If you’re looking for a bright pop of yellow color in your flower garden, look no further than the lovely Rudbeckia. There are actually 9 species of Rudbeckia native to Florida (Atlas of Florida Plants), but the most famous of them are the Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). This stunning wildflower can grow to be 2-3 feet tall and mound to 1-2 feet wide. While it is considered a perennial, it is usually short-lived but reseeds itself readily so you won’t have to purchase more. This flower is so beautiful and is so attractive to pollinators that you’ll likely want to add more anyway! Black-eyed Susans are tolerant of many soil pH ranges, and thrive in somewhat moist to very long dry areas in full sun. Honestly, the more you neglect this plant once it’s established the better it will do. For more moist soils, consider another beautiful Rudbeckia that I was recently introduced to called cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia lanciniata), but give it space since it can grow between 3-6 feet tall or more. Allow the spent flowers to go to seed, both so you have more plants next season and for the birds to eat, then deadhead to encourage more blooms. You can expect a lovely show of yellow from spring to fall, and indeed the Black-eyed Susans are blooming beautifully now. Just look at this beautiful cluster I found blooming in Gainesville. To learn more about Black-eyed Susans, visit the Florida Native Plant Society, Gardening Solutions, or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Service. Happy Gardening!
by Amanda Marek
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.