As midsummer flowers start to fade, rudbeckias take over with their cheery yellow blooms.
Flowering from late summer to mid-autumn, rudbeckias are especially suited to prairie-style borders. They combine particularly well with border perennials such as perovskia, eupatorium, echinacea and persicaria.
Rudbeckias perform best in moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Cultivars vary in height from 50cm to two metres, so there’s an option for any size of garden.
We recommend eight of our favourite rudbeckia varieties, below.
Unlike the species, this Rudbeckia hirta cultivar has pale green centres as opposed to the more usual black. ‘Prairie Sun’ has beautiful light orange petals that fade to lemon yellow.
Height x spread: 90cm x 45cm.
‘Little Goldstar’ is a floriferous, compact cultivar that looks magnificent planted in large drifts at the front of borders. It’s a good choice for growing in pots and containers, too.
H x S: 50cm x 40cm.
Unusually for a rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ (pictured here with ‘Prairie Sun’) has deep chocolate-burgundy flowers, not unlike those of chocolate cosmos. Like all rudbeckias, it makes a great, long-lasting cut flower.
H x S: 60cm x 45cm.
‘Cherokee Sunset’ is a charming cultivar of Rudbeckia hirta, with semi- and fully double flowers in shades of warm yellow and chocolate-brown. This tall variety makes an ideal autumnal cut flower.
H x S: 75cm x 45cm.
‘Irish Eyes’ has some of the largest flowers of any rudbeckia, and with their sunshine-yellow colouration, they’re particularly impressive. Like ‘Prairie Sun’, this variety has pale yellow-green centres.
H x S: 100cm x 50cm.
The semi-double blooms of ‘Aries’ have lovely mahogany-coloured centres that bleed out into the otherwise yellow centres. Like all other rudbeckias with accessible pollen and nectar, it’s popular with bees and butterflies.
H x S: 75cm x 45cm.
As a cultivar of Rudbeckia laciniata, ‘Herbstsonne’ is one of the largest rudbeckias you can grow. This towering perennial is ideal for spots at the back of autumn borders. Looks lovely as a cut flower.
H x S: 2m x 90cm.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is one of the best known rudbeckia varieties, with starry yellow flowers and deep brown doorknob centres. It’s a tough, well-behaved and easy-to-grow plant.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm.
Rudbeckias are exceptionally easy to grow. The annual and biennial types like ‘Cherokee Sunset’ and ‘Aries’ can be grown from seed in spring, while the perennial varieties like ‘Herbstsonne’ and ‘Goldsturm’ can be planted at any time of year.