There are many different rudbeckia varieties. Here in our garden we grow five different types, all with their own unique characteristics and beauty. Let me share them with you!
Rudbeckia, often referred to as Black Eyed Susans, has always been a favourite plant in our perennial garden. We always grew the more traditional yellow rudbeckia, the Black Eyed Susan with the brown/black center, and loved the bright cheery spot in the garden that it provided.
These plants are easy to grow, great for pollinators and wildlife, and are just so cheerful in appearance that they make you feel good just by being near them!
It wasn’t until we started to grow flowers for cutting that we became aware of the many different rudbeckia varieties, all of which offer a bright cheerful punch to our farmhouse bouquets.There are many different rudbeckia varieties to be grown, all with different blooms and coloration, with different bloom sizes and heights, and with different characteristics.
In this post we will describe some of the rudbeckia varieties grown our garden, descriptions and characteristics of each, and some of the reasons we love to use them in our flower bouquets.
Our rudbeckias put on their best display just as our garden comes into full bloom, approximately mid July here in Nova Scotia, Canada. Rudbeckias are influenced by the longer summer days to stimulate flowering. They bloom for about a month.
Then in the fall, we have a second though smaller flush, as the days get shorter. These later blooms are smaller and shorter, and lesser in amount than the first growth mid summer. We are able to use these flowers as well, in our fall bouquets.
Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset
Rudbeckia Hirta, also known as Black-Eyed Susan and Gloriosa Daisy
Originally grown as a hardy annual, this rudbeckia variety bloomed in the first year it was grown. However Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset is actually a tender perennial, and it returned the next year to our zone 5 garden in fine style, with many more blooms and fuller and larger plants than produced that first year.
This rudbeckia variety is an AAS (All-America Selections) Winner, which means it’s an excellent garden performer.
The blooms on these plants were very large and striking. I believe I bought the Cherokee Sunset mix from Johnny’s Seeds, which had a mixture of mainly double blooms in a variety of colors, ranging from golden yellow to bronze, some with a deep wine eye.
Many of the blooms of Cherokee Sunset were over 5” in diameter, and they had been planted in garden beds amended with lots of organic compost.This plant also tolerates being planted in poor soil types. Height of the flower stems was at least 30” in our garden.
The blooms had strong sturdy stems for our bouquets. Best harvesting technique is to harvest before the blooms are completely open, for fresh bouquets. If harvesting to dry and use for everlasting work, harvest when fully open.
Rudbeckia stems can make the water in the vase murky in color. It’s important to change the water in the vase daily. You can also add a drop of bleach to the water, or add CVB tablets if accessible.
Rudbeckia Chim Chiminee
Rudbeckia Hirta, also known as Black-Eyed Susan and Gloriosa Daisy
Rudbeckia Chim Chiminee is one of my favourite rudbeckias, just because of the unique style of the flowers, with it’s multiple thin petals on the double bloom and the impact of this unique flower in the farmhouse bouquet.
These plants as well are considered tender perennials, however have survived overwintering so far in our zone 5 harbour-side gardens. I’ll be planting this again this summer, to ensure that I will have a steady supply of this flower!
The blooms of Rudbeckia Chim Chiminee are mainly shades of yellow and gold, along with some muted shades of orange and browns.
On some blooms the individual petals curled in on themselves lengthwise, giving them a whimsical appearance.
Blooms were approximately 4”-6” in diameter. Plant height was approximately 30”. When harvesting these blooms for a fresh bouquet, harvest before they are fully open. If harvesting for drying, harvest when fully open.
Rudbeckia Hirta, also known as Black-eyed Susan and Gloriosa Daisy
Rudbeckia Sahara, such an old fashioned and vintage looking flower. It makes a nice impact in the farmhouse bouquets. Such a beauty!
This plant is listed as an annual on the seed packet we purchased, and therefore this is how we initially grew it in our garden. However it as well has returned the following year to our zone 5 garden, so we will be treating it as a tender perennial for now.
The second year of growth gave us plants that were larger and fuller than in their first year. They started to bloom in earnest by mid July, and continued for the next month, then were done by about mid August. A second smaller flush occurred in September.
We had a large variety of colors in our Rudbeckia Sahara grouping. There were muted shades of pink and plum, copper and yellow, bicolors and tricolours, doubles and semi doubles.
Bloom diameters were a bit smaller than the other rudbeckias, approximately 2”-3.5” . The stem height was also shorter, at approximately 22”.
Harvest the blooms before they are completely open for fresh bouquets. If harvesting to dry, make sure that the blooms are fully open.
Rudbeckia Indian Summer
Rudbeckia Hirta, also known as Black-eyed Susan and Gloriosa Daisy.
Rudbeckia Indian Summer is a single yellow Rudbeckia with large blooms and a faint orange eye zone.
This rudbeckia is a tender perennial which we have successfully grown here, as a perennial, in our zone 5 garden.
Another AAS winner, it is a beautiful specimen for cut flowers and bouquets.
The large blooms of Rudbeckia Indian summer are approximately 4”-7” in diameter. Height of the strong sturdy stems is 36” – 42” high.
These blooms as well can be harvested for fresh arrangements or for drying.
Rudbeckia Triloba, also known as Brown-eyed Susan
This is one of my favourite bouquet fillers, when in season. We use the foliage of rudbeckia triloba even before the blooms open, as a filler in bouquets. It is light and airy and adds a nice airy touch to the bouquets.
The tiny blooms are 1.5”-2.5”, bright yellow and dainty. The blooms make a wonderful accent flower in bouquets.
The plant itself was very tall in our garden, and can grow 48” to 60”. It was at least 60”plus in our garden, and we harvested off it all season.
Harvest when blooms are fully opened if harvesting for the flower.As mentioned, it can also be harvested just for the foliage as well, and can be used as a wonderful filler. In this case, harvest before the blooms open.
Rudbeckia Triloba is a short lived perennial. It is a native and hardy US wildflower.
An interesting note about this plant is that it’s name is derived from the shape of it’s leaves at the base of the plant. which have three (tri)lobes.
Planning to plant much more of this rudbeckia this coming summer.
Rudbeckia Prairie Sun
Rudbeckia Prairie Sun is another outstanding and award winning rudbeckia. Another AAS winner, it is truly outstanding both in the garden and in the vase.
It is a tender perennial, and has survived out zone 5 winter. We have been so fortunate! The second year clump was large and healthy, and put on a wonderful show.
As with other rudbeckias, this plant is heat loving, drought tolerant, and likes full sun, (although was planted in an area with dappled shade).
A unique characteristic of this rudbeckia is it’s lime green eye, surrounded by a striking orange eye zone and bright yellow petals.
Blooms were about 6” for us and height approximately 32”. It was outstanding in our farmhouse bouquets, paired well with annuals and green foliage! I loved to offset the green eye on this rudbeckia with green hues from surrounding flowers.
In conclusion, I would have to say that I have definitely enjoyed growing these different rudbeckia varieties in our garden, and will continue to grow them on, most likely adding to the varieties as time goes on.
Since they are known to be tender perennials, I do not expect them to be long lived in the garden, perhaps a couple of years or so. Therefore I will be planting more!
Rudbeckias are also known to self seed readily, and we have left the seed pods on the plants over winter, so likely will have some self seeded starts as well.
Fortunately rudbeckias are also very easy to collect seed from, and I have collected some seeds from each variety last season to use in the plantings. They are currently in the chiller for stratification, and hopefully we will have good germination, and many more patches of rudbeckia for years to come.
Have you grown different rudbeckia varieties in your garden? Be sure to leave a comment below to share your favourites!