Black-eyed Susans delight in shades of yellow, orange and gold colors with a black center, or “eye”. A native plant of Tennessee, they are a popular addition to the water-wise garden. With flowers that are 2 to 3 inches across, and grow on long stems 2 to 3 feet in height, they make excellent cut flowers for vases and arrangements.
Black-eyed Susans are biennial, which means they live for two years. But in those two years, they attract butterflies and bees that drink the floral nectar, in the process moving pollen from one plant to another, allowing the plant to grow fruits and seeds which travel by wind and re-seed themselves.
Blooming from June to October, Black-eyed Susans are known as a pioneer plant; they are one of the first plants to grow in a new field. Amidst the devastation of a forest fire, these bright beacons of hope will be the first signs of new life.
When planting them in your garden, space them approximately one foot apart, and plant in a clumping form. They will tolerate crowding, and do well in any kind of soil. Drought-tolerant, they will forgive neglect; however, if you pamper them a little by adding a little fertilizer a couple of times a season, they will reward you with bigger, healthier plants and flowers. Plant them with purple coneflowers, Russian sage, and lilacs for visual punch. The giant variety is a natural fit to be plated alongside cosmos, daisies, penstemons, tall cannas, coreopsis, and as background accent plants around larger plantings. To get more out of them, break up dried flowers and sprinkle them in your beds to reseed them.
Black Eyed Susans will make a great, low maintenance addition to your garden, providing color and attracting pollinators to your garden.