Black Eyed Susans: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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Rudbeckias are easy-to-grow perennials featuring golden, daisylike flowers with black or purple centers, and include the popular black-eyed Susan.

About black eyed susans
Rudbeckia's bright, summer-blooming flowers give the best effect when planted in masses in a border or wildflower meadow. Some species also have attractive gray-green foliage. In general, rudbeckias are relatively drought-tolerant and disease-resistant. Flower colors include yellow and gold, and the plants grow 2 to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety.

Special features of black eyed susans
Easy care/low maintenance

Multiplies readily

Good for cut flowers

Attracts butterflies

Tolerates dry soil

Choosing a site to grow black eyed susans
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.

Ongoing Care
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring, spacing plants 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.

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