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Rudbeckias are one of the most versatile members of the daisy family. The half-hardy annual varieties, such as Toto or Rustic Dwarfs Mixed, are generally shorter, providing shades of gold, bronze and mahogany, including bicolours, to pep up summer borders or pots from July to October. There’s also a group of hardy perennials, like rudbeckia fulgida var. Speciosa (black-eyed Susan), providing long-lasting colour right through from the late summer to the first frosts, with bright yellow flowers and contrasting black eyes. The long stems are perfect for cutting. It looks particularly good in prairie-style planting, alongside Echinacea and grasses. Read more
How to grow Rudbeckia
For half-hardy annual types, sow indoors from February-April in gentle heat at a depth of a 0.5cm/¼in. Prick out at the 2-4 leaf stage into small pots and harden off/plant out from late May onwards, after the risk of frost has passed. Space plants 30cm/12in apart or pot up into containers, using good-quality multipurpose compost.
Sow outdoors from April-May in their flowering position and keep the seedbed moist. For hardy perennial varieties, sow indoors in trays in good-quality seed compost from February-April at 15-20°C/60-68°F at a depth of 0.5cm/¼in. Keep moist and thin out when large enough to handle into small pots or trays. Harden off and plant out in early June, spacing plants 45cm/18in apart.
Perennials can also be sown outdoors from May-June in a prepared seedbed. Thin out as necessary, then plant out into flowering positions 45-60cm/18-24in in September-October. Rudbeckia prefers a moisture retentive but well-drained soil, so dig in some organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or garden compost before planting.
Perennial plants can be divided when established in spring. Plants will die back in autumn - leave the stems over winter to provide hibernation spots for beneficial insects.
Did You Know?
Rudbeckias are natives of North America, hence their suitability for the prairie planting style made famous by designer Piet Oudolf. They can also be grown to prevent soil erosion. Show less
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