Rudbeckia hirta (Blackeyed Susan) Photos & Care
Blackeyed Susan plants (Rudbeckia hirta) produce cheerful, daisy-like flowers. They're relatively easy to cultivate and bloom repeatedly from early summer into fall.
If blackeyed Susans like their location, they'll multiply readily—perhaps more readily than you'd like! In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, in some parts of Canada and the U.S. one or more of Rudbeckia's 22 species are considered invasive weeds.
For those of us who love Maryland's state flower, however, the "solution" to their hardiness is simple. Let them grow! Or divide them. Blackeyed Susans transplant well--and they make a nice gift for friends and neighbors.
Scroll down now for tips on
- planting Rudbeckia,
- dividing Rubeckia &
- harvesting blackeyed Susans for floral arrangements.
Rudbeckia, Sun Lover
Plant blackeyed Susans in a sunny location in well-drained soil. They perform well in full-sun raised beds and along walkways, fences and banks.
Rudbeckia is also well loved by butterflies, so if you're cultivating a butterfly garden, be sure to include blackeyed Susans.
Although Rudbeckia loves the sun and can tolerate a good deal of heat, it won't survive drought-like conditions without a thorough watering at least once a week. It also may not survive harsh winters if planted in low areas that draw damp. Again, think "sunny locale" and "well drained soil" when planting.
Prepping Rudbeckia for Division
Dividing Blackeyed Susans
Sometimes blackeyed Susans like their location so well that they grow out of hand, choking out other plants and becoming invasive. When this happens, it's time to divide them.
To prepare Rubeckia for division, cut back all of the blossoms on the plants you plan to divide. Also trim off the larger leaves, leaving only short stems. You can even cut some leaves in half.
The trick to preparing Rudbeckia for division is to leave enough leaves so that the blackeyed Susans can continue photosythesis once they've been transplanted. You don't, however, want to leave so many leaves that they put a strain on the newly dug-up plant's abbreviated root system.
Watch the gardener in the video to your right as she preps her Rudbeckia plants for division.
Once you've trimmed them back, use a garden spade to dig the blackeyed Susans up in clumps. Place the clumps, dirt and all, in a bucket of water until you're ready to transplant them.
Once they've been transplanted into a sunny location with good drainage, water them well, applying slow-release fertilizer around the plants for good measure.
Picking Blackeyed Susans
Black-eyed Susans aren't just for butterflies. They're also excellent flowering perennials for a cutting garden. You can harvest flowers from them throughout summer and into fall. They just keep producing more!
To promote new blooms, snip the stalks right above a node with gardening shears. Trim them to an angle, then remove the lower leaves, leaving the part of the stem that will be submerged in water bare.
Adding a few squirts of lemon juice to the water will faciliate absorption so that your arrangement lasts longer.
In the arrangement right, blackeyed Susans, knockout roses, forget-me-nots, wild ferns and a State Fair zinna from our garden nestle in river rocks.
Cutting Blackeyed Susan Flowers
From bud to full bloomClick thumbnail to view full-size
Blackeyed Susans have personality plus!
Blackeyed Susans are fun to watch. The blossoms can look quite humorous (and perhaps a little grumpy) as they develop and bloom.
Once they do bloom, the flowers last a week or more if well watered. And because Rudbeckia is a repeat bloomer, new flowers develop and bloom throughout the growing season.
Be sure to cut at least a few stems for indoor arrangements. In fall, deadhead your blackeyed Susans or allow the flower heads to remain, providing lovely silhouettes in your garden throughout the winter.