Five Minutes with Susan in the Garden

I have a lot of Blackeyed Susans (Rudbeckia Hirta) in my garden. The bright yellow flowers with the dark centers are cheery in the pollinator garden and sprinkled a few other places where they appeared on their own. They can be prolific since they spread by roots as well as by seed. Come spring you can divide them up to share or just add them to other areas of your garden.

Attractive to beneficial spiders

Our own Donna Donabella considers her local species of them one of the workhorses at her place. Fellow writer Ellen Sousa gives them a thumbs up because they last through fall, feeding not only pollinators but also birds. Since birds eat the seeds, they often get planted with birdies’ automatic fertilizer system along fence lines and under trees. Outside the garden, they also make a long lasting cut flower.


spittlebugs (on stems) don't do any lasting damage and birds eat the nymphs

While out in my yard photographing nature as I do most days, I hovered over the pollinator section in the back section of my yard. As I clicked away, I didn’t think much about it, concentrating on capturing a shot when an insect stayed still long enough. As I sat down to crop the pictures, I noticed that the majority of these photos were of insects on Blackeyed Susans.

Talk about love of blackeyed susans!

They certainly can draw a crowd. Now depending on where you live, some species of Rudbeckia are called coneflowers, others Browneyed Susans. There is a native variety in nearly every U.S. State, so get out there and add this beauty to your beautiful wildlife garden. Pollinators and other visitors everywhere will thank you.

a favorite with butterflies such as this crescent

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    • says

      Thanks Kathy!

      The Santa Monica Mtns provide so many other beautiful plants that I am so jealous of, that not being able to have this genus certainly wont prove too much of a disappointment. We in the moist sections of the country have to have SOMETHING to call our own HA! ;)
      Loret recently posted..Green, More than the Color of Money

    • says

      A pleasure Donna!

      You always provide really great info worth passing on. To me, it seems that the insects are attracted more often at certain times of the year and then seem to stay away. I’m trying to pay closer attention to see if there is a pattern. Stay tuned!
      Loret recently posted..Green, More than the Color of Money

  1. Carole says

    I had similar thoughts today while photographing insects on my BESs. I threw a flower head out the back door a few years ago. When I noticed a BES in bud the next year I asked my husband not to mow it until it finished blooming (which turned out to be until fall). The plants have spread until there is only a narrow opening to get down the stairs. Maybe I’ll move them next spring.

    • says

      I’ll bet your hubby wishes you’d toss the spent heads around more sections that might need mowing ;)

      I’ll bet it just looks beautiful with just a small path. I’m contemplating moving some to align along a back pathway. I should probably just follow your lead and toss some seedheads there rather than trying to dig some up.
      Loret recently posted..Green, More than the Color of Money

  2. Regina says

    Interesting that I would read this post this morning. Yesterday afternoon, I removed some black eyed susans from a deck planter which has harbored these flowers and their attractive insect friends for more than a decade. I, of course, took the opportunity to spread the seed heads around my “estate” for some future enjoyment. I moved a few small plants last week but I find that it’s often hit or miss with the transfer even when done during the rain. I wish they’d prefer to come up in the flower beds rather than my small section of lawn but you can’t beat black eyed susans any place in the yardscape. And, for the month of May, I have even been enjoying them in the house on my calendar which I’ve created with my backyard photography.

    • says

      Hello Sister,

      Get rid of that lawn! Let susan have free run! Maybe she’ll creep her way over to that shaded area that you always have such a time getting anything to grow ;) Or did you lose the shade when you lost the tree?

      I’m more jealous of your ability to grow purple coneflowers with abandon….they are a tough go down here, even considered threatened in FL.
      Loret T. Setters recently posted..Green, More than the Color of Money

  3. Bob says

    Rudbeckia are great plants to grow…and folks need to grow more types than just “hirta”; here in Central Illinois, I have R. hirta, triloba, fulgida, subtomentosa, laciniata…

    Since they bloom at different times, they extend color across much of summer and fall. Triloba is aggressive, but pretty, and easily pulled. Laciniata is TALL, and fairly aggressive… a “back of the yard” plant (it’s actually a floodplain flower…great in wet areas). I think ‘fulgida’ and ‘subtomentosa’ are great, and considerably better looking than ‘hirta’.


  1. […] Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), a favorite seed producer for birds showed the head of sunshine coloring that it is so famous for.  It was a bright surprise peaking out from between some bunch grasses this week. […]

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