GROWING AND SAVING THE SEED OF RUDBECKIA
Latin name Rudbeckia, this family of flowers is known as black-eyed susans. The genus includes some species like Rudbeckia hirta that are annual, and some perennial species like Rudbeckia fulgida. The variety description will indicate the species and whether it is annual or perennial. All members of the Rudbeckia genus are Native American wildflowers with a long blooming season. Their large disk and ray-type flower heads are extremely attractive to a host of native pollinators. Black-eyed susans come in a range of colors and petal arrangements, from cherry-red to rust, extending beyond the typical yellow petals with black eye.
Native to the prairies and woodlands of North America. Historically rudbeckia has been used in a number of traditional Native American remedies, typically in the form of topical poultices.
- Beds, borders, containers, cottage garden, xeriscaping, drought-tolerant plantings, wildflower meadows, native wildflower garden, pollinator garden
- Seeds germinate in 7-21 days.
- Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date, carefully transplanting out after last frost.
- Alternatively, you can direct sow seeds at or just before average last frost date.
- Surface sow and lightly press seeds into soil as light aids germination.
- Ideal germination temperature is 68-72 F.
- Plants prefer full sun but will tolerate light shade.
- Drought tolerant once established.
- Tolerant of a range of soil types, but they prefer well-drained soil.
- Plant height will vary depending on variety, but plants typically range from 2-3 feet tall.
- Space plants 12-18 inches apart.
- Deadhead to encourage continued blooming.
- A few fungal diseases can affect your rudbeckia plants if they are planted too closely together and air flow is restricted. Avoid this by spacing plants adequately.
- Overhead irrigation can exacerbate fungal issues.
- Sedges can be an alternate host for rust in rudbeckia, so do not plant members of the Carex species near rudbeckia.
- Allow the flowerhead containing the seeds to mature and dry completely on the plant, then clip off the flowerhead and place in a container.
- Working over the top of another clean, opened container, rub the flowerheads between the palms, breaking them apart.
- The small, blackish seeds can be separated from the chaff by first screening and then winnowing.