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Rudbeckias for the South

Updated on February 26, 2015
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Yvonne writes about and photographs the flora and fauna of Louisiana, sharing knowledge she learned through study and personal experience.

Black-eyed Susans, Orange Rudbeckia and Giant Coneflower

The Rudbeckia species contains several striking, easy to grow perennials whose golden yellow flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators and whose seeds are eaten by a variety of small song birds.

Many members of the species are drought resistant and do well under adverse conditions. In the coastal south the three most reliable and colorful Rudbeckias are Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), Orange Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida) and Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima).

 

Rudbeckias are lovely, easy to grow perennials, perfect for low maintenace landscaping.

Rudbeckia Family

Members of the Rudbeckia family have been planted in gardens for years. The early settlers recognized the beauty and hardiness of this native perennial flower. Butterflies love Rudbeckias, so they are a "must have" in the butterfly garden. They are as happy along roadsides as they are in your flower beds. Rudbeckias like sun to part shade and grow well under a variety of soil conditions, so they are also good choices for xeriscaping and along the edges of rain gardens.

 

Orange Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia fulgida

Rudbeckia fulgida is a showy nature perennial with golden yellow flowers and dark centers that bloom from summer to fall. Its height is 2 to 3 feet and it does well in sun or part shade. R. fulgida is a more reliable perennial than R. hirta and the native varieties blend into the perennial border without over powering it like the cultivar, 'Goldstrum' does.

How to Grow:

Rudbeckia fulgida likes moist, well drained soil and will tolerate seasonal flooding so it is perfect for a rain garden. Acid, lime soil type is alright and a full sun to part shade exposure.

Propagation and Wildlife Use:

Since it will colonize, it can be divided and replanted. It is also easily propagated from seed. The seeds are eaten by songbirds, including American Goldfinches and Carolina Chickadees. The flowers attract Butterflies and other insect pollinators.

 

Rudbeckia fulgida

Many gardeners prefer orange Rudbeckia. There are several lovely cultivars available.
Many gardeners prefer orange Rudbeckia. There are several lovely cultivars available.

Black-eyed Susan Seeds - Rudbeckia hirta

BLACK EYED SUSAN Rudbeckia Hirta --- 1,000 Flower Seeds
BLACK EYED SUSAN Rudbeckia Hirta --- 1,000 Flower Seeds

Rudbeckia Hirta is easy to start from seed and the results are outstanding.

 

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta is the more common native Black-eyed Susan that grows along the roadsides. It is more of a biennial or an annual and will reseed readily. R. hirta can stand much drier conditions so is better suited for a naturalistic, low moisture, setting. When planted in good garden conditions, R. hirta becomes a more reliable perennial. Plant in full sun to part shade in well drained soil. It reseeds easily, so expect many volunteers.

 

Black-eyed Susans, R. hirta

Lovely gold and black flowers add a bold touch to the landscape.
Lovely gold and black flowers add a bold touch to the landscape. | Source

Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.

Giant Coneflower

Rudbeckia maxima

Rudbeckia maxima or Giant Coneflower, as the common name states, is a large plant that grows from 6 to 10 feet tall. It has 3 inch wide yellow flowers with 2-inch dark cones. In mid-summer the cones fill with sunflower size seeds. It likes moist soil, so in its natural state, it grows in full to part sun in ditches and Pinelands in very acid to acid soil. Besides having beautiful flowers, the large, pale green, canna-like leaves are extremely attractive. We grow it in the lowest part of our rain garden and it thrives there.

Propagate by seed (they germinate readily in good, moist soil) or by root division. Seed eating songbirds enjoy the seeds.

 

Giant Coneflower

Giant Coneflower from Seed to Flower

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Giant Coneflower seedlings sprouted about 1 month after planting.The flower buds begin to appear in late April.By mid May the flowers are beginning to put on a show.Most plants have multiple blooms on 5-6 ft. stems.By the end of July some of the early seed heads are ready to harvest.
Giant Coneflower seedlings sprouted about 1 month after planting.
Giant Coneflower seedlings sprouted about 1 month after planting.
The flower buds begin to appear in late April.
The flower buds begin to appear in late April.
By mid May the flowers are beginning to put on a show.
By mid May the flowers are beginning to put on a show.
Most plants have multiple blooms on 5-6 ft. stems.
Most plants have multiple blooms on 5-6 ft. stems.
By the end of July some of the early seed heads are ready to harvest.
By the end of July some of the early seed heads are ready to harvest.
Source

Rudbeckias on Zazzle

See More Flower Designs on our Naturally Native Creations Gallery.

Black-eyed Susans

Besides having beautiful flowers, the seed heads which follow are eaten by song birds.
Besides having beautiful flowers, the seed heads which follow are eaten by song birds.

© 2009 Yvonne L. B.

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    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      I love using Rudbeckias in my gardens. Beautiful and easy to grow.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      These are a wonderful flower that's so hardy and colorful. You've showcased it well. Blessed by a squid angel and featured on You've Been Blessed.

    • profile image

      seedplanter 8 years ago

      You sure know how to capture my attention! I have coneflowers out back and love them. In my Backyard Makeover lens, they're included in there with some of the flowers I planted three years ago. They're so hardy, and I let them go to seed because our birds that winter here in the northwest love to peck at them long after they've turned brown.

      Beautiful lens!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Lovely lens; blessed by an Angel!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens. I love Black Eyed Susans.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens *****