My love of rudbeckias has turned into a bit of an obsession. They are, after all, a pretty easy family to fall in love with.
Some of the reasons I love them:
- Easy to start (most are anyway)
- Need little tending other than full sun and a little water to get started after transplanting
- The abundance of stems to harvest will wear you out
- Long-lasting in the vase
- The variety of native bees you meet there is fascinating
- The occasional aphid outbreak is a treat for my beneficial insects just waiting to eat them
- The cleanup crew (goldfinches) swoop in and eat the seeds developing on old flowers
- If you play your cards right—they will reseed in the garden
- The cut stems are major contributors to my flower farming business and a key ingredient that makes my farm attractive to so many native bees
Bonus: they are winter hardy to zone 5 which means they can be fall planted for earlier blooms in zones 5,6,7,8,9 for taller stems, and more abundance.
Early spring plantings can extend the season but won’t deliver as tall stems or abundance in my experience. Frankly, I never knew there were so many varieties until I started farming. Most are excellent long-lasting cut flowers plus there are always extra blooms for the pollinators and hungry birds.
I am growing several new to me this season: Sahara, Cherokee Sunset, Denver Daisy, and Cherry Brandy.
Find all my favorite rudbeckia seeds here: Indian Summer. Prairie Sun, Goldilocks, and Double Daisy.
Honorable mentions but not in the R. Hirta family: R. triloba and R. maxima I’m interested in the coloring which is so difficult to see true in images and if these will invite any new visitors to my garden.
I love what this family offers as cut flowers and beneficial creatures. The fourth section in my book Vegetables Love Flowers is titled “Heros of the Garden” and features the image I love of a goldfinch sitting on my rudbeckia– iconic!