Growing Black-Eyed Susans: Rudbeckia Hirta

Growing Black-Eyed Susans: Rudbeckia Hirta
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Growing Black-Eyed SusansAs a child, Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, was my favorite flower. It was abundant in the rural areas of Michigan, and I loved seeing the pretty mini-sunflowers scattered in the fields and ditches. There are many varieties that can be grown from seed, plus garden centers online and offline offer plants each year.

Rudbeckia hirta can be a biennial, an annual or a perennial, depending on the variety. Though most often it is a biennial that forms a rosette of foliage the first year, and blooms the second season. They are a cheerful addition to gardens in the rural or urban areas.

Black-eyed Susans are very drought tolerant once they have been established, and they can adapt to most soils, even clay or sand. They reseed freely, so though you may only get two or three years out of one plant, more will pop up to take over for those. They also bloom for about 8 weeks if deadheaded and will provide lovely color in the fall with the mums and asters..

Rudbeckia does best in full sun and soil that has been amended with compost. All varieties can be easily grown from seed. Direct seed 2-3 weeks before the last frost in your area, or start indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outdoors in the spring. They do need light for the seeds to germinate, so press the seeds into the soil, but don't cover. Keep the seeds fairly moist, but not wet while waiting for them to germinate. Once the seedlings start growing don't let the soil dry out. Rudbeckia is hardy in Zones 3-10, so it's a trooper, and can handle cold temperatures.

Butterflies love Black-eyed Susans, so that is another plus to growing them! They are nice companions to other wildflowers such as oxe-eye daisies and asters.



About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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