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Black-eyed Susans

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Black-Eyed Susan in our yard with a tiny bee on it.

Credit: Sue Day
Your rating: None Average: 4.1 of 5 (69 votes)

Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta and other species

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Flower color: Red, Orange, Yellow

Bloom time: Summer, Fall

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America and one of the most popular wildflowers grown. They tend to blanket open fields, often surprising the passer-by with their golden-yellow beauty.

Members of the sunflower family, the "black eye" is named for the dark brown-purple centers of its daisy-like flower heads. The plants can grow to over 3 feet tall, with leaves of 6 inches, stalks over 8 inches long and flower diameter of 2 to 3 inches.

Butterflies, bees and a variety of insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar. As they drink the nectar, they move pollen from one plant to another, causing it to grow fruits and seeds that can move about easily with the wind.

These plants bloom from June to October. Note that they can be territorial in that they tend to squash out other flowers growing near them.

Black-eyed Susans are good for cut flowers; they also work well for borders or in containers.


  • Black-eyed Susans when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination. In many parts of North America, the planting period is March to May. The flower will flower June to September. Germination takes 7 to 30 days.
  • Plant seeds in moist, well-drained soil.
  • These hearty flowers really enjoy the Sun. They prefer full sun, though they'll grow in partial sun.
  • Sow by seed in loosely covered soil.
  • It's best if soil is fertile (not poor) though they can tolerate tough conditions.
  • Black-eyed Susans generally grow between 1 and 3 feet tall (though they can grow taller) and can spread between 12 to 18 inches, so plant seeds closer to prevent lots of spreading or plant further apart to make a nice border.


  • Check your plants regularly to see if they need watering. Make sure they don't dry out.
  • Divide perennial types every 3 to 4 years to ensure healthy plants and to prevent excessive spreading.
  • Be sure to remove faded/dead flowers to prolong blooming.
  • You can cut back black-eyed Susans after they flower and a second, smaller bloom may occur in late fall.


  •  These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew fungi, so begin an organic antifungal program if the lower leaves turn brown and twisted.
  • Slugs and snails
  • Aphids
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Smut
  • Leaf spots


After the first season, black-eyed susans can reseed themselves!

Recommended Varieties

  • Becky Mixed, which offers a variety of colors for your garden, such as lemon-yellow, golden-yellow, dark red, and reddish-brown.
  • Sonora, which has bright yellow flowers.
  • Toto, which is a dwarf type and ideal for containers.

Special Features

  • Attracts Butterflies


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good evening i was wondering

By hazelnutt196339 on September 2

good evening i was wondering if you can take the dead heads dry them out and have seeds to restart black eyed susans in an another area in your yard......

You can certainly try it—or

By Almanac Staff on September 3

You can certainly try it—or you could, because black-eyed Susans self-sow, you could transplant one of your existing plants into the new area and let it do the job for you . . . over time. That's one consideration: you would need to go through a couple of seasons to get results.
So try saving and then sowing the seed. Let us know how that goes for you. (We'll still be here!)

I live in Northern Ohio. When

By David Edwin Smith on August 23

I live in Northern Ohio. When is the best time to to transplant BES from pot to the soil! They are currently in bloom.

Transplant the flowers in the

By Almanac Staff on August 26

Transplant the flowers in the fall before the ground freezes. You can put them in the ground anytime after labor day. Put some mulch around the plants to protect the roots.

Can you plant BES seeds in

By long Island Sue on August 17

Can you plant BES seeds in the Fall on Long Island? When is the best time(date) and will they bloom next year?


Black-eyed Susans need to be

By Almanac Staff on August 18

Black-eyed Susans need to be planted in the spring when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination.

I just potted BES w golden

By AngelaM2015

I just potted BES w golden creeping jenny. When winter comes, I'd like to take them inside. I've heard that the jenny can do well inside, but should I cut the BES down when I take the pot in, or will they continue to grow? Any special instructions when I take them in for the winter?

Hello, hoping you can provide

By Anonymous

Hello, hoping you can provide some insight. We recently moved to a single family home and my landscaper planted a row of BES seeds for us in mid april. So far i see nothing at all. How long before i should see some sprouts? Does it normally take so long for BES? Sadly i am someone who is not knowledgeable about gardening at all.
Thank you!

It is likely the seeds didn't

By Almanac Staff

It is likely the seeds didn't take or were eaten by something. Germination takes 7 to 30 days. Black-eyed Susan seeds should be planted when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination. If the weather where you are was like where we are, it was June before we had temps that high this year!  

I have large landscaped bank,

By Sheri Cialfi

I have large landscaped bank, over 3 years ago we had it professionally landscaped which included a large amount of BES, they bloomed each year and grew in size. This year none of the black eyed susan's came up through the entire bank, other flowers bloomed but none of the BES? Some leaves came up but nothing else? I don't know if they are dead for next year and if I need to replant or if there was reason none of them came up? Help. I live in CT and we had a lot of snow, some say that may have been the reason but everything else came up? Help. I am not sure if I need to replant all new ones next year?

Black eyed Susans are

By Almanac Staff

Black eyed Susans are biennial plants. The first year they grow the leaves and the second year they bloom, self seed, and die. You may have cut off the flowers last year before they had a chance to reseed.

I have a clump of perennial

By Wisconsin gardner

I have a clump of perennial BES - not sure if it is from roots or reseeding. The variety is native to WI, blooms in August, currently about 2 ft tall. Is it OK to divide now ( late June / early July )?

Also, I have some seeds harvested last fall, over wintered in the refrigerator, is it too late to plant?

