Black Eyed Susan Facts

Black Eyed Susan Facts image by Creating Character/Flickr
Black Eyed Susan Facts image by Creating Character/Flickr

Overview

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to the eastern United States, but have spread throughout North America. They are also called Gloriosa Daisies or Coneflowers.

Description

Black-eyed Susans have bright yellow or gold flowers on 2- to 3-foot tall plants. They grow in zones 2 through 11. Black-eyed Susans are treated as annuals in colder zones and as short-lived perennials in warmer zones. They reseed easily.

Varieties

In addition to the native Black-eyed Susans, several varieties are available. Becky is an unusual plant because it has orange, yellow, russet and mahogany colored blooms all on one plant. Toto and Maya are dwarf varieties with yellow flowers that can be used in the front of a flower border. Cherokee Sunset has bright yellow double blooms. Prairie Sun and Irish Eyes have unusual flowers--yellow with light green centers.

Benefits

Black-eyed Susans are larval plants for Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia) and Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone) butterflies, so they are excellent plants for butterfly and wildflower gardens. They are grown as cutting plants and the flowers will last 6 to 10 days in a floral arrangement.

Pests and Diseases

Aphids suck sap from black-eyed Susans, while goldenglow sawflies may defoliate the entire plant. Four-lined plant bugs also attack black-eyed Susans. The plants are susceptible to wilt caused by downy mildew, as well as leaf spots. Powdery mildew and white smut are also problems on black-eyed Susans. Verticillium wilt causes the death of infected plants.

Fun Facts

"Black-eyed" actually refers to the brown domed center of the flower. The black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland.

References

  • University of Illinois Extension
  • University of Florida Extension

Who Can Help

  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Keywords: Black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan facts

About this Author

Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.

Photo by: Creating Character/Flickr