The show opens with Rudbeckia fulgida– the species name means ‘shining’ – and it’s a shining example of a lovely early summer flower. Its bright rays are arranged in a single row, and leaves are serrated. It is rhizomatous, spreads rapidly, and can be propagated by division or by seed. Cultivars of fulgida are the most frequently sold at garden centers–’Goldsturm’ is a popular choice.
Next comes Rudbeckia hirta (‘hairy’), with its rounder, hairy leaves and stems. This branching self-seeder appears in mid-summer through fall–”Indian Summer’ is a common cultivar.
Rounding out our trio, Rudbeckia triloba is also known as brown-eyed Susan due to its purplish-brown centers, and blooms late summer through fall. As the name indicates, the leaves often have three lobes, and the rosette of leaves that originates at the base of the stem persists through the winter, creating an attractive winter ground cover.
Whether you choose just one species or several, robust Rudbeckia is a ‘don’t- miss’ selection for the pollinator garden!