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How to Grow Rudbeckia Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Coneflower and Black Eyed Susan

The Rudbeckia plant genus consists of hardy perennials that range from 30 cm to 1.8 m in height.

Rudbeckia bloom in the summertime when they carry white or yellow daisy like flowers that have brown centers.

Some of the common names for Rudbeckia include Coneflower, Gloriosa daisy, and Black Eyed Susan. Popular varieties include Indian Summer and Cherry brandy.

Photographs of Rudbeckia goldsturm and hirta; Indian Summer, and Cherry Brandy

Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta – Black-eyed Susan by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi; CC.

Rudbeckia hirta
Rudbeckia hirta by Gmayfield10; Creative Commons.

rudbeckia goldsturm
Rudbeckia goldsturm by Daryl Mitchell.

rudbeckia cherry brandy
Rudbeckia cherry brandy by F.D. Richards.

rudbeckia indian summer
Rudbeckia Indian summer by Lolation.

Rudbeckia Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Black Eyed Susan, Brown Eyed Susan, Glariosa Daisy. Coneflower: Showy; Great; Pinewoods; Shiny; Orange; Grey headed; California; Missouri; Grassleaf.
Scientific names: Rudbeckia hirta, R. laciniata, R. fulgida goldsturm, R. triloba, R. maxima, R. nitida.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 20 to 100 inches (50 to 250cm).
Native: North America.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 10. As a perennial in zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Yellow, gold/orange. Daisy-like ray and disc florets. Cone-shaped.
Foliage: Arranged spirally. Entire. Lobed.
Sow Outside: Surface. A couple of weeks before the last frost. Spacing 12 to 40 inches (30 to 100 cm).
Sow Inside: Mix seeds in a growing medium, place in a freezer bag, keep moist, keep moist, then stratify by refrigeration for two weeks. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. For best results: soil pH 5.5 to 7. Good drainage. Provide support for tall varieties. In the spring supply a top dressing of cow manure. Regular watering during hot spells. Deadhead. Divide plant every three years in the spring on cool areas or autumn in warmer areas. Propagate: cuttings in the spring.

How to Grow Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and other Rudbeckia Plants in the Garden

The seeds of coneflower and related Rudbeckia plants should be sown on the soil surface a couple of weeks before the last frost of spring is expected. Ideally the plants should be grown in an area that has good drainage and a heavy soil pH that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6 to 7). Coneflowers can be grown in either sunny or partially shaded areas of the garden and should be spaced at 35 to 45 cm apart (small Rudbeckia) or 70 to 90 cm apart for larger Rudbeckia varieties.

If starting off coneflowers indoors then you will first need to imbibe the coneflower seeds by placing them in a fridge (within soil, in a plastic bag) for two weeks. The seeds should them be sown about a month and a half before you expect the last frost; they require light and a temperature of 20 to 22 degrees Centigrade to germinate; Germination of Rudbeckia should take from one to three weeks. Once established plant outdoors after the last frost.

Caring for Coneflower and other Rudbeckia in the garden

Coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida goldsturm, and similar plants are easy to look after. They should be staked, watered frequently, and dead flower heads removed. It is best to divide Rudbeckia plants every four years to maintain splendid specimens. If you require more Rudbeckia plants then they can be propagated by division or by taking cuttings in the spring.