I planted 2 small BES

By Kayla Malikowski

I planted 2 small BES seedlings in May in a 12" pot. They have really shot up and seem to be flourishing although no blooms yet. Should I separate them, or will they live happily together in the same pot until next year? Should I be pruning them in some way?

BES want to run and spread

By Almanac Staff

BES want to run and spread and live life to the fullest. In a container, they will end up pot bound: Their roots will grow in a tight circle around the inside of the container and the seedling will remain stunted. Plant them outside, in the sun. However, if that's not possible, at least give the a bigger pot. And next year or maybe in two years, plan to repot them again. Or free them into the ground.

Hi, the landscaper cut my BES

By MJ Thomas

Hi, the landscaper cut my BES the other day, there are still a couple leaves left, is there any chance of them coming back and flowering this year?

I transplanted BES last fall

By Linda P.

I transplanted BES last fall (North GA) and they have come up, I think, but the stems are more like smoothe stalks with vertical ridges, very large and they have not bloomed as of June 10. I'm beginning to wonder if they are indeed BES. I have seen beautiful beds of BES this year and they don't have these huge stalks. Also, they are all over the 25 ft. bed and I only planted them at one end. The tops of one 2-foot plant have shriveled leaves. Have I been nurturing a weed?

The plant I dug up from another part of my yard did not have this huge stalk. The leaves look like BES.

Hi Linda, Here are some

By Almanac Staff

Hi Linda,
Here are some photos of BS. Compare your stalks to the ones in the photos.
BS is a biennial and doesn't bloom every year. It does reseed itself. So after a few years you will have blooms every year.

I live in North Dakota and

By Anonymous

I live in North Dakota and got 2 black-eyed susans from a greenhouse. They were already a few inches tall and flowering when I brought them home. I've had them outside for a few weeks now. The flowers that were on it are gone and there aren't any new ones. I have had it in a spot that gets full sun. What am I doing wrong? This is the third time I've tried black-eyed susans and I can't seem to get them to thrive. Also, would they be considered annual or perennial this far north? Thanks!

There are many varieties of

By Almanac Staff

There are many varieties of black-eyed susans and they can be perennial, bennial, or annual. Wild Black-eyed Susans definitely grow out in some of your ND meadows and will reseed themselves. Some types of BES bought in the garden center are annuals. You need to ask.
As you said, they love sun. One thought: Black-eyed susans are fairly drought-tolerant plants so they don't like their "legs" wet. Do not water too often; let their soil dry out and then water deeply. When your black-eyed susan flower fades, deadhead it so that creates new blooms instead of going dormant too quickly to take a rest.

Every year my black eyed

By cwkw

Every year my black eyed Susan gets chewed up by something that makes the leaves look like a web like skeleton of a leaf with little black dots in them. This spreads and wipes out all the plants. What can I do to keep this from happening?

This may be a fungus that

By Almanac Staff

This may be a fungus that overwinters on the plant. This web site provides pictures (perhaps you can identify one that looks like your plants) with causes and advice:

I live in Phoenix, AZ and

By Chrissb

I live in Phoenix, AZ and yesterday I noticed two baby caterpillars "eating" the flower on one of my Black Eyed Susan's. It's the weirdest thing...they aren't chewing on the petals or leaves, just the flower cone. Any idea what moth or butterfly it might be? I have no intentions of stopping them as I have an organic garden and I garden for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, I'm just curious.

Good for you for thinking

By Almanac Staff

Good for you for thinking about the ecosystem. The caterpillars are probably future Painted Ladies (butterflies)--very precious pollinators. They're loading up on food before they transform into winged beauties. Of course, they'll munch big time on your pretty plants. One idea is to try to transfer them over to some fennel or parsley plants. 

Hi, I just planted a

By Kimberley.Roy

Hi, I just planted a Rudbeckia hirta 2 weeks ago... I just noticed this weekend that something has taken the leaves off and the is a 1-1.5 inch fuzzy stem left... Will the plant be ok still?

Thanks...I've got parsley! I

By Chrissb

Thanks...I've got parsley! I just have to save them before my crab spiders get to them!

I live in Laramie,Wy. The

By John Hursh

I live in Laramie,Wy. The altitude is 7200 ft. with very cold winters. I have planted Black Eyed Susans from local nursery stock every year for three years and all have winter killed. Is there a variety suited for this type of climate? I notice that the plants grow wild all over this area. Any ideas as it is the colors of the University of Wyoming located here and I would like to get them established. Thanks.

Hi John, 'Goldstrum' is

By Almanac Staff

Hi John,
'Goldstrum' is similar to the wild species. It blooms for a long period of time and is hardy to zone 3. 'Indian Summer' has large (8" wide) blooms and is also winter hardy.

Hello, Got some BIS growing

By Roberto Orellana


Got some BIS growing beautyfull and green, they are bigger then last year. I don't know if they are going to bloom because they are in a shaded area. It is mid may in Virginia beach. Do you think they arw going to bloom??

Thanks. I will give them a

By John Hursh

Thanks. I will give them a try. Let you know next spring how they did.

My BIS were beautiful last

By Anita Hogan

My BIS were beautiful last year,( first year). They are starting to put on flowers but the centers and petals seem to be green! Have you ever seen this? Do the plants need some nutrients or is it too early to panic? May in Louisiana

I live in upstate NY. I

By Marilyn Van

I live in upstate NY. I planted black eyed Susan's in a large container last spring. The plant bloomed all summer. I don't see any signs of it coming back this spring. Will these plants survive in containers over the winter?

Some varieties are annul and

By Almanac Staff

Some varieties are annul and other varieties are perennials. Plus, folks have mixed results in general.
Also, make sure you don't cut the foliage after the flower blooms; that's how it develops blooms for the following year.

