Daisy-like rudbeckia comes in many colors

Daisy-like rudbeckia comes in many colors

There’s nothing so cheerful as the daisy-like blooms of rudbeckia. You can find them in a wide range of sizes and colors that include annuals, perennials and biennials. They will make you feel even more cheerful when you learn how easy care they are.

Rudbeckia is a small genus of herbaceous perennials native to North America, according to the Gardening in the Coastal Southeast website, which also says that the daisy family, Asteracease, is one of the largest plant families. This family includes dusty miller, sunflower, lettuce and marigold.

Rudbeckia is tolerant of a range of growing conditions. They do demand full sun if you want to see them in full bloom. The shade will cause them to have much smaller and fewer flowers. Their fav location is moist soil that drains well, but they will tolerate slightly sandy or clay soils. Don’t bother to fertilize because often the stems will grow so long that the blooms fall over.

We gardeners love to use this plant for its versatility. They resist deer and can tolerate a little dry spell. You can use them in such a variety of landscaping situations. They give instant curb appeal.

If you bother to deadhead (keep old blooms pulled off), the flowering season will be longer and the plant will look better too. Plants that are getting large can be divided by splitting the root “clump” into two sections.

Consider using rudbeckia in a large mass and pair with other native plants like echinacea and ornamental grasses. Dave’s Garden makes the fun suggestion of using it with Russian blue sage. Butterflies are drawn to this happy beauty. Dave adds that most of the 25 types of rudbeckia are native to the East and Midwest, but many are now found naturalized throughout much of the country. Flowers are usually yellow or gold, but can also be found in russet, mahogany and bronze orange. Look for options that are double or single blooms.

You may hear both the rudbeckia and echinacea called “Coneflower.” Other nicknames in this flowering group are “Black-eyed Susan” and “Goldstrum.” When you go on a mission to find a few more of these cheerful beauties for your yard, look for some of these options that Dave’s Garden says grow well in our area: Rudbeckia fulgida, Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan), Rudbeckia lacinata (cutleaf yellow coneflower), Rudbeckia maxima (swamp coneflower), Rudbeckia subtomentosa (sweet coneflower) and Rudbeckia texana (Texas coneflower). Some of these are available only in catalogs and some are only available in seed form. Feel the joy when you look out over the rudbeckia blooms in your own yard.

 

Joette Reger is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. She can be reached by e-mail at joreger [at] msn [dot] com and on Facebook at “Gardengate with Joette Reger.”

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