Rudbeckia fulgida

Rudbeckia fulgida, commonly known as Orange Coneflower or Prairie Coneflower, actually has yellow petals and includes the popular 'Goldstrum' variety.

Rudbeckia is a genus made up of 23 species, commonly known as Black-eyed Susans, Brown-eyed Susans, or Gloriosa Daisy (annual or biennial).  Rudbeckia may be annuals, biennials or perennials, all of which are native to the meadowlands and woodlands of North America.  Ruedbeckia blooms are typically daisy like flowers, sometimes with slightly reflexed (dropping_ petals and a prominent cone (center).  The flower petals of the Rudbeckia are often some shade of yellow and dark or black contrasting center.

(Note:  Purple Coneflower is an Echinacea purpurea.  Echinacea and Rudbeckia are two entirely different genus.  Coneflower are Rudbeckia genus.)

Rudbeckia fulgida are easy to grow, virtually pest free and wonderful in fresh flower arrangements.  Rudbeckia are an excellent perennial for sunny gardens but will bloom fairly well in part shade.  They are adaptable to clay soils and are very tolerant of poor soil, drought and neglect.  They are very tolerant of heat and humidity, but prefer some supplemental water in periods of extended drought.  Blooming will also be improved when supplied with adequate water as well as full sun.  In the hotter regions Rudbeckia coneflower will appreciate some afternoon shade and are quite happy with part shade.  Rudbeckia fulgida are a true perennial and some will live as long as 15 years.  Typically fulgida do not spread aggressively ad they rearely come up true from seed.  Diligent deadheading will prevent self seeding and will also encourage additional blooming.  If you prefer to leave the last blooms of autumn to go to seed, you will enjoy not only interesting seed cones through winter but also the birds that enjoy the seeds.  Plants should be propagated by division and are best purchased as bedding plants, as seeds of the hybrids are unreliable in producing a true plant.  Rudbeckia plants that become taller or bushier than desired can be cut back to about 6" to generate fresh growth.

Rudbeckia fulgida species plants are not readily available in nurseries but are commonly sold as seed.  However the popular varieties such as 'Goldsturm' are widely available as bedding plants.  Rudbeckia fulgida are moderately "hairy" as compared to the hirta species, and with finer hairs.  They are quite similar in appearance but fulgida normally blooms a bit later.  A short lived perennial, the species is knonw to self seed womewhat aggressively but seeding can be minimized by deadheading faded flowers.  Fulgida means shining, no one is quite sure if that refers to shining flower color, foliage or black seeds.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' by Pris Sears.jpg
  • Common Name:  Brown-eyed Susan, Three-lobed Coneflower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial / bienniel
  • Height:  2-3'
  • Spread:  1-2'
  • Sun / Shade Requirements:  Full Sun
  • Water Requirements:  Medium, will tolerate short periods of drought
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, well drained. prefers organically rich moist soil but is adaptable to clay soil that is improved with soil conditioners.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright clumps, well branched
  • Bloom Color:  Yellow
  • Bloom Form:  Daisy like petals with dark brown center
  • Foliage:  Rough textured thin lobes are medium to dark green and slightly hairy
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to leaf spot and somewhat susceptible to podery mildew.
  • Fertilize:  Work a slow release balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting, or apply a water soluble fertilizer every few weeks
  • Maintenance:  Deadhead to encourage blooming and to minimize self seeding.  Cut back to the ground in late winter, cut back in spring to allow seeding.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and birds
  • Hardiness:  Zone 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Rudbeckia Fulgida 'Goldsturm by Christian Fischer.jpg

'Goldsturm' is arguably the most widely grown of the Rudbeckia, thriving in weather extremes from coast to coast and north to south.  The large blooms reach 3-4" in diameter in a vivd golden yellow with a deep brown center disk.  The flowers are borne singly on strong branced stems from June or July through September or October.  Great numbers of flowers are produced in masses supplying plenty for cut arrangements.  'Goldsturm' is a very low maintenance and easy to grow Rudbeckia.  It will grow very well in average soil with dry to average moisture but will prefer moist soil.  'Goldsturm' will prefer a well drained soil but adapts quite readily to clay soil if it is not soggy.  Hot and humid conditions won't bother 'Goldsturm' and it will tolerate short periods of drought but prefers supplemental watering.  Light shade is tolerated, especially in the afternoon in hot regions, but it will perform best in full sun.  Deadheading will encourage reblooming for longer periods and reduce self seeding.  To attract birds through winter and encourage seeding, leave the final fall flower heads to develop seed ones.

