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Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Black-eyed Susan:

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

Black-eyed Susan is a fast-growing, upright, branching biennial or short-lived perennial in the aster family (Asteraceae) that is native to the eastern United States. Because it blooms in the first year when planted from seed in early spring, it is often mistaken for an annual. The genus name honors Olof Rudbeck, a 17th-century Swedish botanist. The species epithet means “hairy” and refers to short bristles on the leaves and stems.   

Grow black-eyed Susan in moist, well-drained clay, loam, or sandy soil and in full sun to partial shade. Moderate fertility will give you the best flower show so avoid planting it on the edges of lawns where lawn fertilizer will provide excess nitrogen. It freely self-seeds and usually remains in the garden. 

Flowers are typically composed of a brown or green domed center surrounded by bright yellow or orange ray florets that first mature in midsummer and, with deadheading, continue into the middle of fall. The flowers attract a variety of insect visitors and pollinators. Each plant may reach 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide and is moderately resistant to salt, deer, and drought.  

In the landscape, use black-eyed Susan on a slope or bank or in a naturalized area. Add it to a coastal, butterfly, native, or pollinator garden. Planted in small groups it is suitable for a border or foundation planting. 

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems: Susceptible to powdery mildew, snails, and slugs.

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:
Mostly Native Vegetable, Herb and Pollinator Garden Butterfly Garden at Rob Wallace Park Davidson County Extension Demonstration Garden Pollinator Garden in Full Sun Pollinator Garden in Partial Shade Four-Season Garden Bee Hive Garden, Wake Co Woodland Walk Herb & Flower Cottage Garden Entryway Garden, Cabarrus County Extension Office
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:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#biennial#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#orange flowers#apvg#fall interest#flower arrangements#fast growing#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#self-seeding#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#fantz#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant midsummer#FACU Piedmont Mountains#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#apvg-p#roadside#Audubon#wavy-lined emerald butterfly#silvery checkerspot butterfly#perennial#annual#butterfly caterpillar host#herb garden#buncombe county sun and shade garden#wildlife friendly#cpp
 
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:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#biennial#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#orange flowers#apvg#fall interest#flower arrangements#fast growing#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#self-seeding#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#fantz#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant midsummer#FACU Piedmont Mountains#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#apvg-p#roadside#Audubon#wavy-lined emerald butterfly#silvery checkerspot butterfly#perennial#annual#butterfly caterpillar host#herb garden#buncombe county sun and shade garden#wildlife friendly#cpp
  • 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.This plant provides nectar for pollinators. It is a larval host plant to Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata) and to Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) which has one brood in the north and two broods from May-September in the rest of its range. 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
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    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, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 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:
    Spring
    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
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt