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Black-Eyed Susan (c) Cheryl Shanahan

Ahhhh…..another staple in my summer garden. I love Black-Eyed Susan – not only because of its ability to thrive on my neglect – but because it won’t melt, no matter how devilishly hot it gets outside in July and August!

In preparation for this posting, I wondered how the flower earned its name (who is this Susan chick, anyway?) and stumbled upon an amazing online article about Black-Eyed Susan, which has information not only about the origin of its name, but the origin of its Latin name, Rudbeckia. Simply fascinating story; take the time to click and read.

This pretty wildflower is native to North America, and while it’s pretty adaptable to many soil conditions, it prefers moist, well-drained soil (if you were a plant, wouldn’t you?!). Like the daisies, this flower has a spreading tendency. It’s not as aggressive as something like oregano or mint, but if it’s happy, it will take off. You can always divide it and redistribute to another part of your garden or pass along to a friend.

Supposedly rabbits like to munch on Black-Eyed Susan, but our Northside bunnies have never touched our plants. Butterflies also like it. As much as I hate the ragged look of the spent flowers at the end of fall, I leave the seed heads intact for the birds’ dining pleasure.

What Black-Eyed Susan Likes:

  • Full sun
  • Moist, well-drained soil – but it will adapt to drier or wetter conditions
  • To be divided every 3-4 years. If they get too crowded, you’ll get smaller plants with fewer flowers
  • A little bit of fertilizer makes them bloom a bit more vigorously (me? again: Queen of Neglect here. I don’t do anything other than spread some compost and mulch on them annually)