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Rudbeckia hirta (Blackeyed Susan) Photos & Care

Updated on August 8, 2012

Cheerful Rudbeckia

Cultivating a butterfly garden? You'll definitely want to include blackeyed Susan!
Cultivating a butterfly garden? You'll definitely want to include blackeyed Susan! | Source

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.

Source

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.

Either in an arrangement or a flower bed, Rudbeckia always provides a friendly welcome home.
Either in an arrangement or a flower bed, Rudbeckia always provides a friendly welcome home.

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 bloom

Click thumbnail to view full-size
As they slowly unfold, Rudbeckia blossoms look like marzipan creations rather than real flowers.Black-eyed Susans are perfect for quaint indoor arrangements. Cut them right above a node. They'll rebloom.Rudbeckia may take days to fully unfurl.This little black-eyed Susan seems to be saying, "Psst! Over here!"This large patch of Rudbeckia began from one small pot.
As they slowly unfold, Rudbeckia blossoms look like marzipan creations rather than real flowers.
As they slowly unfold, Rudbeckia blossoms look like marzipan creations rather than real flowers. | Source
Black-eyed Susans are perfect for quaint indoor arrangements. Cut them right above a node. They'll rebloom.
Black-eyed Susans are perfect for quaint indoor arrangements. Cut them right above a node. They'll rebloom. | Source
Rudbeckia may take days to fully unfurl.
Rudbeckia may take days to fully unfurl. | Source
This little black-eyed Susan seems to be saying, "Psst! Over here!"
This little black-eyed Susan seems to be saying, "Psst! Over here!" | Source
This large patch of Rudbeckia began from one small pot.
This large patch of Rudbeckia began from one small pot. | Source

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.

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi Tina. Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. (I've been traveling and haven't had internet access.) A few weeks ago I divided our rudbeckia. What a job! Hope your plants do well! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. --Jill

    • profile image

      Tina Sargent IL. 

      6 years ago

      I love this!! I have many black eyed susan plants in my landscaping. I don't have time for fussy plants, these are easy and beautiful!! Thanks for sharing....Think i will go out and divide now....LOL! Thanks again, Tina

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      I did the same thing as a child--blackeyed Susans, Queen Anne's lace and fat, pink clover. What a great memory! Thanks for reading, Peggy W, and happy gardening.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I remember picking many bouquets of blackeyed susans and other wild growing plants when I was a child in Wisconsin. Such a bright and beautiful blossom! Nice tips on growing and dividing them in this hub. Up and useful.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Awesome, Movie Master! Good luck with your Rudbeckia. Happy gardening! Jill

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi The Dirt Farmer, nice to meet you, fabulous hub and photos, I have only started growing these this year and know very little about them, thanks for the information and sharing, happy gardening!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Oh no, Patsybell! Well ... I guess it's always good to share. Thanks for stopping by! DF

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 

      7 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      The little rabbits are dining on my black eyed Susans. I'll just have to plant more of these beauties.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, first I just wanted to say what a fantastic name! black eyed susan! lol this is a lovely hub, I am useless with plants, but yours looks great! loved it! cheers nell

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, Dobson! That really means a lot coming from you.

    • Dobson profile image

      Dobson 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Nice hub supporting information and a topic near and dear to my heart! Great job!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Deborah-Diane! Glad you stopped by.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Fabulous photos on Blackeyed Susans. Thanks for sharing.

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