Black-eyed susans (rudbeckia) bring a blaze of burnished glory to the garden in the late summer months with their daisy-style flowers.


Also known as coneflowers, rudbeckias come in a range of colours, from yellow to orange, and sizes. There are also annual, biennial and perennial varieties, so there's plenty of choice, as long as you have a sunny garden or patio. They can be grown in pots, but probably look best when combined with other ‘prairie style’ perennials and grasses.

Take a look at our handy rudbeckia Grow Guide, below.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Aries'
Yellow and brown rudbeckia 'Aries'

Where to plant rudbeckia

For best results grow rudbeckias in moist but well-drained soil, in full sun. Taller varieties are best at the back of a border, while shorter varieties can be grown in containers or at the front of a mixed border. Some rudbeckias will also tolerate light shade.

Sowing rudbeckia seeds in a tray
Sowing rudbeckia seeds in a tray

How to plant rudbeckia

Annual and biennial rudbeckias can be grown from seed. Sow seed in early spring and keep seedlings under cover until large enough to handle and pot on, then harden off after danger of frost has passed. Plant out in May.

Perennial rudbeckias can be planted at any time of year. Dig a generous planting hole and add plenty of compost or leaf mould. Add a general fertiliser as a top dressing, and water in and mulch well.

Watch Monty Don plant rudbeckias in the Jewel Garden.

Potting on rudbeckia seedlings
Potting on rudbeckia seedlings

Caring for your rudbeckia

Don't let the soil dry out, so water as necessary. Apply a generous mulch in spring or after planting out annuals and feed regularly through the growing season. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms. Divide overcrowded plants every few years.

Dividing rudbeckia clump with a spade
Dividing a large rudbeckia clump with a spade

How to propagate rudbeckia

Propagate by division, either in autumn or spring. Lift plants and split into smaller clumps.

Rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset'
Bronze and orange rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset'

Rudbeckia: problem solving

Rudbeckias are pretty much pest- and disease-free.

Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'
Yellow rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'

Great rudbeckia varieties to grow

  • Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii – the attractive, daisy-like flowers with cone-shaped, black-brown centres are produced in abundance, so this is more floriferous than other rudbeckia varieties
  • Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' RHS AGM – with wide, black-eyed, single, yellow daisy flowers and cone-shaped, black-brown centres, it’s short enough not to need staking, and doesn't spread as much, making it a very easy-care plant. It tolerates light shade
  • Rudbeckia fulgida 'Little Gold Star' – a compact, floriferous variety, bearing bright yellow, black-eyed blooms from midsummer through to autumn. Growing to a height of 50cm, it’s perfect for the front of a border or a container
  • Rudbeckia 'Aries' – magnificent bright yellow flowers with a large dark central zone. It's popular with late-flying pollinators and makes an excellent cut flower
  • Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' RHS AGM – the large, golden yellow blooms with reflexed petals, held on tall, slender stems make great cut flowers