I planted 4 huge one last

By Deana Rogers

I planted 4 huge one last year. They are still brown from the winter. I don't see any green at all. Should I cut them down for them to start growing again?

Hi, Deana, Black-eyed Susans

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Deana,
Black-eyed Susans thrive without attention or care in the wilderness but you can cut them down without worry. They'll come back!

I planted a variety of

By Stephanie Metzger

I planted a variety of perenial flowers including several black eyed susan plants of various varieties. I did not cut them back in the fall (snow came) and now that the snow is melting I am wondering if I should cut the stalks off these plants. Does the new growth come from the part under the ground or will all these plants with thier dead looking stems and flowers regrow with new life? I am located in central Ontario.

The new growth comes from the

By Almanac Staff

The new growth comes from the ground. So, as perennials, they should grow back, without your removing the stalks. Cutting, and so, cleaning them up, is optional and should present no problem.

Hi, can you please tell me if

By keez

Hi, can you please tell me if blacked eyed susans will completly die off or will the leaves on the vine still live on and flower every year? This is the first time I've grown them frm seed. Thanks.

Really, a Black-Eyed Susan

By Almanac Staff

Really, a Black-Eyed Susan could behave as an annual or a perennial depending on where you live. Usually, it behaves as a perennial and come back. If grown in the warm south, however, it might behave as an annual.

I live in Phoenix, AZ and

By S Mueller

I live in Phoenix, AZ and just bought two perennial BES from Big lots. Should I plant in shade? partial sun or full sun? Will they survive here until it gets over 100 degrees? Will the heat kill them or will they return next year???

Plant them in partial sun to

By Almanac Staff

Plant them in partial sun to protect them from the hot summer weather. The plants will bloom in spring and early summer. Cut them back in mid-summer and you should see new growth in early fall. They should survive the winter and come back next spring. Good luck!

On my many trips to visit my

By Bernetta Chambers Pinn

On my many trips to visit my sister in N.C. coming from VA, Black-eyes Susan, show their lovely faces along the highway. They were love at first sight. I also have a very special cousin & Best Friend, named Susan, who is going through a difficult sickness in her life. She reminds me of these plants, because they are so strong, & they both bring me such pleasure. May they both live forever in Jesus's Grace, from earth to Heaven.

My SIL gave me a BES plant

By Lori Hawks

My SIL gave me a BES plant that I put in a pot with a natural trellis and put it on my back deck. The vines, leaves and remaining flowers have succumbed to the frost and colder temps we have had this week. I want to preserve it for next Spring but do not know what to do for it. Should I cut the vines back? Should I bring it inside for the winter? Thank you for your help!,

Hi Lori, Black-eyed Susan

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lori,
Black-eyed Susan vines are perennial in warmer climates but are usually grown as annuals in regions that have freezing temps. You can  bring it indoors to see if it will survive. You can cut it back so that it is more manageable.

I have a huge garden of BES.

By Pauline Hewak

I have a huge garden of BES. In a moment of insanity, I decided to pull up the stalks, rather than cut them down. (I cut off all the seed heads and threw them back onto the soil, as I normally do). The rest of the plant is still in the ground--just the flower stalks were pulled. I mistakenly thought they grow from seeds rather than the root systems. My question is, do you think that I have damaged the plants enough to seriously affect their growth next summer? Thanks.

If the roots are in the soil

By Almanac Staff

If the roots are in the soil the plants should be OK next year. Removing the flower stalks doesn't hurt the plants. Black-eyed Susans will also sprout from the seeds that you left in the soil.

Hi I planted black eyed

By Dan and Jackie Worthey

Hi I planted black eyed susans this spring from plants they did really great all summer ( we live in the heart of Illinois) but now that the flowers have stopped blooming I cut back the dead stalks the blooms were on. Do I need to do anything before winter with the plants themselves. I love them and looked forward to the flowers all summer. Can't wait to see them in bloom next summer thank you.

Black eyed Susans are hardy

By Almanac Staff

Black eyed Susans are hardy perennials and will survive in the ground. New shoots will grow from the roots in the spring.

Got some R. hirta seeds this

By falca

Got some R. hirta seeds this summer and couldn't resist planting them in a flat. Had excellent germination. Pricked out a couple of dozen seedlings and planted in individual small pots.

With frosts on the near horizon (Zone 5) I am concerned about taking the seedlings through the winter. Should I bring them inside under "grow lights?"

Suggestions, please?

can I plant BES from one

By sai

can I plant BES from one house to the other in early oct in Toronto? Canada?
Please let me know.

Hi, Sai: You can do this, but

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Sai: You can do this, but you really need to hurry. It works best in the fall when before the first frost, which usually is around Oct. 6 in Toronto. However, when we were in Toronto a couple of weeks ago (we could have helped you!), we believe there was scattered frost then, non? In any event, divide and remove them carefully and make sure they are well watered periodically after transplanting. Add some fertilizer to their new holes, too. And cover with a thick layer of mulch to better insulate during their first winter in their new home. Thanks for asking!

I recently moved into my

By J- Indiana

I recently moved into my Dad's house and he has BES around the side of his house. They need to be separated and are beautiful right now. I want to move them and right now they get quite a bit of sun. I want to move some into the back of the house and it gets sun back there in the afternoon. Will they be alright there? And when can I transplant them?

