Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
A classic late summer staple of the Aster family, Asteraceae, perennial Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida (rud-BEK-ee-uh FUL-jih-duh), and its many hybrids, is an iconic late season stunner, blooming from late summer into fall, riding out the last weeks of summer and ushering in the cooler weather ahead alongside emergent fall blooms. A common sight in perennial gardens and roadsides alike, Rudbeckia fulgida, native to central and eastern North America, is a beautiful and carefree plant providing abundant color throughout the closing weeks of the summer growing season.
Preferring full sun exposure in well-drained soil, Black-Eyed Susan ranges in size from 18" tall and wide to nearly three feet round depending on variety. Rudbeckia bloom characteristic bright yellow flowers two to three inches across with their iconic dark brown, central composite head comprised of dozens of small flowers that bloom concentrically from the bottom of the disk inward. Perennial Black-Eyed Susan is a tremendous addition to any sunny garden, providing lasting late season color and crucial pollen and nectar sources for local pollinators, and later serving as an excellent fall and winter food source for songbirds after going to seed.
The signature golden blooms of Rudbeckia are available in a range of sizes and habits in the garden thanks to many excellent hybrids. From the larger leaves and flowers of the classic ‘Goldsturm,’ thriving even in clay soils, to the more humidity tolerant, disease resistant, long-blooming 2023 Perennial of the Year, ‘American Gold Rush,’ forming a large and beautiful tidy mound around three feet round at maturity, to the smaller, more compact, robustly blooming ‘Little Goldstar,’ there is a Black-Eyed Susan for nearly every gardening application.
The versatility and timeless, carefree nature of Rudbeckia, coupled with their drought tolerance once established, rough foliage that is resistant to animal feeding, and their ability to grow in areas treated with road salt and salt spray, makes them ideal candidates for boulevard plantings, pollinator gardens, rock gardens, and sunny mixed borders.