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.
More on growing rudbeckias:
We recommend eight of our favourite rudbeckia varieties, below.
Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun'
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
Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar'
'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
Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'
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
Rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset'
'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
Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'
'Irish Eyes' has some of the largest flowers of any black-eyed Susan, 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
Frequently Asked Questions
Does rudbeckia come back every year?
Whether your rudbeckia comes back every year depends on which variety of rudbeckia you are growing. Annual varieties will only last for one growing season. Biennial varieties will take two years to complete their life cycle. These usually have orange, dark-red or brown flowers. Perennial varieties, which usually have yellow flowers, will live for more than two years. Check the seed packet or plant label when you buy rudbeckia, to check which variety you are purchasing.
Where is the best place to plant rudbeckia?
Rudbeckia's will grow best in full sun. Although they can grow in light shade, they will flower best if grown in a sunny spot.
Does rudbeckia need to be cut back?
More mature plants may require cutting back. Chelsea chop taller varieties in May, reducing their height and removing the need for staking. Perennial varieties will benefit from lifting and dividing every three to five years.