Hi I planted black eyed susan

By Yemmit

Hi I planted black eyed susan for 2 years straight, but they didnt come back. So I didnt bother to plant last year because I was very desappointed. I love black eyed susan so no long ago I went to the store and I saw some very healthy, nice black eyed susan and bought some. I planted them and put around the stop weed that black rug and after that i put mulch and after a little over a month they dont look as nice as when I bought them. Some are still up and some are down, they dont look fresh. As if they are begining to dry or rotten. Is there anything i can do to bring them alive again? I dont know if with Michigan weather if they will come back next year. We're suppose to get another rough winter again, thats the predection. Another question I have been buying tall beaded iris from Oregon, Georgia. I am wondering if they will make it through or not? Thanks in advance

Hi, Yemmit: Make sure that

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Yemmit: Make sure that your Susies get one really good watering each week. Otherwise, back off. Leave the seedheads on for wildlife, plus to help you reseed for next year. Whether they come back, time will tell. You will need to remove Iris from the ground, divide, and clean, then get back into the ground well before first frost (use the Frost Dates tool under Gardening above). Again, time will tell. We wish your ladies well!

Hi Dear Almanac thanks so

By Yemmit

Hi Dear Almanac thanks so much for replying I read before that iris should be remove from the ground and divided every 3 to 4 years. I just started ordering my Iris in June, some arrived in July and some arrived this month so I planted them the same day. I am expecting some tomorrow though so I dont think they need to be remove from the ground because I just planted them on less they need as you said for an specific reason. But my corcerns is if they can take zone 3 or zone 4, because I bring my cannas inside every year in late summer and want to make sure tall bearded iris are not like cannas or the banana plants. I will follow your advice on the Sussies thanks again.

I have my BES spread over

By KV2252

I have my BES spread over border beds. No other plants are having problems. I have beautiful flowers but the leaves are all wilted.There is no sign of any pests. Ground is well watered, there is mulch in the beds, and the other plants are thriving well. HELP

Hi, KV: If it's possible

By Almanac Staff

Hi, KV: If it's possible (i.e., they are not too intermixed/-mingled with your other plants), try cutting back on their waterings (twice a week) but watering very deeply in order to encourage deep roots. Water in the morning, and only if they look wilted then. Otherwise, continue to take pleasure in the blooms' beauty and understand that it's often just the nature of these ladies' leaves to get bedraggled in summer's heat (don't we all?), not to mention get all tuckered out from producing their beautiful flowers.

Can I just take the spent

By 14kLife

Can I just take the spent flower of My BES and plant it in the fall? Will the winter hurt the seed? I live in NJ so we do get a few months of cold and snow...

Yes, you can plant seeds in

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can plant seeds in the fall. Just make sure the flower heads are completely dry before cutting them off. Find the seeds in the flower heads and sprinkle them over the soil and cover with a thin layer of soil.

My BES is a vine and so far

By Christine M Lindsay

My BES is a vine and so far it seems that others' BES are not. Do I cut the vine back in the Fall if so, by how much? Could it be that I have an altogether different plant. ? Thanks

Hi Christine, Black-eyed

By Almanac Staff

Hi Christine,
Black-eyed Susans come in two different varieties. One is a bush variety and the other is a vine (Thunbergia alata) that you often see in hanging baskets. It is a perennial and can be cut back in the fall. In colder regions it is recommended to bring the plant indoors for the winter months.

I'm a little confused. My

By Judy jamison

I'm a little confused. My daughter just bought a house and I want to transplant some of my abundant Black-eyed Susan in her yard. Some say the best time to transplant is spring, some say fall. Is one better than the other? If I transplant in fall I assume I need to wait until it is done blooming. Thanks for any advice.

We live in Oklahoma. Not sure

By Jen Harmon

We live in Oklahoma. Not sure if when/how we do it is standard rule of thumb.

Every September/October for the last eight years, we divide/transplant black-eyed Susan's to different spots in our yard, parentals yard, and give to friends. Bloom like crazy following spring.

When done blooming, I look for stalks that aren't quite ready to fall off at the slightest hint of wind. Cut the stalk to 'bout 4-6 inches high. Carefully dig up a small section. Transplant to new spot immediately.

I cut a few flowers from my

By Johnnyn1111

I cut a few flowers from my Grandfathers garden, and I would like to continue to grow them in my garden. How can I do this?

Well, you have to plant a

By georgewilson

Well, you have to plant a seed. Once the flowers are cut, they can't be used again. So, you can either buy the same seeds from a garden store. They're really cheap. Or, you can leave some of the flowers on the plant and when the seed pod is dry, you can simply pull them from the seed head, dry on a table, and plant next year in the spring when you're supposed to do so.

I live on the Oregon coast

By Janine LaFranchise

I live on the Oregon coast where it rarely gets over 65 degrees and has high humidity. I love BES and wonder what variety is best for our climate...

I planted Blackeyed Susans

By Sp

I planted Blackeyed Susans last year and they did very well. This year they came back and are very anemic. About half the steams and flowers are a lot smaller than last year. I was looking forward to these spreading? Any idea what could be going on? Thank you!

Hi, Sp: First, be sure to

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Sp: First, be sure to check them for pests as listed above. One possibility is that your soil has become depleted ... trying enriching it, but not too much. If they are super cramped, they may need to be divided. Another possibility is that surrounding plants or structures may have changed since last year and your ladies are getting less sun.

Thank you so much for your

By Sp

Thank you so much for your reply. I know BES don't really like fertilizer. What would you suggest I enrich my soil with? Bone meal?? Also, last Winter was very cold with a lot of snow here in MD. Could that have caused this? Thanks again!

Hi, again, Sp: The challenge

By Almanac Staff

Hi, again, Sp: The challenge here is that only some of your plants are underperforming. This usually means that these underperformers have not been getting or are not getting enough of something, whether it's space, warmth, water, nutrients, sun, etc. Bonemeal would not be a good choice, as its phosphorus is not really needed that much. Try a light (up to half-strength) solution of something like 10-5-20 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potash) once a week. Also, add a light layer of mulch to help retain moisture. Could it be cold damage? Well... possibly. Cold is bad, but then again, snow is good (insulator). Keep at it!

I recently purchased some

By Cec the farmer in making

I recently purchased some distressed black-eyed Susan's that still have great blooms. They are in 1 quart pots and I need to plant them now. Spacing and depth is my concern. Please help with an answer.

Hi, Cec: The distressing is a

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Cec: The distressing is a little distressing, as we don't know what this was. Plant them at the same depth they are now in the pots, but in new, good soil -- topsoil amended with a little compost. It doesn't need to be too rich (actually, that's bad), but it needs to be good. We say plant about 18 inches apart. They will self-seed and fill in eventually. Too close together, and they are susceptible to disease. Farther apart to start means more air circulation. Hopefully, your gals are well enough to stand up on their own; if not, stake them till they get healthy. Water well and monitor. We hope they feel better!

I planted five plants in

By John Gemper

I planted five plants in early spring.
All have bloomed and ground well.
The center plant has had the yellow peddles disappear. new flowers grow and the same thing happens. (just the yellow peddles) Now starting to happen to the nearest two plants. Your thoughts?

We can't be certain but here

By Almanac Staff

We can't be certain but here are a couple of ideas:
• This plant is sensitive to day length; in fact, it is sometimes called a "long day" plant." As the daylength shortens, flowering is reduced and increasinglly malformed—although admittedly, the days are not yet very short.
• Could you have Prairie coneflower, which resembles bkac-eyed Susan? Its petals fall as its flower disk darkens.

I have a few acres of field

By Sara clinger

I have a few acres of field behind my house that is completely covered in wild Black-eyed Susans that come back every year despite being mowed for hay. How can I transplant these ones to a better spot in my yard where I need some coverage and what is the best timing to do so?

The best times are in the

By DLB93

The best times are in the fall/October time frame or early spring/early April. just dig them up and transplant them. The roots could be up to a foot deep. it varies with each plant and how long they have been there. They are very hearty plants. They should do well. The more sun they get the better. At least for my plants. I transplanted my plants in April and they grew and bloomed by the end of June. Next year they should bloom sooner.

I noticed today that the

By Jessie Ryan

I noticed today that the stems of my black eyes Susans had been chewed off. Some of the leaves were eaten but the flowers and stems were still there. I looked for rabbit and deer droppings and didn't find anything. Does anyone know what could be do this?

If this happened overnight,

By Almanac Staff

If this happened overnight, it would normally be a deer or rabbit or animal. They usually leave the stem and go for the leaves.
Otherwise, look carefully at the leaves. Caterpillars tend to chew holes in the leaves. Slugs chews ragged, irregular shaped holes in leaves that cross the veins. See our pests and critter library to I.D. and learn more: http://www.almanac.com/topics/gardening/pests-and-problems

Thank you, I found out that

By Jessie Ryan

Thank you, I found out that it was indeed a rabbit, but it was a young one so it fit through the fence.

My gardener spaced out and

By hcashew

My gardener spaced out and didnt plant seeds I had purchased earlier this year. (I'm in Southern California).

Is it too late to germinate and plant them at this stage? (July)


In Southern California, we'd

By Almanac Staff

In Southern California, we'd recommend that you sow and transplant your black-eyed susans in September or October at this point.

In my flower garden I

By peacefrogx

In my flower garden I originally planted a circular cluster of irises that thrived and multiplied. A few years ago, I added some black-eyed susans in a part of the garden not to far away from the irises. Lo and behold, the black eyed susans have now invaded the circular space that the irises are in. This Spring they have completely overrun my irises, to the point that only 10% of the irises bloomed :( The Black-eyed susans, which will bloom around the beginning of August, are thriving. How would you suggest I extricate/separate them from my irises? It seems that the root structure of the irises and the susans have meshed and become somewhat entangled. Any advice would be appreciated.

You can dig up the irises and

By Almanac Staff

You can dig up the irises and Black-eyed Susans that grow together and carefully separate them. Then replant them in separate flowerbeds. You may loose some of the Black-eyed Susans in the process. A good time to transplant irises is in the summer after they have bloomed.

at anytime before flowering

By Bob Zinsmeister

at anytime before flowering should you pinch back a black eye susan like you do a mum.

It's best to prune after the

By Almanac Staff

It's best to prune after the black eyed Susan has first bloomed. Look on the stem below the spent flower. If there are new flower buds forming cut just above the first flower bud below the dead flower. When you see no more flower buds cut the stem close to the ground. This will cause new growth at the base of the plant.

We had a small bed (3' x 8')

By William Jay

We had a small bed (3' x 8') of black-eyed susans that had happily lived and bred in the same spot (a "planter" I made on top of a rock outcropping)for ten to fifteen years. Last summer the plants started looking peaked (fewer in number, and shorter), and this year none of them came back.

We also have a few Shasta Daisies in the same spot, and none of them came back either. All that is growing there now is grass.

We live adjacent to Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest.

What might have killed off the black eyed susans, and if I replant are the new plants likely to survive?

I am a new homeowner and was

By Danielle Warner

I am a new homeowner and was doing some "weeding" in one of the gardens of my house. Unfortunately I mistook black Eyed Susan sprouts (perrenials) for weeds! I dug up half of them from the roots before realizing what they were...from a neighbor! I don't know much about this stuff and I desperately retrieved all the dug up plants and replanted them. Will they from back this year or will I now have to wait until next year? :*(

Thanks for any help or suggestions!
Long Island, NY

If you had enough roots on

By Almanac Staff

If you had enough roots on the plants that you dug up they should be doing fine. By now you should already see some new growth if they survived.

I want to have pots of black

By Sue Bartlett

I want to have pots of black eyed susans at my daughter's wedding on Sept 27 in southern Maryland. When should I plant the seeds so that they are mature and ready to display or cut for the wedding?

look at the back of seed

By georgewilson

look at the back of seed packets and it will tell you the "days to maturity" from seeding to harvest. since weather conditions are unpredictable, you might want to stagger plantings--before and after--in hopes that you hit the wedding right.

I am trying to establish a

By jck0847

I am trying to establish a new BES flower bed in an area that formally contained Bishop weed. I already have a large overgrown area that is full of BES. Can I plant the seed heads from the existing plants and expect them to grow, or do I need to divide the whole plant and move to my new bed thanks!!!

Get a plant at a nursery.

By Steve Bryant

Get a plant at a nursery. After the first year they will proliferate if the mulch/soil is good. (I use chips from the tree choppers and save thousands.) Don't forget the many kinds - all yellow, regular and magenta.

Plants that produce seed

By Almanac Staff

Plants that produce seed heads are among the most difficult from which to harvest seed, according to our source. Black-eyed Susan is one of these.
It is not advisable to plant the seed head. The recommended method is to remove the seeds from the head and store them in a cool, dry environment until next spring or summer. Then plant them.
If you choose to divide the plants instead (or in addition), do it in the spring or next fall.

Concerning your

By Bob Seaman

Concerning your recommendation for harvesting the seeds of black eyed susans, can you tell me if the seeds will still be good in the spring if left outside for the winter? Thanks

Hi, I am new at this whole

By Aaron Moore

Hi, I am new at this whole gardening stuff. My BES are looking very dead. They are very brown and dead. =) I've been told and have read to cut the steams back. Is that all I need to do or do I need to cute more like down to the ground. I am temted to just take the whole plant out and start over with something new. but if I can still save these I guess I should. Please help. Thank you

Black-eyed Susans will indeed

By Almanac Staff

Black-eyed Susans will indeed "die down" in the fall. You can cut them down to the ground. They'll regrow.

I was given a beautiful lush

By Edith 45

I was given a beautiful lush black eyed susan plant. I had it on my porcha and watered it regularly. Now it is all dead and dry. Flowers are long gone. If I plant this in the ground before frost will it come up next year? I live in CT. Any comments are welcome. Thank you.

It's normal for black eyed

By Almanac Staff

It's normal for black eyed Susans to die back in the fall. Put your plant in the ground as soon as possible and water until the ground freezes. It should come back nicely next year.

Hello, I received a hanging

By Flower Noob

Hello, I received a hanging pot of Black Eyed Susans for a wedding gift. They've been doing well with being watered once a day and hanging on our porch. I live in Missouri and the fall/frost season is nearly upon us now. What is the best way to transplant them into a regular plant pot so they can come inside?

Also, should I expect it to stop blooming in the winter, even if it is indoors?

Thank you

We would normally recommend

By Almanac Staff

We would normally recommend that any cold hardy perennial be pulled from the container in the fall and planted in the ground before it freezes. Some gardeners put the entire container in the ground for the winter, but the container must be heeled into the ground to protect the roots which tend to be less cold hardy. Water well and cover with lots of mulch until spring.

Can I plant my black eyed

By Miss curious

Can I plant my black eyed Susan seeds now? I live in the NE and also want to know f I can plant them behind my young hibiscus tree without them compromising it? Also can I plant some behind my hostas???

Plant Black-eyed Susans when

By Almanac Staff

Plant Black-eyed Susans when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees F for best seed germination. In many parts of North America, the planting period is March to May. The flower will flower June to September. Germination takes 7 to 30 days. In general, Black-eyed Susans mix very well with most perennials, shrubs, and plants. Note that they can be territorial in that they tend to squash out other flowers growing near them so keep them in control and don't crowd them.

Recently, I was given some

By ET Neace

Recently, I was given some black-eyed susan seeds. When should I plant them for best results? I live in the area between Atlanta and Athens, Georgia.

In Georgia, sow black-eyed

By Almanac Staff

In Georgia, sow black-eyed susans by seed in loosely covered soil that is fertile (so add organic matter if needed). They are sun lovers so plant them in a place that receives full sun.  After the first season, they can reseed themselves. These plants are susceptible to powdery mildew fungi, so begin an organic antifungal program if the lower leaves turn brown and twisted. Make sure you don't crowd them as they need some air circulation. Keep the soil moist and water at the ground level not on their leaves and petals. Check with your local garden center for sprays that are approved in your area.

My sister wants some of my

By Jan H.

My sister wants some of my black-eyed susan that are taking over the back yard! What is the best way to dig some up to give to her? What is the best time & any other hints for successful transplant? Thanks for any suggestions!

Divide black-eyed susans in

By Almanac Staff

Divide black-eyed susans in the early fall while the soil is still warm but the nights are getting cool. Make sure the transplant area is nicely prepped with compost and that it will drain water well.

If I want to control the

By James S.

If I want to control the height of my Rudbeckia can I cut them back before they flower?

Yes, you can cut the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can cut the black-eyed susans, even down to the ground when the foliage reaches about a foot or two in height.  They regrow quickly and it makes for a more compact plant that's at a more reasonable height.

I love my blackyed susan

By Sue Wienke

I love my blackyed susan plants. I have a question about a variety that came up this year. The plant is very tall and the stems are thin with many blooms on each stem. Is this a wild variety?

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia

By Almanac Staff

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) have a solitary flower head. It is not this plant. It's really hard to say without a photo!

Neighbor was getting rid of

By Marg

Neighbor was getting rid of his black eye susan plants in one area they had taken over. He gave them to me I planted and have been watering them twice a day yet they are all looking dead ? Do I cut them back and hope they will come back next Spring?

