Scientific Name: Rudbeckia (Asteraceae)
Chances are you have seen this flower. They are commonly found growing in gardens, fields and the countryside. Black-eyed susans are wildflowers native to North America. They are easily distinguished with their dark brown, almost black, centers with bright yellow daisy-like petals. They also have coarse, hairy foliage.
Black-eyed susans are perfect for the beginner gardener. They are super easy to grow, low maintenance and the plants grow quickly. All you would have to do is spread the seeds and leave the rest to nature. They do well in most soil conditions, but prefer well drained soil. They will reseed after the first season. As well, they are drought and heat resistant.
Black-eyed susans will grow in climate zones 3-9.
Black-eyed susans bloom prolifically between early summer and early fall. Be sure to give them space to grow, as they tend to spread and will crowd out other flowers in your garden. Divide your plants every 3 to 4 years to ensure healthy plants and to prevent excessive spreading. Deadheading (removing spent flowers) will increase the blooms. Actually, in some places, it’s been classified as a weed.
The bright colours of the black eyed susans attract butterflies and bees. The plant is also a source of food for some animals. They would be lovely as cut flowers and in a wildflower meadow.
Fun facts about the black-eyed susan:
- it is the official state flower of Maryland, USA since 1918
- The genus name, Rudbeckia, was named in honour of botanist Olof Rudbeck Junior
- like echinacea, this flower has been used in traditional herbal medicine
- juice from the roots has been used to heal earaches
- some species of fungi will grow on the roots of the flower
- black eyed susans are pioneer plants; one of the first plants to grow after a fire or other natural disasters
- black eyed susans represent encouragement -a perfect gift to send to a friend who is having a rough time