Introduction to Landscaping with Black Eyed Susan


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August 19, 2023

Introduction to Landscaping with Black Eyed Susan

What is Black Eyed Susan?

A native North American species of flowering plants in the sunflower family, the Black Eyed Susan, or Rudbeckia hirta, is a staple of the summer garden. Known for its bright, daisy-like flowers with dark, button-like centers, this flower has become synonymous with summer across many parts of North America. It's a perennial that blooms from early summer right through to the first frost, often outlasting other flowers in the garden.

The Importance of Landscaping

Landscaping is more than just a method to enhance the aesthetics of an outdoor space. It's a way to create a more inviting and comfortable living environment. A well-planned and maintained landscape can increase the value of a property, reduce heating and cooling costs, and even improve the mood and health of those living around it. Adding plants, creating pathways, arranging flower beds, and incorporating structures all contribute to the overall ambiance of a property.

The Role of Perennial Plants in Landscaping

One of the key components of a successful landscape is the selection of plants, and here perennials like the Black Eyed Susan shine. Perennials are plants that live for more than two years. They bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock. Their recurring nature provides stability to your garden and reduces the need for annual replanting. Plus, with a diverse selection of perennials, you can have different plants taking the spotlight as seasons change.

The Beauty of Black Eyed Susan in Landscaping

a group of black eyed susans

The Black Eyed Susan is a prime example of a hardy perennial that rewards gardeners with vibrant, long-lasting blooms. Its radiant yellow-orange flowers, set against a dark brown-purple center, offer a stunning contrast that can liven up any garden. They can be used as an attention-grabbing focal point or to add depth and color to a mixed flower border. They're also excellent for cut flowers, so you can bring some of their sunshine indoors!

Planning Your Garden Design with Black Eyed Susan

Creating a garden design that incorporates Black Eyed Susan requires a little forethought. You need to consider the location, sun exposure, soil type, and companion plants.

Selecting the Ideal Location for Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susans are incredibly versatile. They can be planted en masse in borders or beds to create a sea of color, or placed in containers on your patio for a bright spot of summer color. They can also be used in wildflower or prairie style gardens, and even in difficult areas such as slopes for erosion control.

Considering Sun Exposure for Black Eyed Susan

Ideally, they should be planted in a spot that receives full sun for the majority of the day. However, they can also tolerate light shade, especially in hotter climates where the afternoon sun can be particularly intense.

Soil Preparation for Black Eyed Susan

In general, Black Eyed Susans aren't particularly fussy about the soil they're planted in. But like any plant, they'll do best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting will give them a good start.

Plant Care for Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susans are pretty low-maintenance, but there are a few care tips to keep them looking their best.

Watering Needs of Black Eyed Susan

While established Black Eyed Susans are quite drought-tolerant, they prefer evenly moist soil, especially during their first year of growth and during the blooming period. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply once a week during dry spells.

Fertilizer Needs of Black Eyed Susan

A slow-release granular fertilizer applied at planting time can provide the nutrients needed for the entire growing season. Alternatively, you could top-dress the soil with compost each spring.

Pruning and Maintenance of Black Eyed Susan

After the first frost in autumn, cut back the plants to about 2 inches above the ground. This helps to prevent disease and encourages strong growth in the spring.

The Blooming Period of Black Eyed Susan

One of the highlights of the Black Eyed Susan is its long blooming period, which generally stretches from June to October. This means that your garden can be graced with their cheerful blooms for almost half the year!

Maximizing Blooms of Black Eyed Susan

To get the most out of your Black Eyed Susan, consider implementing a practice called "deadheading". This is the process of removing spent blooms, which can help to prolong the blooming period and even increase the overall flower production.

Wildlife Attraction of Black Eyed Susan

Beyond their visual appeal, Black Eyed Susans are also loved by various wildlife. Their flowers provide nectar for pollinators, while their seed heads feed birds during fall and winter.

Inviting Pollinators with Black Eyed Susan

Butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects are drawn to Black Eyed Susans. The flowers are particularly loved by butterflies, making these plants an excellent choice for butterfly gardens.

Attracting Birds with Black Eyed Susan

When the blooming season is over, the seed heads of Black Eyed Susans become a food source for birds. Birds, especially finches, are known to feast on their seeds during the colder months when other food sources are scarce.


black eyed susans with other plants in a garden

Landscaping with Black Eyed Susan is a fantastic way to inject long-lasting color into your garden, attract a host of wildlife, and add a low-maintenance plant that gives back year after year. 

FAQs About Black Eyed Susans

Do Black Eyed Susans come back every year?

Yes, as a perennial plant, they return every year.

What kind of soil do Black Eyed Susans prefer?

They prefer well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. However, they're pretty adaptable and can tolerate less than ideal soil conditions.

Do Black Eyed Susans attract wildlife?

Yes, they're a magnet for various wildlife. Their nectar-rich flowers attract butterflies and bees, while their seed heads are a food source for birds in the colder months.

How often should I water my Black Eyed Susans?

While they are drought-tolerant, Black Eyed Susans prefer evenly moist soil. Watering them deeply once a week during dry spells is usually sufficient.

How long does the Black Eyed Susan bloom?

The blooming period for Black Eyed Susan is quite lengthy, typically from June to October.