Rudbeckia hirta ~ Black Eyed Susan Plant Care Guide
Rudbeckia hirta, commonly called black-eyed Susan, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Eastern and Central United States. It is one of a number of plants with the common name black-eyed Susan. Other common names for this plant include: brown-eyed Susan, brown Betty, gloriosa daisy, golden Jerusalem, Poorland daisy, yellow daisy, and yellow ox-eye daisy.
It is the state flower of Maryland.
The plant also is a traditional Native American medicinal herb in several tribal nations; believed in those cultures to be a remedy, among other things, for colds, flu, infection, swelling and (topically, by poultice) for snake bite (although not all parts of the plant are edible).
Parts of the plant have nutritional value. Other parts are not edible.
Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta and other species
Plant type: Flower
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
Flower color: Red, Orange, Yellow
Bloom time: Summer, Fall
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and one of the most popular wildflowers grown. They tend to blanket open fields, often surprising the passer-by with their golden-yellow beauty.
Members of the sunflower family, the “black eye” is named for the dark brown-purple centers of its daisy-like flower heads. The plants can grow to over 3 feet tall, with leaves of 6 inches, stalks over 8 inches long and flower diameter of 2 to 3 inches.
Butterflies, bees and a variety of insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar. As they drink the nectar, they move pollen from one plant to another, causing it to grow fruits and seeds that can move about easily with the wind.
These plants bloom from June to October. Note that they can be territorial in that they tend to squash out other flowers growing near them.
Black-eyed Susans are good for cut flowers; they also work well for borders or in containers.
- Black-eyed Susans when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination. In many parts of North America, the planting period is March to May. The flower will flower June to September. Germination takes 7 to 30 days.
- Plant seeds in moist, well-drained soil.
- These hearty flowers really enjoy the Sun. They prefer full sun, though they’ll grow in partial sun.
- Sow by seed in loosely covered soil.
- It’s best if soil is fertile (not poor) though they can tolerate tough conditions.
- Black-eyed Susans generally grow between 1 and 3 feet tall (though they can grow taller) and can spread between 12 to 18 inches, so plant seeds closer to prevent lots of spreading or plant further apart to make a nice border.
- Check your plants regularly to see if they need watering. Make sure they don’t dry out.
- Divide perennial types every 3 to 4 years to ensure healthy plants and to prevent excessive spreading.
- Be sure to remove faded/dead flowers to prolong blooming.
- You can cut back black-eyed Susans after they flower and a second, smaller bloom may occur in late fall.
- These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew fungi, so begin an organic antifungal program if the lower leaves turn brown and twisted.
- Slugs and snails
- Powdery mildew
- Leaf spots
After the first season, black-eyed susans can reseed themselves!
- Becky Mixed, which offers a variety of colors for your garden, such as lemon-yellow, golden-yellow, dark red, and reddish-brown.
- Sonora, which has bright yellow flowers.
- Toto, which is a dwarf type and ideal for containers.
- Attracts Butterflies
Rudbeckia hirta L.
Black-eyed Susan, Common black-eyed Susan, Brown-eyed Susan
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: RUHI2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (I), CAN (N)
This cheerful, widespread wildflower is considered an annual to a short-lived perennial across its range. Bright-yellow, 2-3 in. wide, daisy-like flowers with dark centers are its claim-to-fame. They occur singly atop 1-2 ft. stems. The stems and scattered, oval leaves are covered with bristly hairs. Coarse, rough-stemmed plant with daisy-like flower heads made up of showy golden-yellow ray flowers, with disk flowers forming a brown central cone.
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.