I Love Rudbeckia hirta

Jan 17, 2020 | Love This!

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.

Rudbeckia hirta can produce yellow, typical “black eyed Susans” or larger, multi colored flowers. These were the smaller, yellow ones.

Here’s a great example of how much the self-seeded ones can vary. The smaller flowers on the left, compared with the larger ones on the right. Note that the foliage in the center is a jewel weed, aka wild Impatiens.

I love the fact that Rudbeckia hirta will appear in gravel areas, steps and driveways.


  1. cat Logan

    I ordered some of these seeds from Burpee today. The Burpee rudbeckia seeds in the stores didn’t specify Indian Summer and I wanted to be certain to get the right ones. I am planning on winter sowing them outside. I’ve never done that before but I don’t have sufficient light or space to start them indoors. I’ve watched on line videos and checked to see that they are listed as a plant that can be winter sown. I figure its worth a try…something different and I look forward to getting my hands in some dirt even if its only in a milk jug.

    • CL Fornari

      Let me know how it works, Cat. I think you have a great shot at success!


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