Rudbeckia hirta

More often connected only to the Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta collectively is Black and Brown-eyed Susan and other native wild flowers to America known as Cone flowers.  Sometimes they are also referred to as Yellow daisies

Hirta is Latin for 'hairy' which refers to the stem.  Families are (Asteraceae) aster and (Compositae) daisy.  These flowers are not related to the Black-eyed Susan Vine.

Linnaeus named this flower group after a prominent scientist and botanist, Olof Rudbeck in the early 1700's. 

There are about 30 species consisting of annuals, perennial and biennials, these are long blooming flowers:

  • Prefer drier soils, do well where summer droughts are common.
  • They tolerate moist soils as long as they drain well.
  • Flowers prefer rich soil, can grow in higher in alkaline or acid soils.
  • Prefer bright sun.

These flowers are long blooming.  They start to bloom in June or July, depending on area, and flowers last well through October, or until the first frost.  They are also deer resistant, including hybrids.  Because most are native to North America they are resistant to disease and insects.  They also hold up well in both cold and warm climates.

The native wildflower perennials can live for more than ten years but the cultivated hybrid varieties aren't nearly as durable, especially in colder climates where many behave as annuals. 

Between all rudbekia species the colors they can be found in include yellow, gold, orange, mohagany, maroon and russet tones.

Gloriosa daisy, or R. hirta 'gloriosa' is a generic term for many types of wildflower hybrids from the Blackeyed Susan flower.  These are short-lived perennials but are often grown as annual plants because they bloom for the first year.  They grow 1-3 feet tall with flowers that can grow 5-6 inches in diameter, some having double petals.  The centers are black or brown.  Some popular commercial varieties include:

  • R. 'Denver Daisy'
  • R. 'Toto'
  • R. 'Cherry Brandy'

Rudbeckia fulgida are also a hybrid perennial, but again, depending on planting zones they can be an annual or short lived perennial.  There are seven varieties of fulgida species, four of them are called 'Orange coneflower'.  Some popular commercial varieties include:

  • 'Little Goldstar' (R. fulgida 'goldstar') 
  • 'Goldsturm'  (R. fulgida 'goldsturm')
  • 'Prairie Sun' (R. fulgida 'prairie sun')

Regardless of hybrid or native wildflower, these flowers are great mid-border and back-border flowers.  Besides a butterfly garden, they work well in desert and rock gardens.

Rudbeckia hirta propagates by seed and very often self-sows in late spring.  Because plants are native they grow easily and fast.  It may become necessary to break up flower clumps.  Do so with scissors and replant.  Fall is the best time to divide.

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