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Black Eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
rud-BEK-ee-ah HER-tah
Description

Black-Eyed Susan is a stiff, moderately fast growing, upright branching biennial or short-lived perennial that is native to the eastern United States but has become endemic throughout North America. Because it blooms in the first year when planted from seed in early spring, it is seen as an annual. However, it freely self-seeds and usually remains in the garden. In North Carolina, it grows as a biennial reaching a height of 4 feet and can be found growing along banks and roadsides.

The leaves are alternate with toothed or almost a smooth margin. Some leaves may have 3 or more lobes. Flowers are composed of a brown, domed center surrounded by bright yellow ray florets (sometimes orange) which first mature in mid-summer and, with deadheading, continue into mid-fall.

Black-Eyed Susan forgives neglect and has moderate drought tolerance. It matures rapidly in average, well-drained soil in sun to partial shade. The trick to growing black-eyed Susan is to give it full sun in decent soil. Moderate fertility will give you the best flower show so avoid the edges of lawns where lawn fertilizer will provide excess nitrogen. 

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to powdery mildew. Watch for slugs and snails on young plants. Can self-seed freely.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Walkway at the Park Davidson County Demo Garden Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Entryway Garden Walkway at the Park Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Woodland Walk Four-Season Garden Pollinator Garden- Full Sun Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Walkway at the Park Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Herb & Flower Cottage Garden Bee Hive Garden, Wake Co
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cherry Brandy'
    Cherry-red flowers
  • 'Denver Daisy'
    2nd Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials. Has a big mahogany-red eye and yellow petals
  • 'Indian Summer'
    6-9 inch yellow flowers
  • 'Sonara'
    A large mahogany ring on bright golden yellow petals
  • 'Tiger Eye Gold'
'Cherry Brandy', 'Denver Daisy', 'Indian Summer', 'Sonara', 'Tiger Eye Gold'
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#yellow#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#biennial#perennial#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#orange flowers#apvg#fall interest#flower arrangements#herb garden#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#NC native#self-seeding#hairy leaves#native wildflower#wildflower garden#fantz#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains#FACU Coastal#apvg-p#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cherry Brandy'
    Cherry-red flowers
  • 'Denver Daisy'
    2nd Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials. Has a big mahogany-red eye and yellow petals
  • 'Indian Summer'
    6-9 inch yellow flowers
  • 'Sonara'
    A large mahogany ring on bright golden yellow petals
  • 'Tiger Eye Gold'
'Cherry Brandy', 'Denver Daisy', 'Indian Summer', 'Sonara', 'Tiger Eye Gold'
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#yellow#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#biennial#perennial#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#orange flowers#apvg#fall interest#flower arrangements#herb garden#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#NC native#self-seeding#hairy leaves#native wildflower#wildflower garden#fantz#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#FACU Piedmont Mountains#FACU Coastal#apvg-p#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rudbeckia
    Species:
    hirta
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States, NC
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies attracted to nectar at the flowers. Songbirds, especially American goldfinches, eat the seeds in the fall.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Black-Eyed Susans are moderately deer resistant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Small brown seeds late summer. Displays from July to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2"-4" whorl of involucral bracts that flower on a head with 10 to 20 bright orange-yellow to red rays surrounding a dark purplish brown egg-shaped dome. Blooms from May to July, producing long-lasting cut flowers and cutting encourages the plants to send out more blossoms. They are yellow to darker yellow at the center.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Lower leaves are larger and taper into long stalks. Margins are smooth, to prominent serrate teeth. Prominent veins and winged petioles. They are a basal rosette of hairy leaves that emerge early in the spring.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    1-2' tall grooved bristly stems that are simple or limited-branching stem; rough and hairy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt