• IvyShepherd

Rudbeckias of the prairie

A spotlight on the coneflower

A plant of the prairie, rudbeckias truly come into their own at this time of year.

Flowering now through late summer into autumn, they produce masses of colourful blooms and are very striking when planted en masse in beds and borders.

Rudbeckias, sometimes known as the coneflower or Black-eyed Susans, can be grown as annuals, biennials or perennials. Instantly recognisable in bright yellow, due to their recent popularity, many more colours and varieties are now becoming available.

They love full sun, but can tolerate some light shade. When planting, be sure to dig in lots of organic matter. This not only provides the richness, but it will also hold plenty of moisture, as they do not like to dry out.

The coneflower is at home in many different garden situations. In beds and borders, they bring the essence of the prairie, but they will also do well in a sunny courtyard, a patio or why not try growing the smaller varieties in pots and containers for a sunny autumn display.

Once flowered, deadhead the blooms to encourage more buds to flower. Once completely flowered, consider leaving the round seedheads over winter. They will not only provide winter interest in the garden, but they will also provide food and shelter to wildlife.

The most well-known variety has to be ‘Goldsturm’, growing to almost a metre tall and producing prolific blooms throughout late summer. But also look to the ‘Toto’ series and ‘Little Goldstar’ for a more compact variety and the lemon yellow of ‘Prairie Sun’ is just delightful.

Rudbeckias pair well with many other plants, particularly in a drifting, informal planting scheme. But they look stunning when planted amongst echinacea, persicaria and the blues of asters.

Warm and inviting, rudbeckias will add colour and beauty to your garden when many other plants are finishing their season. They are low maintenance, easy to grow and will attract an array of butterflies.

You really can’t go wrong with a rudbeckia.

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