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Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Dry to medium

Height: 2-3'

Spread: 1-2'

Flowering period: June to August

With their yellow petals and dark centers, black-eyed Susans create a striking cheetah-spot pattern in the garden, especially when grown as a dense patch. In contrast to perennial wildflowers which re-sprout each growing season from long-lived roots, a single black-eyed Susan will generally sprout for just two growing seasons. Plants with such short life cycles tend to proliferate in the early years of meadow creation, spreading rapidly through their own seed production. Over time – usually within 5 years – their abundance will significantly decline as they are replaced by perennial wildflowers that are slower to establish.

Including black-eyed Susan and other short-lived wildflowers in one’s garden is helpful, in part, because these plants tend to fill in space that would otherwise be prone to weed encroachment early on. Furthermore, many long-lived perennials take several years to begin flowering, whereas short-lived species like black-eyed Susan often flower the first year. Once black-eyed Susan begins to diminish, keeping a section of the garden trimmed to 6” for a growing season will generally result in its increased presence the following year.

In terms of pollinator benefits, black-eyed Susan is an early summer pollen and nectar source for long and short tongued pollinators, including bees, flies, wasps, butterflies, and beetles. Long-horned bees, in particular, can often be seen circling the flowerhead’s cone-shaped central disk, gathering pollen from one disk flower after another. Preferring full sunlight and soils of average to dry moisture, black-eyed Susan can be found growing in meadows and in urban spaces such as roadsides and vacant lots. Due to its relatively short stature (1-3’), it is a good choice for garden areas devoted to smallish plants.

References: 1,2,3,4.

Photo by Ashley Keesling.

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