A member of the Asteraceae family Rudbeckia has a few common names like Gloriosa Daisy Brown Eyed Susan or coneflower, though they are a different genus then Echinaea. Rudbeckia triloba also known as Black Eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland and is native to the Eastern United States.
Rudbeckias have a lot going for them when it comes to choosing flowers for your garden. First, they are cold hardy and will survive the winter in Growing Zones 4-9. Some varieties are biennial, growing leaves in the first year and flowers in the second. Other varieties are short lived perennial, which generally means a plant that lives for 3-5 years before it declines.
Rudbeckia are known for their prolific and vibrant flowers that have a long bloom period. They make a nice cut flower with long sturdy stems and will last about 7-10 days in a vase. Those flowers are not only beautiful for your table but they are also beloved by bees and butterflies.
Plants are easily integrated into any garden style. They are a great border plant, do well in pots and also are a perfect addition if you are going for a wildflower meadow like garden.
Rudbeckia grows best in moist soil and full sun. As the plants get older they can sustain some drought.
The seeds need a period of 2-4 weeks of cold stratification to achieve optimum germination. After the cold stratification tamp the seeds into potting mix and gently cover with a little bit of vermiculite. A small amount of light also helps aid germination. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days at a soil temperature of 55-75 degrees.
Harden off seedlings and then plant out into the garden. Space plants at least 12” apart and allow for room to grow. Plants can reach to about 30 inches in height so consider this when you are planning your garden.
Cut back the spent flower stalks in late fall before the winter. This will help reduce mildew. If you get a lot of snow you can mulch your plants with leaves or straw in the fall to further protect them from the cold.
Lead Seed Coordinator, Siskiyou Siskiyou Seeds