How to Grow Black Eyed Susans

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It is August and everything in your garden is dried up or looking sunburned except the Black Eyed Susan’s. It is easy to grow Black Eyed Susans. Black Eyed Susan is the one glorious, easy care plant that is in the full sun all day loving it. The Black Eye Susan, or Rudbeckia, is a full sun perennial that blooms from the end of July, through August and into September.



    1. Start by seed or by perennials, when buying Black Eyed Susans decide if you have the time and patience to start from seed or if you want the fast impact of buying potted perennials. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Sow Black Eyed Susan seeds directly in the grown, they will bloom in the second year.

      Buy more mature Black Eyed Susan plants which will bloom the first year. Find Black Eyed Susan plants in the perennial section, in half gallon or gallon. Buy enough Black Eyed Susan plants to place one plant every six inches in the area you want to cover, you will get total coverage by the third year. Save money, plant every foot (instead of six inches), the area will be completely covered by the fourth year.

    2. Plant the Black Eyed Susan plants where they will get six to eight hours of sunshine a day. Place the plants on the warm southern side of the house if planting above zone seven and remember to mulch well in the winter. Plant in any sunny spot in the mid atlantic, south and west. Place your Black Eyed Susan in the dappled shade in the deep south.
    3. Prepare the planting site by turning over the ground and mixing in compost to the depth of your shovel. Plant the seeds or transplants, tap down the surface and water well. Apply 1-2 inches of mulch. During the first summer make sure you water well to ensure the new plants have ideal conditions to get established, they will be drought resistant in the second summer.
    4. Cut the plants off about one inch above the ground in the autumn. Compost the cuttings if thereis no sign of disease or pests place in the compost pile. Place the cut portions on the curb for recycling if there was any sign of disease or pests during the growing year.
    5. Transplant Black Eyed Susan after a few years to thin, give to a neighbor or plant in another area in your garden. Dig into the thickest clumps in spring when the plants have just begun to emerge. Remove wedges of roots. Transplant these to a new site following the directions above. Fill in the area where you removed wedge of roots with soil and compost. Water both the area from which you removed the roots and the new transplanted area well.

Tips & Warnings

  • Black Eyed Susan is the State Flower of Maryland

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