The perennial black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia fulgida) is one of the most beloved native American wildflowers.
The black-eyed Susan plant (also sometimes called coneflower) reaches 24 to 36 inches high and blooms in midsummer.The button-like deep brown flower heads are surrounded by yellow-orange ray flowers, and will reseed in the garden unless deadheaded.
Black-eyed Susans prefer a well-drained soil and bloom best in a sunny location. Divide every 3 to 4 years to keep plants vigorous and under control.
The black-eyed Susan is a rugged perennial that will bloom dependably under a wide variety of conditions. The flower is attractive to butterflies, and the seed heads are a winter delicacy for birds. It pairs well with other native plants such as grasses.
Black-eyed Susan is native to the eastern United States and is hardy in zones 3 to 9.
Cultivated varieties include "Viette’s Little Suzy", which is only 10 to 14 inches tall, and "Herbstonne", which reaches 6 to 6 1/2 feet high, and has bright yellow flowers and green centers. One of the best known varieties is the 18- to 30-inch high "Goldsturm", a long bloomer with golden petals and a nearly black cone; it was named the Perennial Plant of the Year for 1999 by the Perennial Plant Association.