Planting Instructions for Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan):
|Bloom Time: Summer
||Light: Full sun to part shade
|Soil: Average to loamy, well-drained
||Moisture: Average to dry
|Planting Depth: 1/2 to 1" deep, mulch lightly
||Spacing: 18 to 24"
Upon arrival: Unpack box and check that you have everything on your packing list. Bare root Rudbeckia should be dry in the bags, so if condensation has formed on the inside of the bag, open and let it air out. Plant everything within a day or two.
Soil/Location: Plant your Rudbeckia in full sun to part shade in any good, well-drained soil. Add compost or peat humus to enrich and loosen the soil if needed, but they are very adaptable to almost any soil conditions provided it dries out between watering. Remember to keep the soil light and airy for perennials, so cover them with loose soil and don't pack them in after planting.
Moisture: Rudbeckia do not require much moisture, even after they are actively growing, and they are not very tolerant of wet conditions. Early season plantings (April and May) and plants that have no foliage should be started on the dry side. During that time we like to water lightly once and then we don't water again until the foliage has started to emerge, and even then there is usually enough natural moisture to keep them going without ever needing supplemental water. During the growing season you can water if they wilt and then make sure the soil dries between watering. Black foliage and brown leaf tips are often signs of fungus which is common when plants are over watered.
Spacing: Rudbeckia spreads underground and can take up a good amount of space, so plant 18 to 24" apart or more.
Depth: Plant with the top of the crown about 1/2 to 1" below soil level so that all parts of the roots are buried. Mulch lightly after planting.
General Instructions: Amend your garden with compost or peat humus to enrich or loosen the soil, if needed, however Rudbeckia are very adaptable to any loose, well-draining soil and will thrive in a good sandy loam. Mix a couple teaspoons of garden food or bone meal into the planting hole if desired. Plant the roots as listed above, then water in once lightly. They prefer a dry start when they are dormant in spring and have no foliage. Once they are actively growing it is alright to give them supplemental water once a week or so, if needed, making sure the soil is never really wet.
Landscape Uses: Rudbeckia are great summer blooming plants for the wildflower garden, cottage garden, or mixed borders. They combine well with tall garden phlox, daylilies, Echinacea, Liatris, daisies, lilies, Salvia, Veronica, and ornamental grasses.
Most varieties will self seed freely, so they do have a tendency to spread around. Deadheading can keep them in check and will help them bloom more, however leaving the seed heads standing can provide food for birds if you don't mind the seedlings. Some varieties have a tendency to develop black spot, even in the best growing conditions. A preventive fungicide spray in early to mid summer can help keep it at bay.