Sunday, July 25, 2010

Prairie Plant Profile #2 – Brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba, is a tall, multi-branched perennial in my prairie. At the end of June or beginning of July the plants are covered in bright orange-yellow flowers with dark brown centers. After the initial flush of flowers, Brown-eyed Susan sporadically produces a few more flowers for the next couple of months. The flowers attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
You may be able to extend the blooming by dead heading the spent flowers, but I usually leave them for interest in the winter landscape. Additionally, birds may feed on the seed heads. But be careful about leaving the seed heads on the plants. You may have little Brown-eyed Susan plants all over the place in the spring.
My plants usually grow between 3 and 5 feet tall depending on age and planting location. Brown-eyed Susan grows in full sun, but they can also adapt to a fair amount of shade. Brown-eyed Susan is drought tolerant, but appreciates a little water to prevent wilting in the afternoon heat. A little shade in the afternoon will help with the wilting too.
By comparison, the more common Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’, on the left in this photo, is a shorter plant and has larger flowers than Brown-eyed Susan.
Both the Brown-eyed Susan and the Black-eyed Susan are great sources of summer color after the spring flowers have faded.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful. I love what you are doing and setting a good example for others to follow. Go native plants and down with lawns!


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