Watering twice a day is too

By Almanac Staff

Watering twice a day is too much for most plants, certainly for this drought-tolerant beauty. (Drought-tolerant means that it can go long periods without water.) Our sources suggest that it thrives in hot, dry environments but like all—ok, most—living things, appreciates a splash once in a while. Deadheading after flowering can result in more (smaller) blooms. Cutting back to the highest green leaf after the first frost in your area is acceptable but not essential. The flower seeds heads provide food for birds.
We hope this helps!

My black eyed susans bloomed

By JayMo

My black eyed susans bloomed beautifully and grew to about 3 feet in height. I see that if I "cut them back" they may rebloom in the fall - silly question - how far do I cut them "back"? Do I cut them so only a small stem is sticking out of the ground? Please help and sorry for my ignorance!

Good question. When they get

By Almanac Staff

Good question. When they get a bit "ratty," we cut them down half way or even lower, and they will often grow a whole second set of blooms in the fall.

Have my blackened Susan's on

By Teddi Schmelter

Have my blackened Susan's on my deck in pots, doing well until this morning..now they are very droopy...did I give them too much water or too much sun..we did have a few days of rain

They often get droopy in the

By Almanac Staff

They often get droopy in the afternoon from the heat of the sun and perk up in the morning. Keep them perkier by watering deeply in the morning and only as often as needed (when about the top inch of soil is only slightly moist) to encourage your plants to send down deep roots.

Our first year of Black Eyed


Our first year of Black Eyed Susans is a terrific success. On some of the flowers, I've noticed a green-like growth coming out of the black eyes. What is that?

How do you harvest seeds from

By DonnaMotes

How do you harvest seeds from the plant? Is it from the dark center? Do you let it dry?

The seed is ripe when it

By Almanac Staff

The seed is ripe when it turns black. You can wait and harvest once your plants is mature. Remove with pruning shears. Then, dry on a clean, hard surface for a few days, clean, and store in a dry, cool place such as a large fridge.

my black eyed Susie for

By ootboxqueen

my black eyed Susie for growing fine. But now the lower green leaves are turning yellow. What could cause that?

Yellowing of the lower leaves

By Almanac Staff

Yellowing of the lower leaves may indicate stem rot. If true, you'd need to remove the top soil around the plant and replace with new soil, as well as remove all infected plants. Perhaps you should bring a sample to a local cooperative extension or garden center.

I have had blackeyed susans

By Kathy Latour

I have had blackeyed susans in my garden corner for years. This year, however, only one small area has blooms. The leaves on the others all look healthy but no a bud to be found. What would cause this?

I live just west of Atlanta, GA.

Have you noticed a black

By Almanac Staff

Have you noticed a black beetle on your Black-eyed Susans? They eat the entire bud, leaving just a deformed knob. If so, you can use Spinosad, an organic insecticide. Spray now and again in 2 weeks, and start in May next year. If you don't see this beetle, then we'd guess that 1) the flowers haven't gotten enough sun yet, 2) they need to be divided (which should happen every 3 to 4 years). You can also enrich your soil with compost, though they're not usually too picky.

Regarding the black beetle

By Val Blakely

Regarding the black beetle eating the heads of my Black Eyed Susans. You recommended an organic pesticide Spinosad.... will this not harm the bees?? PLEASE TRY AND FIND TIME FOR THIS QUESTION... THANK YOU.

Also, I am from Saskatoon,

By Tammy Remando

Also, I am from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada. If that
helps. And I planted the most common wild
version of black eyed Susan. Any replies, to my
questions will be greatly be appreciated.

Hi Tammy, Black-eyed Susans

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tammy,
Black-eyed Susans do not have separate male and female plants, so that is not the trouble. Good theory, though! Here are some possibilities:
* Some wild Black-eyed Susans, such as Rudbeckia hirta, can perform as biennials depending on location, so they would produce basal leaves the first year, flower the second year, and then die. Could that be it? (Rudbeckia hirta can also act as an annual or a perennial.)
* Or, too much nitrogen encourages plants to produce leaves, sometimes at the expense of flowering. If you think this is the case, cut back on the fertilizer.
* Is the plant getting enough sun? Black-eyed Susans appreciate full Sun for best flowering, although part shade is sometimes fine.

Btw, I forgot to mention I

By Tammy Remando

Btw, I forgot to mention I live in Saskatoon, SK. Canada. Thought you may want to know where I am from as well. I just don't know why my black eyed Susan
isnt showing any signs of flowering yet. is
there such a thing as male and female seeds when taking seeds directly from the flower itself? I have no idea. all l know is it was planted last spring, and has grown a lot, but still no flowers. Should I expect flowers soon or is there any truth to the male female sed thing and could I have gotten all male seeds and thus why I have no flowers?

Hi, I planted my black eyed

By Tammy Remando

Hi, I planted my black eyed Susan from seed in mid spring last year. And so far, all I have this year and last, is the fuzzy leavers. The plant has grown quite big now, but no sign of any flowers. is it because I took the seeds from a dried up
black eyed
Susan? I found it growing wild in an alley and it was close to
being dead, so I kept it for the seeds, dried them out and planted them.
Are there such thing as male and female seeds? Could I have

Unknowingly planted all male seeds as to why I still am not getting any flowers on my black eyed Susan? The plant itself is in good health, just no signs of flowers. Unless it's too soon and and
the flowers will bloom yet this summer? It is the most common wild version of black eyed Susana.

