Native Plant Spotlight – Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia, or Black Eyed Susan, is a common ornamental garden flower.  It is a perennial nativet that requires little maintenance and adds great color and shape to any flower garden.  

Rudbeckia is easy to get started either from seedlings or seeds.  I tossed seed heads from spend flowers into an area I had covered in Ivy and the next year several flowers popped up, and have continued to come back years later.  

Rudbeckia has several ecological niches.  As a native plant, it attracts and sustains native pollinators.  It is also the host plant of several caterpillars including the bordered patch, gorgone checkerspot, and silvery checkerspot. Native Americans value Black Eyed Susan as a medicinal plant, often used for immunity support, similar to echinacea.  

Maintaining a plant could not be easier than with Rudbeckia.  Once established it comes back year after year.  It is drought tolerant, and most of the time deer resistant.  I have had deer chomp off the flower head in late spring and early summer, but the rest of the time they seem to leave it alone.  Dead-heading is the only real maintenance task, but it is worthwhile as it extends and already long blooming season. Rudbeckia blooms from late srping all the way until early fall.  

Rudbeckia with caterpillar on flower.

If you’re looking to add a beautiful and easy native to your garden, look no further than black eyed susans!

Published by scottmeneely

Gardener passionate about organic gardening, fresh food, sustainable landscaping, home brewing, and much more! Our nursery also includes my wife and 2 kids. We work together, learn together, and travel together. My wife is Panamanian and we try to grow lots of good Latin American ingedients. We live in Baldwin, Pennsylvania in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

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