Why plant Audubon® Native Black-Eyed Susan?
Color all summer long! Big yellow flowers with mahogany cones bloom all summer, making Black-Eyed Susan a favorite among landscapers, gardeners, and nature lovers. You’ve probably seen this cherished native used in public parks and commercial landscapes, so easy is it to grow and so generous with its flowers. It will make a splendid addition to your own mixed border, meadow, cutting garden, or container planting as well. Black-Eyed Susan will also be a favorite with your local wildlife! Bees and butterflies adore the flowers, and Goldfinches appear in fall and winter to dine on the seeds.
A treat for pollinators, Black-Eyed Susan nourishes many of our hardworking native bees. Bumblebees, digger bees, mining bees, sweat bees, leaf-cutting bees, carpenter bees, and cuckoo bees all visit this plant to forage for nectar and pollen. One species of mining bee seeks out Rudbeckia plants (Brown-Eyed and Black-Eyed Susans) specifically to feed its young—Rudbeckia pollen is the only type of pollen its larvae can eat. Black-Eyed Susan is native to the central and eastern United States. It has also naturalized in the West, as gardeners everywhere enjoy growing this adaptable plant. It can be found in the wild in all of the lower 48 states.
How to use Audubon® Native Black-Eyed Susan in the landscape?
Black-Eyed Susan plays host to some other interesting insects. The darling silvery checkerspot butterfly sometimes lays its eggs on its foliage. Several moth species take advantage of this plant, too, including the fascinating camouflaged looper. This clever caterpillar eats the flower parts of its host plant, and literally glues bits of the petals to its body while it eats to hide itself from predators! Eventually, it transforms into a pretty jade-green moth.
Hardiness Zone: 3-7
How To Plant Audubon® Native Black-Eyed Susan
Give Black-Eyed Susan a position in full sun for best results. The soil should be of average moisture, but if it’s a little on the dry side, that’s OK, too. This is a short-lived perennial, and individual plants will typically only flourish for a couple of years. No need to worry about it disappearing, however, because it reseeds prolifically! Just leave the seedheads standing all winter (birds will appreciate that), and don’t cut them down until early spring. Surplus plants that result may be moved elsewhere or given to friends.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water very slowly and very thoroughly. The water needs to reach to the bottom of the root ball and that takes time. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.