Black eyed Susan

By Anonymous

I found some black eyed Susan's in my grandma garden. I accidentally ripped off the leaves but can I put the roots in a jar of water on a ledge by sunlight?? If I do this will they come back??

frost resistant

By Anonymous

WE bought a B E S last year,flowered constantly,but following a very hard frost,snow & wind,all that is left is just bare stems...will it return,,didn't cut it back,because the label said not required???

winter care

By Almanac Staff

Whether your black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.) will return will depend in part on whether it is an annual, biennial, or perennial type. Is it a particular species and/or cultivar? If so, you can ask a nursery as to whether it is expected to come back next year. Rudbeckia hirta can be a biennial, annual, or short-lived perennial depending on where you live.

Annuals will flower the first year and then die. Biennials will produce leaves and stems the first year; the second year they will flower and then die. Perennials will live for several years.

Cutting perennials back after flowering can encourage a smaller fall bloom in some types. Also for perennial types, you can cut the dead stems back in winter in preparation for new growth in spring.

In case your plant is a perennial, you might want to cover the area with mulch to protect the roots. Then in spring, you can see if new growth starts up.

Hope this helps!

black eyed susan seeds

By Anonymous

I have newly harvested black eyed susan seed and want to know if I can plant them in my aero garden now, or do the seeds need dormant time.

black-eyed Susan seeds

By Almanac Staff

Of course, if the black-eyed Susan seeds would normally fall to the ground, we would hardly notice them in their dormant period. So it makes sense that they would thrive, albeit slowly, in your aero garden. However, about this: Try this two ways. Plant some seeds in your aero garden and put some aside in an envelope. (Think of it as a seed packet.) See which do best and proceed on that course in future. Let us know how it goes.

black-eyed susan seeds

By Anonymous

Should I maybe put them in the fridge for a week or two first, to "trick" them into thinking they have wintered over??

Rudbeckia looks cut; all flowers gone but leaves still there.

By Anonymous

My Black-eyed Susans have lost their heads! All the flowers look cut off but the leaves and stems are in place. What could be doing this?

bare-stemmed b'eyed Susans

By Janice Stillman

This is probably the work of wildlife: deer, groundhogs, even rabbits will eat such a bloom buffet. Your plants may flower again this season. If they do not, it might because it's too late in season. At least take heart that the plants are not dead. They should flower again next year. To hinder critters next year, hang a bar of soap nearby (the aroma and/or taste can be a repellant) or dowse the plants with pepper spray (do it again after a rain). As a last resort, you might need or want to try fencing or screening. Whatever happens, don't lose YOUR head over a solution.

leaves and stems are light green

By Anonymous

My plants start out healthy and green but as the summer goes on the stems and leaves start turning a dull green. The flowers are still nice but the plant itself doesn't look healthy. Any ideas?

The leaves of a healthy

By Almanac Staff

The leaves of a healthy black-eyed susan are usually "dull green" so this may be normal. If the leaves, however, start to brown or black, you could have a fungus. If this is a problem, pinch off those leaves. In general, be sure to water at soil line, never overhead, and be sure to thin and avoid overcrowding to ensure good air circulation.

Black eye Susan

By Anonymous

My Black-Eye Susan plants are getting black spots on the leaves. Why is this happening and how do I treat this?

If the black spots look like

By Almanac Staff

If the black spots look like lesions, you have leaf spot (a fungus). This is often related to humidity or lack of air circulation. To treat, remove the infected leaves at the end of the growing season. In the future: 1. Make sure your plants are spaced to avoid over-crowding. 2. Avoid overhead watering. 3. Clean up the foliage this fall so that fewer fungal spores overwinter. 4. In the spring, spray an all-purpose fungicide (containing chlorothalonil) to reduce disease spread.


By Rwilliams779@st...

When is the best time to plant the Black-eye Susan?

Your planting time depends on

By Almanac Staff

Your planting time depends on your USDA hardiness zone. For most zones, planting time is over by June/July. However, you can plant in Zone 10 and 11 in Oct/Nov. Essentially the soil temperatures should be at least 70 degrees F. The seeds take 7 days to 30 days to germinate (check your seed packet) so blooming time is generally June through August in most regions.


By Anonymous

how long before i see flowers if planted from seeds?

Germination is 7 to 30 days,

By Almanac Staff

Germination is 7 to 30 days, depending on variety and conditions.

black eyed susans wilting

By Anonymous

just planted them yesterday. they looked good for @ 24 hours but are now droopy. i watered them pretty thoroughly. ideas?

Sounds like it's just

By Almanac Staff

Sounds like it's just drooping from the transplant. Keep that root ball well-watered for at least a week. These flowers are Sun worshippers and need a lot of sun, but it can help to shade them from the heat the first few days after transplanting.

Can I transplant my blackeyed susans now in July (move them0

By Anonymous

Please let me know if I can moved all my blackeye susans to another area now in July and replant them, thanks.

Ideally, you'd cut down and

By Almanac Staff

Ideally, you'd cut down and remove dead foliage in late fall and then transplant in spring. You can transplant in fall, too, though you may have some seed drop.

Black eyed Susans

By Anonymous

Typically, how far would I cut / trim back these flowers in the fall, to the ground?

Once the flowers are

By Almanac Staff

Once the flowers are dormant--in the fall--you can prune dead stems back to the ground and discard them. Use sharp pruners (we like scissor-type). Add mulch to protect roots from freezing weather. This is also a good time to divide and transplant if needed.

Black eye susans

By Anonymous

I've raised These flowers for years I have the middle of flower and stem but the yellow part around the black middle are gone whats happening?


By Anonymous

Something is eating our plants. We have a lot of rabbits in the area, could they be eating our black eyed susans?

Rabbits do like this plant.

By Almanac Staff

Rabbits do like this plant. There are also foliage-loving bugs. Go out after dark with a flashlight and examine your plant for slugs, earwigs, whiteflies, etc. (Google for photos or see our pest library). Once you identify the pest, you can figure out a control to deter it.

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