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Plant Profile: Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan Brightens Gardens with Abundant Blooms

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) is a bright, beautiful native Texas perennial that thrives in full-sun. It’s one of the most popular perennials in the United States with good reason. Its stunning, golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers contrast wonderfully against its dark green foliage and it blooms and blooms and blooms!

A common myth about perennials is that they bloom all season. That’s not true. Some—like Rudbeckia—do, but most don’t. They bloom for part of a season, a few weeks, or even a few months, then they’re done and use their time in the sun (or shade) to build up the reserves they’ll need to survive the coming winter.

Black-eyed Susan is a prolific bloomer that is easy to grow and tolerates most any soil. For best results, plant it in full sun in soil with good drainage. Once established, its water needs are normal to low. Regular watering will give you the best bloom, but don’t over do it. This plant does not like wet feet. In the heavy clay of Collin County, an established plant could survive on once-a-week watering or even less. This is a plant that won’t up and die if you forget to water it once in a while.

It will grow up to 2 1/2 feet tall and spreads by rhizomes, though often not as quickly as some other perennials. Still, you may find you need to divide it every few years, or grow it in containers. (It’s an excellent cut flower, as the blooms typically last a long time in a vase.)

Rudbeckia will die back to the ground in winter and re-emerge in late April or early May. It blooms summer through fall and attracts butterflies and birds, making it a great choice if you wish to attract wildlife to your garden. Spent flowers can either be cut back, or you can remove the petals and leave the seed for the birds.

Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan

Latin Name:Rudbeckia fulgida 
Pronounced: rud-BEK-ee-a FUL-jih-duh

Synonym: Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii

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About the AuthorTim Wardell is a Texas Certified Nursery Professional and the Marketing Coordinator for Shades of Green, Inc.