purple Delphinium exaltatum. Other good companions include lance-leaf coreopsis, butterfly milkweed, gaillardia, Russian sage, stonecrop, and ox-eye daisy. You can use it with daylilies, hollyhock and aster, as well.
To balance the scale of black-eyed Susans, you can even interplant them with Hosta, or (as they are often used in roadside plantings) plant them with ornamental grasses such as variegated maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus') in drifts. You can even plant them as borders around your rose garden.
Some gardeners plant black-eyed Susan in their vegetable gardens, not only for visual interest, but to attract pollinators useful for vegetable growth.
Milkweed: Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Purple Coneflower is a native perennial flower that is commonly found growing in moist meadows, woods, and prairies throughout the central and eastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2-4' and features stiff stems, narrow hairy leaves, and 3-4” flower heads with drooping purplish pink petals and a spiny orange center cone. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, provides bird forage, tolerates drought and frost, has medicinal uses, is resistant to deer, and is great as a cut flower!
Powder Puff China Aster is a cool weather fall blooming annual flower that is native to China. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features serrated, 2-3” pointed leaves and fragrant 4-6” full, double blossoms in varying shades of pink, white, red, and purple-blue with pale yellow centers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, birds, lacewings, hoverflies, and praying mantis, is deer resistant, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
Tall Pompon Blue Moon Aster is a cool weather annual that is native to China which can be found growing on the edges of deciduous forests in the northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 20” and features 2-3” wide dark blue disk-shaped flowers that are white in the center. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, birds, lacewings, hoverflies, and praying mantis, is deer resistant, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!