Black-eyed Susan Perennials

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The state flower of Maryland (since 1918) and probably the most common of American wildflowers, Black-eyed Susan perennials thrive in most soils and a full sun. Originally native to the East Coast, Rudabecki hirta has become endemic across all of North America. Black-eyed Susan perennials stand about two to three feet tall, forgive neglect, and have a vase life of six to 10 days. They prefer moist soil.

The Black-eyed Susan was named in 1763 by Swedish naturalist Linnaeus for University of Uppsala professor Olva Rudbeck. The "hirta" is Latin meaning rough or hairy. In the wild, Black-eyed Susan perennials are commonly found in fields and along roadsides. Cultivated, they will flower in their third year if cared for.

Listed as an invasive species in the Southern Weed Science Society in 1998, Black-eyed Susans almost never appear in wetlands regions. There are 23 varieties of Rudabecki in the United States, and four varieties of Black-eyed Susans.

Varieties of Black-eyed Susan Perennials

The Goldsturm (Rudbeckia fulgida) does well in settings with wild grasses and is very attractive to birds and butterflies. It blooms from July through September. Indian Summer, at three to four feet, stands taller than some varieties and spreads from 12 to 18 inches. A dwarf Indian Summer, Viettes Little Suzy (Rudabeckia speciosa) stands only 12 to 14 inches tall, grows quickly, and has a spread of about 15 inches.

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