This is not a short lived perennial or biennial, but plants grown in the cold regions zones 3 and perhaps 4 may not be as long lived.  The plant will spread by underground rhizomes but not rapidly, so decision to thin or contain the plant should only be necessary every 3-5 years or more in late fall or very early spring.  This particular cultivar is unfortunately susceptible to a leaf spot that can spread to blacken the leaves from the bottom of the plant moving upward.  Be careful when you purchase 'Goldsturm' as some nurseries will sell seed grown 'Goldsturm', which are not the true cultivar.  'Goldsturm' will not grow true from seed and must be propagated by division or cuttings.  'Goldsturm' grown from seed may be taller, larger, spread more aggressively and the stems will not be strong.  A true 'Goldsturm' should remain shorter than most Rudbeckia and compact.  This Rudbeckia naturalizes well and is stunning when grown in large drifts.  Use 'Goldsturm' to create bold groupings in your perennial gardens, cottage gardens or as an accent plant.  Rudbeckia are long lasting as cut flowers.  You may also find 'Goldsturm' marketed as 'Goldsteinii', 'Yellow Storm' or var. deamii 'Goldsturm'.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii

  • Common Name:  Brown-eyed Susan, Three-lobed Coneflower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  18-24"
  • Spread:  12"
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Medium, will tolerate short periods of drought
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, well drained, prefers organically rich moist soil but is adaptable to clay soil that is improved with soil conditioners.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright clumps, well branched
  • Bloom Time:  July through September
  • Bloom Color:  Yellow
  • Bloom Form:  Daisy like petals with dark brown center
  • Foliage:  Rough textured tin lobes are medium to dark green and slightly hairy
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to leaf spot and somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.
  • Fertilize:  Work a slow release balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting, or apply a water soluble fertilizer every few weeks.
  • Maintenance:  Deadhead to encourage blooming and to minimize self seeding.  Cut back to the ground in late winter, cut back in spring to allow seeding.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and birds, deer and rabbit resistant.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii

  • Common Name:  Brown eyed Susan, Three lobed Coneflower
  • Plant Typ-e:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  18-24" 
  • Spread:  12"
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Medium, will tolerate short periods of drought
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, well drained, prefers organically rich moist soil but is adaptable to clay soil that is improved with soil conditioners.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright clumps, well branched
  • Bloom Time:  July through September
  • Bloom Color:  Yellow
  • Bloom Form:  Daisy like petals with dark brown center
  • Foliage:  Rough textured thin lobes are medium to dark green and slightly hairy
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to leaf spot and somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.
  • Fertilize:  Work a slow release balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting, or apply a water soluble fertilizer every few weeks.
  • Maintenance:  Deadhead to encourage blooming and to minimize self seeding.  Cut back to the ground in late winter, cut back in spring to allow seedling.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and birds, deer and rabbit resistant.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciose 'Viette's Little Suzy'

Rudbeckia fulgida Viets Little Suzy by Penn State News.jpg
  • Common name:  Brown-eyed Susan, Three-lobed Coneflower
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  18-24"
  • Spread:  12"
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full Sun
  • Water Requirements:  Medium, will tolerate short periods of drought
  • Soil Requirements:  Average, well drained, prefers organically rich moist soil but is adaptable to clay soil that is improved with soil conditioners.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright clumps, well branched
  • Bloom Time:  July through September
  • Bloom Color:  Yellow
  • Bloom Form:  Daisy like petals with dark brown center
  • Foliage:  Rough textured thin lobes are medium to dark green and slightly hairy
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to leaf spot and somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew
  • Fertilize:  Work a slow release balanced fertilizer into the soil before planting, or apply a water soluble fertilizer every few weeks.
  • Maintenance:  Deadhead to encourage blooming and to minimize self seeding.  But ack to the ground in late winter, cut back in spring to allow seeding.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and birds, deer and rabbit resistant.  Very tolerant of urban pollution
  • Hardiness:  Zone 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

'Viette's Little Suzy' is a nicely compact Rudbeckia.  The bright yellow daisy like flowers have a dark brown-purple center and are borne on strong stems.  A free bloomer, the flower production is prolific from mid summer through fall.  The flowers are a bit smaller than most of the large Rudbeckia, but the sheer number of blooms makes up for the smaller size.  'Viette's Little Suzy' prefers a nice rich soil but is perfectly happy in average soil with average moisture.  Short dry periods will not bother the plant but will appreciate some supplemental water in more serious drought conditions.  Heat and humidity will also not affect performance of 'Viette's Little Suzy'.  Spent flowers should be deadheaded to encourage continuous blooming, but you may want to leave the last blooms to develop seed for the birds oer winter.  In late autumn the green foliage turns to mahogany.  Divide in early spring to propagate the plant, thin or contain spread.  'Viette's Little Suzy' does not spread aggressively so it should not be necessary to divide frequently, every 4 or 5 years or more should be expected.  Self seeded plant may not come up true, the plant propagates by underground runners.  'Viette's Little Suzy' is a true perennial and under ideal conditions can be expected to live a long as 15 years.

Rudbeckia are stars of the midsummer and early fall garden ad 'Viette's Little Suzy is no exception.  Summer's heat and humidity are no problem.  'Viette's Little Suzy' is a dwarf variety, excellent for the front of the border or smaller gardens.  You can use this compact perennial in a number of areas that full size of 'Goldsturm'.  Try it in large drifts to create a vibrant statement, in containers, as a specimen plant or ecen in rain gardens.  'Viette's Little Suzy' is long lasting as a cut flower.