Rudbeckias are one of the best plants for longevity and all-around garden performance. Here’s some reasons why they should be front and center in your garden.
1. Rudbeckias come in many varieties
There are numerous other rudbeckias to try from either plants or seed:
- Cutleaf coneflowers (Rudbeckia laciniata) make a stunning show in late summer. They produce a riot of yellow flowers with green centers.
- For double flowers, go for the shaggy, many-petaled ‘Goldquelle’.
- Three-lobed coneflower (R. triloba) can tolerate some shade. They blossom into dozens of button-sized, black-eyed yellow daisies.
2. They’re highly adaptable
- When they’re pleased with their site, rudbeckias develop into vigorous clumps.
- They also have a talent for adapting their growth pattern to their current climate.
- In hot, humid climates, plants may flourish for only two years or so, during which time they shed seeds that sprout in either fall or early spring.
- Even if a parent perishes unexpectedly, you should find plenty of adoptable specimens. Dig up the new plants and move them to where you want them to grow and flower.
3. They’re perfect for busy gardeners
- Rudbeckias reward minimal effort with a three-month outpouring of flowers that few other perennials can match.
- Unlike some daisy relatives, rudbeckias have sturdy stems. No matter how many flowers they generate, the plants never flop or need staking.
- The stiff stems make rudbeckias ideal for arrangements. Cut stems early in the morning, before they’ve been stressed by sun.
4. They look great almost anywhere
- Turn rudbeckias loose in a sunny meadow, where they’ll supply a splash of bright yellow all summer.
- Try planting a mass alongside a wooden fence for a casual, colourful display.
- Rudbeckia’s appearance is neat enough to be included in a perennial border. Pick a spot where it can grow tall and full.
5. They benefit from a strong start
- Grow rudbeckias in well-drained, moderately fertile soil to get them off to a strong start.
- Set out plants in early spring, or in the fall where winters are mild.
- If the site is naturally moist, you’ll need to water less.
- If you want to increase your stock, dig and divide mature plants in the spring, replanting them at the same depth at which they previously grew.
6. They’re hardy and easy to protect
- Late in the season you may see whitish patches of powdery mildew on the leaves. By this time, it’s fine to cut the plants back.
- Cut them to 15 centimetres (six inches) to nip this unsightly, but never fatal, fungal disease in the bud.
- While most pests shun rudbeckias, you may spot sap-sucking aphids on tender new growth. Knock them off with a strong stream of water, or apply insecticidal soap.
- Tuck bars of deodorant-formula bath soap among plantings to repel deer, or apply a commercial repellent.
Rudbeckias are beautiful, tall flowers that can add jolts of colour to almost any garden, and they’re very easy to maintain. If you give them a head start in the beginning, your rudbeckias may grow tall and strong, and be easy to prepare for the next season.