How to Grow Black Eyed Susans

black eyed susan in the gardenblack eyed susan in the garden

When and Where to Plant Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)

Light: All varieties of Rudbeckia will thrive in full sun. However, some varieties, especially the Sweet Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa) and the perennial black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’) will also take partial shade.

Soil: All Rudbeckias tolerate a wide range of soil types, from clay to loam. If you have very sandy soil which dries out easily, add organic matter to help the soil retain moisture. If you have a very water-retentive soil, choose Sweet Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia subtomentosa).

Spacing: Plant Black-Eyed Susans about 18” apart.

Planting Rudbeckia from Seed: Sprinkle the seeds on top of regular seed starting mix about six weeks before the last frost date. Do not cover the seed as they need light to germinate. Plant your seedlings outdoors after any danger of frost has passed.

black eyed susan black eyed susan

Planting Rudbeckia from Plants: Providing all danger of frost has passed at your location, set your new plants out as soon as possible after you receive them. If additional frost is anticipated hold your plants in a sunny window and keep well-watered until it is safe to plant them outdoors.

  1. Prepare the site by removing existing weeds and loosening the soil.
  2. Make a hole a few inches wider that your young plant;
  3. Place your Rudbeckia in the hole (disturb the roots with your fingers if they're coming in thick), backfill with soil, tamp gently and water well.
black eyed susan rootsblack eyed susan roots
Black Eyed Susan with developed roots, ready to be planted.
planting black eyed susan planting black eyed susan
Planting Black Eyed Susan at soil level.
  1. Black Eyed Susan Goldsturm, Rudbeckia in bloom in perennial garden

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    'Goldsturm' Black Eyed Susan brings a burst of showy color to the full-sun garden. Golden yellow, daisy-like petals surround nectar-rich, brown center 'buttons' set atop deep green foliage. Unbothered by most pests, poor soils, drought and humidity, 'Goldsturm' is easygoing and the perfect addition to flower arrangements and pollinator gardens. Deer resistant and long-lasting. (Rudbeckia fulgida)
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  2. Cherokee Sunset Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

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  3. Red Black Eyed Susan Cherry Brandy, Rudbeckia hirta, Black Eyed Susan or Gloriosa Daisy

    Cherry Brandy is a hybrid with vivid red, soft petals that deepen towards the rich, brown center. A long-lasting bloomer, this Rudbeckia will produce striking blooms throughout the s...

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How to Grow Black-Eyed Susans Throughout the Season

Growth Habit: Rudbeckias are compact-growing plants that spread to no more than 2’ wide. Height varies with the variety; most are less than three feet high.

Staking: No staking is required.

Watering: Most Rudbeckias will tolerate dry soil for a few weeks. However, water weekly if you are experiencing a prolonged drought or your plants are showing signs of stress.

Fertilizing: Light fertilizing in springtime is beneficial but not required.

Trimming & Pruning: Regular dead-heading will prolong blooming and reduce self-seeding; otherwise leave seed heads intact for winter bird food.

bird landing on black eyed susanbird landing on black eyed susan
  1. Yellow Black Eyed Susan Seeds, Rudbeckia hirta

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  2. Yellow Black Eyed Susan Vine Seeds, Thunbergia alata

    Black-Eyed Susan Vine, also known as Clock Vine, is a unique, quick-growing annual that delights with large, bright orange blooms on tall, vining foliage. Perfect for trellises and f...

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  3. Yellow Black Eyed Susan Seeds Marmalade, Rudbeckia hirta

    Ignite your garden or meadow all season long with Rudbeckia Marmalade. This low-growing variety delights with large, daisy-like flowers that are orange/yellow. Deer resistant and sun...

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    Ignite your garden or meadow all season long with Rudbeckia Marmalade. This low-growing variety delights with large, daisy-like flowers that are orange/yellow. Deer resistant and sun loving, plant this annual in almost any spot.
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  4. Black Eyed Susan & Echinacea Seed Combo

    The Black Eyed Susan & Purple Coneflower Seed Combo is a native duo that creates instant charm and attracts a myriad of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to the summer garden....

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Black Eyed Susans: End of Season Care

Pests and Diseases: Rudbeckias are generally carefree plants that do not attract pests.

Overwintering: Cut remaining stalks to the ground in either fall or spring.

Dividing & Transplanting: True perennial types, especially Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' will benefit from dividing every three to five years. Leave any varieties designated as ‘short-lived perennial’ undisturbed.


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