The Q&A Archives: Black-Eyed Susan

Question: I would like to plant Black-Eyed Susans (hirta), along a walk way as a border. If I wanted to plant a approx. 8' x 2' area, how many plants would I need? When can I plant them, can I do it now so in the spring they're all ready to go?

Answer: The Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are considered an annual or possibly a biennial. Gloriosa Daisies are part of that group and are often grown in the garden. I think you would be better off since they are along a walk to plant them out next spring. (Sometimes they don't winter over reliably.) They bloom from mid-summer onward regardless because they don't grow well until the weather warms up. In my experience planting them now would not gain you significant extra blooming time next year. Assuming your soil is fairly rich and evenly moist, these plants can grow about 18 to 24 inches tall and perhaps 15 inches wide or more, so I would plan on roughly a dozen plants set out in two staggered rows, depending on how crowded and full you'd like your flower bed to look. Good luck with your flower bed!

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