Name: Rudbeckia hirta aka black eyed Susans
Type of Plant: Biennial that is sometimes grown as an annual. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall, often self-hybridizing and appearing with a variety of flower colors and sizes.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love annuals that gently self seed around my gardens, and this is one of them. It’s a flower that is good for cutting and putting in bouquets. It is drought tolerant and the deer and bunnies leave it alone. It grows well in full sun to part shade, and although it self seeds, it isn’t a thug. It plays well with others.
A Word to the Wise: This is an easy plant to grow from seed. Get seed for the lovely Indian Summer variety from Burpee. Know that it’s good to start some every year, however, if you want a particular flower like Indian Summer or if you want it to grow in a particular location. One year self-seeding plants will grow in one location and the next year it will grow six feet away or in the driveway or paths instead of the garden. If you want it to be in any particular area reliably, grow some from seed every spring and set them out where you’d like the plant to be.
Plants started inside in April will bloom the first year. If you cut those flowers for bouquets you’re likely to get those same plants back the following summer for another year, but if you let them go to seed that same plant will probably decide that it’s finished its job and is done.