|Rudbecka 'Goldsturm' in July|
When adding new plants to my garden, I always prefer natives. Rudbeckia is a native flowering plant with showy coneflower blooms that attract all kinds of pollinators. The United States has many different Rudbeckias that are native, some are perennial while others are self-sowing annuals.
Most often referred to as Blackeyed Susan, many types of Rudbeckia have been developed. The most widely planted one remains 'Goldsturm.' And for good reason!
Bright golden yellow sunflower type blooms are held up high on strong stems that do not require staking. When given moderately fertile soil and just an occasional watering, Rudbeckia will self-sow and spread into quite a sizeable family of plants, making an eye-catching show in July and August. Since Goldsturm thrives in hot, sunny spots with little water, it should be included in any roadside garden or xeriscape planting. But if you don't have an area with full sun all day, don't be afraid to try it anyway. Although full sun is loved by Blackeyed Susan, they bloom in shade here in our garden. And if you're on a budget, you can start with just one plant!
Another Rudbeckia we added to our garden just last year is Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers.' Our plant has really taken off this summer. Unlike Goldsturm, Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' does require staking or some type of support. It would look great against a wooden fence or wall. The stems are 8 feet tall this year and just coming into bloom. This rudbeckia is named for the horticulturist who found it growing wild. Petals on Henry Eilers Rudbeckia are true yellow instead of gold. The foliage carries the distinct fragrance of vanilla, which is why this one is often referred to as Sweet Coneflower or Sweet Black-eyed Susan. I have it planted right alongside Hibiscus coccineus where the blooms can be enjoyed together along the path beside the greenhouse.
|Rudbeckia 'Henry Eilers' in July to August|
Sweet Coneflower does enjoy moist soil, so it is more suited to a spot where you can water it when needed. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade, but it cannot withstand long periods of drought.
All rudbeckias attract pollinators into the garden. Butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees, and honeybees love them as much as we do.
The strong stems and long life of the flower make them excellent cut flowers for bouquets to be taken indoors.
Don't remove all the spent flowers. Allow your plants to go to seed and rudbeckia will self-sow to fill a large area. And by the way, the seeds are a favorite food of all finches.
Coneflowers can be grown in most areas of the United States in USDA Hardiness Zones as cold as Zone 5. We should all make room in our garden for coneflowers of every color.