How to Plant Black Eyed Susan


Black-eyed Susans are a biennial flower species that thrives in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 11, according to the University of Florida. Landscapers prize the plants for their very hardy nature and often use them as bedding plants or in wildflower and butterfly gardens. The plants will grow readily from scattered seeds, and will reseed themselves every year.

Step 1

Choose a gardening area. Black-eyed Susans are very hardy but require full sun and thrive best in well-drained soil.

Step 2

Prepare the gardening area. Remove all surface vegetation. Use a spade to break up the soil into loose clumps to a depth of half a foot. Stir in a couple of inches of aged compost to increase the soil's concentration of organic matter and improve moisture retention.

Step 3

Sow the black-eyed Susan seeds by scattering them on the soil surface and lightly raking the area so the seeds are buried by approximately 1/16 inch of dirt. If growing black-eyed Susans in a row, place a couple of seeds every 18 to 24 inches, according to the University of Florida. If you want to create a meadow-like bed full of the flowers, scatter the seeds at a rate of approximately 80 seeds per square foot, according to the University of Vermont.

Step 4

Water the planting area twice daily or as needed to keep the soil surface moist. The fast-growing seeds will germinate within 10 days, according to the University of Florida, and will start producing their iconic flowers within 14 weeks of sowing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Due to their reseeding nature, black-eyed Susans sometimes become a weed if allowed to grow out of control.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Rake
  • Aged compost
  • Black-eyed Susan seeds
  • Water


  • "Taylor's Guide to Annuals: How to Select and Grow more than 400 Annuals"; Barbara Ellis; 2000
  • University of Florida: Rudbeckia Hirta
  • University of Vermont: Successful Wildflower Meadows

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University: Butteryfly Gardens
Keywords: black eyed susan, black susan seeds, grow annual flowers

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.