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Rudbeckia for the Mississippi Gardener

Publication Number: P3506
View as PDF: P3506.pdf

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Rudbeckia is one of those groups of plants that really can make a statement in the home garden and landscape. A favorite flower with almost every Southern gardener, it is known by several common names: black-eyed Susan, brown-eyed Susan, and Gloriosa. These plants produce an abundance of bright yellow and orange flowers, each with a dark, button-shaped cone in the center.

There are several Rudbeckia species and selections for gardeners to choose from. Rudbeckia hirta is a Mississippi native wildflower and is a staple plant in naturalized areas and meadows. Rudbeckia are also reliable garden and landscape performers for pollinator and butterfly gardens.

Some varieties are true annuals, others are true perennials, and the rest are somewhere in between. It really doesn’t matter which selections you choose because all of these will put on a summer show in the Mississippi garden and landscape.

Cultural Information

All Rudbeckia should be planted in full sun for ideal flowering and color development. These plants will grow best in compost-amended, well-drained soils, but they are tolerant of poor, clay soils. Growing them in large containers is an excellent way to improve drainage. Be sure to use commercial potting media when growing in containers.

While Rudbeckia are known and grown for their tolerance of droughty conditions, for best landscape performance, provide consistent soil moisture. Rudbeckia are considered lower maintenance plants, but deadheading fading flowers will keep the plants blooming all summer long.

Here are some recommended Rudbeckia selections for Mississippi gardens and landscapes:

Goldsturm

A large bunch of flowers with bright yellow petals and round, brown centers.

(Rudbeckia fulgida var sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’)

Perennial Plant of the Year, 1999

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 36 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: bright yellow

Flower size: 2½ inches

Flowers with orange petals that change to dark red toward the center cones.

Cappuccino (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cappuccino’)

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: 18 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: orange-red

Flower size: up to 4 inches

Flowers with orange petals that change to brownish-red toward the center cones.

Cherokee Sunset (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’)

All-America Selections, 2002

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 2 feet tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: variable yellow, gold, orange, brown

Flower size: up to 4 inches

Flowers with yellow petals that change to mahogany red toward the center cones.

Denver Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’)

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: golden yellow and mahogany red eye

Flower size: up to 6 inches

Several flowers with golden yellow petals and round, brown center cones.

Early Bird Gold (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Early Bird Gold’)

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: 2½ inches

Flowers with pini-red petals that change to crimson toward the center cones.

Cherry Brandy (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’)

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: cherry-red and crimson

Flower size: 3 inches

Several flowers with many golden yellow petals and dark brown center cones.

Goldilocks (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Goldilocks’)

Foliage color: deep green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: 6 inches; semi-double, double

A bunch of flowers with many orange-gold petals and dark brown cones.

Tiger Eye (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Tiger Eye’)

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: orange-gold

Flower size: 4 inches; semi-double

A large bunch of flowers with golden yellow petals and dark brown center cones.

Indian Summer (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’)

All-America Selections, 1995

Mississippi Medallion, 1999

Flower color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 3½ feet tall, 2 feet wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: up to 9 inches

A single flower with yellow-gold petals and a bright green center cone.

Irish Eyes (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’)

Foliage color: deep green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 30 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: yellow-gold, green center cone

Flower size: 5 inches

Flowers with bright yellow petals that change to orange toward the green center cones.

Prairie Sun (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’)

All-America Selections, 2003

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 36 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: bright yellow with primrose center, green center cone

Flower size: up to 5 inches


Publication 3506 (POD-08-20)

By Gary R. Bachman, PhD, Extension/Research Professor, Coastal Research and Extension Center.

Copyright 2020 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications.

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Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. GARY B. JACKSON, Director

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Authors

Portrait of Dr. Gary R. Bachman
Extension/Research Professor
Ornamental Horticulture Host of Southern Gardening

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