During the height of summer is when one is able to discover a plethora of Black Eyed Susan flowers blooming healthily in fields as well as on roadsides all over North America.

lots of black eyed susan flowers blooming healthily

Its golden yellow daisy flowers are almost universally loved but the Black Eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta) is often thought of as a weed rather than a garden plant.

However, if you’re looking to add more wildflowers and native plants to your landscape, Black Eyed Susan should be at the top of your list of candidates

Whether your idea of the perfect garden is a meadow of wildflowers and grasses, or an old fashioned formal flower border, Black Eyed Susan flowers will be right at home in your landscape.

Wild types of Rudbeckia are perfect for natural gardens and are easy to grow from seed. Newer varieties with larger flowers in a wide variety of warm colors will perform beautifully alongside the perennials and annuals in your existing sunny flower garden.

You can even find miniature Rudbeckia plants to grow in patio or porch containers. If one of your landscape goals is attracting more wildlife to your garden, Rudbeckia could become your new best friend. Black Eyed Susan flowers are practically guaranteed to bring more bees, butterflies and birds to your yard.

Rudbeckia is also a great choice for the summer flower garden if you want to cut back or eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Black Eyed Susan is almost never bothered by pests’ and it doesn’t like rich soil. A well-drained sunny spot is all that’s needed to grow any type of rudbeckia.

1) Black Eyed Susan Is Native to North America

Rudbeckia is a native North American plant, and you can find local variants growing in almost every region of the U.S. and Canada. Black Eyed Susan is highly adaptable to a wide variety of climate and soil types.

In fact, the only place that you probably won’t find some type of Rudbeckia growing wild is the desert. But even there, gardeners have brought it into cultivation. To learn more about the benefits of growing native plants in your garden, see this article of mine.

Brown Eyed Susan, Yellow Ox-Eye Daisy and Yellow Coneflower are some of the other common names used for native Rudbeckias. Like other types of daisies and cone flowers, Black Eyed Susan is a member of the aster family.

The name Gloriosa Daisy usually refers to perennial types of Black Eyed Susan that have larger flowers than the more common annual or biennial rudbeckia hirta. Gloriosa Daisy (rudbeckia fulgida) usually spreads by division and can form large clumps in just a few years.

2) Rudbeckia Is an Easy To Grow Addition to Any Type of Garden

Whether your gardening style is relaxed and natural or fancy and formal, Rudbeckia will charm you with its understated beauty. Black Eyed Susan flowers will be at home in every type of garden from a prairie to an English cottage garden.

Since it has such a long bloom period you may even want to plant it in a large flower bed all itself. Natural gardens are becoming more popular every year. Homeowners are quickly discovering the benefits of growing plants that require less resources and much less work.

Rudbeckia will bloom all summer long and is vigorous enough to choke out most weeds. If you’ve ever sown one of those packets of regional wildflower seeds it probably included at least one type of Rudbeckia.

While starting a wildflower meadow is not quite as easy as scattering a packet of seeds on the ground, rudbeckia hirta is very easy to grow from seed. Black Eyed Susan seeds can be sown soon after the last frost when daytime temperatures stay consistently in the 60s. Sow thickly and thin the seedlings to six inches apart when they get their first true leaves.

In short-season areas, you can sow rudbeckia seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last average frost date in your area. Move the seedlings to the garden when the days warm up and the threat of frost is over.

Although Black Eyed Susan is drought-tolerant, young plants should be watered regularly until they are well established. All types of Rudbeckia will bloom more prolifically when they are not allowed to dry out.

When growing rudbeckia from seed, be aware that rudbeckia hirta is biennial and probably won’t bloom until the second year in Northern areas.

Rudbeckia hirta will vigorously reseed itself so be sure to keep the flowers deadheaded to prolong bloom and keep it under control. Black Eyed Susan will bloom from June until September or October in most areas.

If you’d like to grow Rudbeckia in an existing mixed flower border, you can start with perennial plants instead of seeds. Many types of Rudbeckia plants can be found in gallon sized containers in your local garden center or from an online nursery.

Popular varieties of the perennial rudbeckia fulgida (Gloriosa Daisy) include Autumn Colors with blooms in shades of gold, red,and mahogany, and Cherokee Sunset ,a newer rudbeckia that has double, chysanthemun type flowers.

All Rudbeckias make great companions for blue and purple flowers such as salvias, Larkspur, New England asters and petunias. They could also be planted near roses or summer blooming bulbs.

Most Rudbeckia plants will grow to a height of about 3 feet, but if you’re looking for an easy-to-grow container plant, there are smaller types of Black Eyed Susans. The most popular miniature Rudbeckia is Toto, named after the Wizard of Oz pooch, of course. Toto’s height tops out at about 1 foot.

3) Black Eyed Susan Flowers Are a Magnet for Bees, Butterflies and Birds

If you want to attract more wildlife to your garden, you need to plant at least one type of Rudbeckia. Even if you planted nothing but Black Eyed Susan in your garden you would have more moths, bees, butterflies and birds than you could ever imagine.

a bee hanging about on a black eyed susan flower

Since Black Eyed Susan flowers are insect pollinated, even a few plants will attract lots of native bees, wasps and butterflies. Rudbeckia is a favorite of honeybees, which have been declining for several years now. Many commercial crops also depend on honeybees, so providing food for them helps everyone.

Rudbeckia companions for a butterfly garden of native plants could include Milkweed(asclepias), asters, Goldenrod, Ironweed, Joe-pye weed, Ageratum and close Black Eyed Susan relative Echinacea (purple coneflower).

No matter which plants you include in your garden, if you grow Black Eyed Susan expect to see plenty of moths and butterflies. Be aware that caterpillars are baby butterflies, and they eat lots of leaves, so don’t use insecticides on them.

Rudbeckia can tolerate more insect damage than non-native plants, so don’t worry too much about leaf munching bugs. Black Eyed Susan will start to wind down its blooming season when the days get shorter and nighttime temperatures become chilly.

Should you allow seeds to be produced by the final flowers of the last season, it won’t take long for little birds to fly into your garden and gorging themselves on those oily black seeds. Birds such as pine siskins and goldfinches love munching on rudbeckia seeds.

Seeds derived from Black Eyed Susan are also sought after by birdie seed eaters like cardinals, chickadees, and tufted titmice.

4) Rudbeckia Is Easy To Grow Even For a Gardening Newbie

Whichever type of Black Eyed Susan flowers you decide are best for your garden, you can rest assured that you will be helping the environment by growing a native plant that will not deplete the soil or require lots of chemicals that could harm your family.

As a bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy a summer garden that is teeming with life. Isn’t that what you dreamed about when you decided to plant a garden? And who knows, you might even save a few bees.