Rudbeckia or what you might better known as Black eyed Susan, is a flower that grows in the late summer and brightens up the atmosphere for us while we are suffering from sweat and heat, hoping for colder weather. This flower will light up your face the moment you lay your eyes on it.
This flower has a lemony yellow shade and orange and golden blooms spread across it as well. You can grow these flowers without much hassle within weeks and you would not have to give them much care either. The black eyed Susan is known for blooming up during the late days of August.
Because this flower attracts a lot of insects, wherever you plant this, you will get to see tons of this flower spread across your garden or field within the next few weeks because this encourages pollination as nothing else would.
The black eyed Susan is just that great a candy-for-the-eye for us humans and literally a place where the insects get their nectar. Why won’t this be associated with bringing happiness to people? This flower is a very special one and we will discuss why, in this article.
You might sometimes come across this flower but then disregard it as anything special and think it is a wildflower or something. But the people who know its significance would know how great a flower the black eyed Susan is. In the year 2008, this flower was even put on the list of first-rate garden plants by the National Garden Bureau.
If that is not reason enough for you to give this flower a try, I am sure what we are going to be discussing will be enough to sway you in the other direction. These Susan flowers have become somewhat of a cultivation trophy because people like to show off their Susan in whatever color or size they have grown them in.
The Black Eyed Susan can be considered a very versatile flower and that is because it can light up a modern garden in urban areas or it can even be used in prairie-style plots. So in this article, I am going to be telling you everything there is to know about this flower and how you can grow it and take care of it.
Background Check On The Black Eyed Susan
The Black Eyed Susan or the Rudbeckia comes from the family of sunflowers, that is the Asteraceae and it has a lot of similarities with them as it has flowers that resemble a daisy. These are named like that because they have a black eye or dark/ brown-purple centers.
These flowers are also called coneflowers as they have heads that are conical in shape but you should keep it in mind to not confuse these with the purple coneflowers or the Echinacea purpurea, which are a completely different thing. Both of these flowers are from the same family and their care is similar as well, but where they differ is their color and look.
What people also confuse this flower is with the black eyed Susan vine or the Thunbergia alata which is a tender perennial that grows in a warm climate in Africa. Both these are completely unrelated and even though they sound almost the same, you cannot confuse one with the other because one is a flower and the other is a vine.
Where And When Do They Grow?
The black eyed Susan grows in zones 3 through 9 which includes places like Maine, South Dakota, Wyoming, places from the southern coast, etc. Although, mostly the place where they grow the most is based on their species.
These flowers typically bloom around late July through late August or early September. A select few of the cultivars like the Early Bird Gold have a longer blooming period and they start flowering around the second half of the spring season.
The plants of the typical black eyed Susan can grow up to 3 feet tall and can have 6 inches long leaves and stalks more than 8 inches long. The diameter of the flower usually ranges between 2 to 3 inches. More generally, because there are a lot of cultivars of this flower, the size of the plant ranges from 10 inches up to 7 feet.
Because of the variety in the cultivars, the diameter of the flower can be as big as 9 inches as well. These flowers can either be single, semi-double, or fully double. The petals of this flower can be bright yellow or orange-gold. Although there are cultivators out there who have managed to get a red, bronze, and even mahogany shade to the petals.
If you look at the center of the flower, you will find that the black eye is actually dark brown, and isn’t that the case with people who have dark brown eyes? You assume they are black and that is why this name suits this flower so well. There are other cultivars like the Prairie Sun who have a different colored center like green but those are rare.
Different Types Of Black Eyed Susan
The Black eyed Susan has a total of 25 different species. All of these species can be found in North America. Although most of these species are only biennials or perennials with a short life span, they can self sow very easily and you will have a fresh batch the next season without doing anything.
The Rudbeckia hirta and R. Florida is the most common species if you are looking for these Susan. If you can’t find these two, you can go for the R. maxima or large coneflower, R/ laciniate or tall coneflower, R. triloba or brown eyed Susan, etc.
These are not necessarily black eyed Susan but they get the work done. So if you are unable to find the Black-eyed Susan, you can go for the brown eyed Susan or the other coneflower species.
Planting The Black Eyed Susan
Now that you have some basic knowledge about the black-eyed Susans, let me tell you how you should plant these flowers. If it is the spring season, you can easily find a bedding plant of these Susan and you can grow them much more easily than the actual seeds. If you do that, you are going to have a lot of options from which you can choose.
If you are going to plant them indoors, you should seed them in the early spring which is about ten weeks before the last frost, which will be around mid-June. If you are going to plant them in the garden, you can sow them in spring or summer.
When it comes to the perennial varieties, they can be sown from seed or you can even transplant them in the fall or early spring. If you want the best results, you should sow the seeds when the temperature of the soil has reached 70 degrees F.
Talking about where you can plant them, you just have to make sure that the plants get enough sunlight wherever you decide to place them, after all, they are a part of the sunflower family. Make sure that the soil is well-drained as these flowers do not take to soggy ground nicely. If you are a resident of a hot and humid climate, make sure that the plants are getting enough air.
In The Garden
When you are planting these flowers in the garden, you should just scatter the seeds on the ground and then press them in the soil or cover them up with a small layer of soil. You have to make sure that you water the plants regularly.
When the plants start growing, you can thin them apart for about six to twelve inches if they are of a smaller species and up to eighteen to thirty inches apart if they are perennials. Keep the soil moist at all times until your plant has established itself and after they have done that, they can go through dry conditions as well.
When you buy seeds to grow the black eyed Susan inside, make sure you follow the instructions given on the seed’s packet. It will tell you things like the depth that you should plant the seeds at, the medium of growing as well as how much you will have to water them.
After the seedlings have emerged, make sure you give it plenty of sunlight or plant lights. If you are going to transfer these outdoors, make sure you expose them to outdoor conditions bit by bit.
Caring For The Black Eyed Susan
People sometimes confuse the Black eyed Susan with wildflowers because they do not need much care to grow. They are very low-maintenance flowers. They are also remarkably free from any diseases. The germination of these plants takes up to a month only.
To take care of your flowers and to extend the flowering time, you can pinch off the blooms at the base of the stem and even cut them so that you get the 2nd blossoming in the fall. If you want to have birds brightening up your garden, you can leave some flower heads at the top and let the birds come to the seeds.
If you manage to do that, then you would not have to worry about replanting new seeds or anything like that because the birds will do that work for you. The Black eyed Susan are self-seeders and that is why they are loved by so many people. You buy the seeds for one batch but you can get them for a lifetime.
There is also the issue of your garden becoming overcrowded due to these flowers self-seeding and to prevent or correct that, you can just remove some of the plants. Talking about the propagation of the black eyed Susan, you can do that by division in spring or after the growth begins or even in the fall after they have grown.
For propagation, you can just dig and take out the plant with all of its root balls and then cut it and make divisions of the root. When it comes to replanting, you can plant them 12 to 18 inches apart as I said earlier. Make sure you water these plants at the soil level and not from above.
The Black Eyed Susan is a plant that requires almost no care. You should just make sure that it gets all the sunlight it needs and that it does not go dry for long as there is the issue of powdery mildew fungi developing on the plants. You can make use of an organic antifungal program to prevent this if you see that the leaves have become brown or twisted.
The black-eyed Susan are flowers that symbolize justice. A flower that looks great, smells so good, self-seeds, and signifies justice. How many more reasons do you need to get this plant in your back garden?