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Rudbeckia for the Mississippi Gardener

Publication Number: P3506
View as PDF: P3506.pdf

Rudbeckia is one of those groups of plants that really can make a statement in the home garden and landscape. A favorite flower with almost every Southern gardener, it is known by several common names: black-eyed Susan, brown-eyed Susan, and Gloriosa. These plants produce an abundance of bright yellow and orange flowers, each with a dark, button-shaped cone in the center.

There are several Rudbeckia species and selections for gardeners to choose from. Rudbeckia hirta is a Mississippi native wildflower and is a staple plant in naturalized areas and meadows. Rudbeckia are also reliable garden and landscape performers for pollinator and butterfly gardens.

Some varieties are true annuals, others are true perennials, and the rest are somewhere in between. It really doesn’t matter which selections you choose because all of these will put on a summer show in the Mississippi garden and landscape.

Cultural Information

All Rudbeckia should be planted in full sun for ideal flowering and color development. These plants will grow best in compost-amended, well-drained soils, but they are tolerant of poor, clay soils. Growing them in large containers is an excellent way to improve drainage. Be sure to use commercial potting media when growing in containers.

While Rudbeckia are known and grown for their tolerance of droughty conditions, for best landscape performance, provide consistent soil moisture. Rudbeckia are considered lower maintenance plants, but deadheading fading flowers will keep the plants blooming all summer long.

Here are some recommended Rudbeckia selections for Mississippi gardens and landscapes:

Goldsturm (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’)

A large bunch of flowers with bright yellow petals and round, brown centers.

Perennial Plant of the Year, 1999

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 36 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: bright yellow

Flower size: 2½ inches

Cappuccino (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cappuccino’)

Flowers with orange petals that change to dark red toward the center cones.

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: 18 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: orange-red

Flower size: up to 4 inches

Cherokee Sunset (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’)

Flowers with orange petals that change to brownish-red toward the center cones.

All-America Selections, 2002

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 2 feet tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: variable yellow, gold, orange, brown

Flower size: up to 4 inches

Denver Daisy (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Denver Daisy’)

Flowers with yellow petals that change to mahogany red toward the center cones.

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: golden yellow and mahogany red eye

Flower size: up to 6 inches

Early Bird Gold (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Early Bird Gold’)

Several flowers with golden yellow petals and round, brown center cones.

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: 2½ inches

Cherry Brandy (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’)

Flowers with pini-red petals that change to crimson toward the center cones.

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 2 feet tall, 2 feet wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: cherry-red and crimson

Flower size: 3 inches

Goldilocks (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Goldilocks’)

Several flowers with many golden yellow petals and dark brown center cones.

Foliage color: deep green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: 6 inches; semi-double, double

Tiger Eye (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Tiger Eye’)

A bunch of flowers with many orange-gold petals and dark brown cones.

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 24 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: orange-gold

Flower size: 4 inches; semi-double

Indian Summer (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’)

A large bunch of flowers with golden yellow petals and dark brown center cones.

All-America Selections, 1995

Mississippi Medallion, 1999

Flower color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 3½ feet tall, 2 feet wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: golden yellow

Flower size: up to 9 inches

Irish Eyes (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’)

A single flower with yellow-gold petals and a bright green center cone.

Foliage color: deep green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 30 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer, fall

Flower color: yellow-gold, green center cone

Flower size: 5 inches

Prairie Sun (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’)

Flowers with bright yellow petals that change to orange toward the green center cones.

All-America Selections, 2003

Foliage color: green

Growth habit: upright

Plant size: up to 36 inches tall, 18 inches wide

Bloom period: summer

Flower color: bright yellow with primrose center, green center cone

Flower size: up to 5 inches


The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.

Publication 3506 (POD-11-23)

Reviewed by Eddie Smith, PhD, Extension Agent IV, Pearl River County, from the original by Gary R. Bachman, PhD, Extension/Research Professor (retired), Coastal Research and Extension Center.

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Authors

Portrait of Dr. Eddie Miles Louis Smith
Extension Agent IV*

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