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Growing Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckias)

Fond memories and easy care may come to mind when you hear the name Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckias). There are more than 20 different annual, biennial and perennial species and most tolerate clay soil, drought and the deer tend to leave them be.

The brown cone, in the midst of the yellow petals, inspired the name black-eyed Susan. It’s commonly used for all Rudbeckias. You and the pollinators will enjoy flowers most of the summer and even into the fall.

Leaf spot diseases have wreaked havoc on the popular Goldsturm variety. Infected plants survive, the finches still eat the seeds, but the leaves look awful by late summer. Avoid the problem by growing resistant varieties like the compact Little Goldstar and Viette’s Little Suzy.

Or go big with Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’. It grows 4 to 7 feet tall and the 3 to 4” daisy-like flowers have drooping yellow petals and a green center.

A bit more information: Grow rudbeckias with other native plants like asters, coneflowers and liatris or native grasses like switchgrass and prairie dropseed. They also combine nicely with nonnative perennials like sedum, red hot poker, yarrow and fountain grass.

Upcoming Appearances


Jan. 26, 2022
Gardening for Wildlife
(webinar)

Jan. 29, 2022
WCBA's Home Building &
Remodeling Expo

West Bend, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 2, 2022
Small Space Gardening
(webinar)

Feb. 11-13, 2022
PBS Wisconsin
Garden & Landscape EXPO

Madison, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 18-20, 2022
NARI Milwaukee
Spring Home Improvement Show

Milwaukee, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 23, 2022
Dahlias - Proven Performers!
(webinar)

March 1, 2022
Michigan Green Industry Assn.
Annual Tradeshow & Convention

Novi, MI
(in-person event)

March 5-6, 2022
​​​​​​​Maryland Home & Garden Show
Lutherville-Timonium, MD
(in-person event)

​​​​​​​March 26-27, 2022
​​​​​​​REALTORS Home & Garden Show
West Allis, WI
(in-person event)

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