Easy To Grow from Seed Flowers – Rudbeckia

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rudbeckia easy to grow from seeds black eyed susans

I’ve grown many Rudbeckia (“Black Eyed Susan”) now, and I can assure you: they are strong, easy to grow from seed flowers. Summer of 2023, I’m growing nearly 2 dozen individuals, from seed I harvested last fall. They’re a classic, must-have flower that complements nearly any other flower or plant. I find that Shasta Daisies must be their plant brother.

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Why Grow Rudbeckia (“Black Eyed Susans”)?

Why are they easy to grow from seed flowers?

  • Rudbeckias are perennial flowers. They will come back year after year.
  • They bloom midsummer to early fall.
  • They coordinate with so many other plants and flowers.
  • They’re very hardy, require zero maintenance.
  • They make a terrific cut flower for inside.
  • Bees, pollinators, butterflies, moths, and birds are attracted to Rudbeckia. When the flower’s center goes to seed, some report that birds love to eat them.
  • They can be divided every three or four years if desired, to thin them out, or replant in another part of your garden or gift to someone! Like Shasta Daisies, Rudbeckias big problem is having too much of them.
easy to grow from seed rudbeckia flowers
Rudbeckia “Goldsturm” at GHW & Sons

Do Rudbeckia spread?

In a word, yes. Rudbeckia will spread horizontally over the seasons. With these and Shasta Daisies as well, it’s a good idea to divide the roots (rhizomes) up in the fall or early spring every three years. Dividing the roots is a healthy task that will benefit the plant, as it gives them more breathing room – plants need to breathe easily, too. This also gives you an opportunity to give or sell Black Eyed Susan to someone, and to plant in a new area of your garden, yard, or property.

Rudbeckia Growing Tips

Sun Exposure

Rudbeckias like full sun, but they also will do well in partial shade. Plant them in well-drained, not overly rich soil. Their garden styles: Patio Container, Cottage, Eclectic, Prairie, Border Plant, Cut Flower, Easy To Grow, Mass Planting.

Watering Needs

The first full year, like most plants, require moist soil to get a good start. Rudbeckias are actually drought tolerant once they’re established. They don’t need regular watering, so if you have an area of your garden that’s dedicated to drought tolerant plants and flowers, “Black Eyed Susans” will fit in very well. Watering once a week in a warm summer is usually cool with Rudbeckias. If you go on vacation for a week, and it’s hot and sunny, and no one is coming over to water your plants for you, your Rudbeckias won’t care.

easy to grow from seed rudbeckia flowers
Rudbeckia “American Gold Rush” at GHW

Soil Preference

Rudbeckias aren’t picky about soil quality and type. Most plants and flowers do thrive under best conditions. A well draining soil (good soil or earth, very little clay) will be the best stage for your Rudbeckias to entertain. But it’s not necessary.

They’d do well in a rock garden, on or within rockeries.

If you have an area of your garden that stays moist thanks to poor draining or clay-ey soil, you’re all set to grow Milkweeds.

Growing Zone

Zones 4 – 10. It’s a bit cold for Zones 1-3, and the high humidity of zones 11-12 (in the US) might be a bit much for Rudbeckias.

Maintenance

This is partly why I call them easy to grow from seed flowers: Rudbeckias are some of the least demanding flowers you can have. Remove spent flowers (“dead-head”) in order to stimulate continuous bloom.

Fertilizing twice a year will take your Rudbeckias to the moon.

Propagation

rudbeckia seedling starts easy to grow from seed flowers
These 6 Rudbeckia seedling starts are about 3 months old. Image by author.

Rudbeckia starts in spring as a mounding green. They do take up some real estate. Figure at least 3′ in width. Rudbeckias don’t fully bloom until deep into summer for the moderate zones (4-8). As a result, their bloom time goes deep into September and early October sometimes. Harvesting Rudbeckia seeds is probably one of the last garden tasks you’ll do before the cold nights set in. You won’t really be able to harvest their seeds way after they bloom.

By late September, their petals will look dull. Let them stay on their stems in the garden until you can scrape seeds easily off the center of the bloom. If you can’t scrape the seeds off with a finger, they’re not ready to come off yet.

Collect seeds from one or two heads, that’s all you’ll need to grow your own garden full of them – and leave the rest for the birds to eat in the Fall.

Rudbeckia Concerns

Rudbeckia are infrequently subject to several disease problems, such as powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spots, fungal leaf spots, stem rots, downy mildew, and fungal rusts. All of these pathogens are typically encouraged by excess moisture on the leaves (usually after frequent rain or overhead irrigation.)

Clemson University Extension
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Author

After years of denying it, Donald finally admits one passion in life is gardening. More specifically: growing seeds, plants, flowers and edibles and helping them to be the best possible. Neighbors call him a Green Thumb. He lives in Western Washington with his wife of 24+ years and three cats.

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