Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

Asteraceae - Aster Family

Black-eyed Susan is a very common upright biennual plant native to most of North America that grows up to about 1 meter in length.1 Like most wildflowers, Black-eyed Susan can be established by simply spreading seeds on the ground. Once established, they will reseed themselves every year, as long as they are not out-competed by weedy perennials.1 It has an active growth period of Fall, Winter, and Spring.
This plant is able to grow in many different environments from prairies to temperate open fields. It grows in sun or shade, although direct sunlight is preferred. Many different soil conditions are acceptable. For optimal growth, poorly drained, wet soil with a large amount of stagnant water are preferred.1 It is commonly used for erosion control, and to provide seed for songbirds and other wildlife.1 When grown in large groups, will attract large groups of butterflies. It is considered one of the top plants for attracting flocks of butterflies. While there are no major insect problems for this plant, it is susceptible to powdery mildew. Even though insects are not a major issue, slugs and snails should be watched for on young budding plants.2 The beautiful large flowers bloom in summer, often invoking nostalgic reminiscences of childhood.

References and Useful Websites:
1Natural Resources Conservation Service - U. S. Department of Agriculture
2Kemper Center for Home Gardening - Missouri Botanical Garden

This page was prepared by Will Fullington, BIO 102, Fall 2011

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