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Black-eyed Susan is a good perennial choice for butterflies and other pollinators, naturalizing, and rain gardens.

Black-eyed Susan is a good perennial choice for butterflies and other pollinators, naturalizing, and rain gardens. USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (, 11 October 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida

Black-eyed Susan

Native to North America


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida is a low maintenance and resilient wildflower with shiny deep green foliage. Striking summer and autumn flowers are beloved for their golden orange rays and chocolate brown cones.  Butterflies flock to the blooms and songbirds relish the seeds in sunny sites with average soil.

HABITAT & HARDINESS:   Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida occurs in the eastern United States from New York to the Florida panhandle and west to Illinois and Mississippi. 

Habitats are typically in moist woods, meadows, savannas and swamps.

Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 5-9.

PLANT DESCRIPTION:  Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida is a dense branching perennial that expands from rhizomes for form small colonies.

Stems are sturdy and pubescent with narrow shiny deep green leaves.  The blades are consistent in size unlike other species that have upper leaves reduced in size. 

Flower heads are borne in profusion almost covering the foliage.  Each daisy-like head averages 2” across with golden-yellow rays that encircle a robust dark brown cone loaded with disc florets. 

Flowering is among the latest of the black-eyed Susans continuing for almost 3 months from late summer until autumn.  Dense chocolate colored seed heads form and remain into early winter.

Plants grow 2-2.5’ tall with 1-2’ spread.

CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS:  The ideal site for Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida has full sun and average well drained soil.  Plants adapt to clay, alkaline or acid pH, gravelly soils and tolerate part sun, heat and drought.

This species is strong, vigorous and pest resistant.  In the hot humid south, however, plants may need good air circulation and occasional division to discourage foliar diseases.

Deadheading can extend the season of bloom but will remove the seed that are savored by songbirds. 

LANDSCAPE USES:  This is a good choice for a Wildlife Garden, Cut Flower Garden, Prairie or Meadow. Plants are also used as Butterfly Nectar Plants or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting.   Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Roadsides.

COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS:  Try pairing Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida with Aster oblongifolius, Coreopsis major, Echinacea purpurea, Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’, Liatris aspera, Schizachyrium scoparium and Andropogon gerardii.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii would be a worthy substitute if needed.

TRIVIA:  Native bees, small butterflies, skippers, pollinating flies and beetles seek nectar and pollen from the flowers.  Caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage and flowers.  Mammalian herbivores occasionally browse the foliage and songbirds relish the nutlike seed.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida is gaining popularity in the nursery trade.  Some claim that it is superior to the popular R. fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ because it is more vigorous and pest resistant and blooms later and for 6 weeks longer than ‘Goldsturm’.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida can be differentiated from similar species because it has narrower glossy leaves, smaller flowerheads than some and uniformly sized upper leaves.

Carl Linnaeus named the genus Rudbeckia is in honor of 17th century Swedish botanists Olof Rudbeck the elder and his son Olof Rudbeck the younger.  The specific epithet fulgida is from the Latin word for “shiny” because of the glowing golden flower rays.  


2-3 ft


1-2 ft


2 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:


Bloom Color:


Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds
  • Pollinators


  • Drought Tolerant
  • Dried Flower
  • Cut Flower
  • Clay Soil
  • Naturalizing
  • Long Blooming
  • East-Coast Native


  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

Flowering Months

  • October
  • September
  • August

Foliage Color

  • Green

Juglans nigra Tolerance (Black Walnut)

  • Yes

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Summer
  • Spring

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Moist to Dry

Interesting Notes:

For more information on this plant, visit the USDA PLANTS Database:

Plants that work well with Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida ''

Yarrow Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Dwarf blue star Dwarf blue star (Amsonia tabernemontana 'Blue Ice')
Broom sedge Broom sedge (Andropogon virginicus)
Sideoats grama Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Feather reed grass Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster')
Northern seaoates Northern seaoates (Chasmanthium latifolium)
White coneflower White coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan')
Mistflower, hardy ageratum Mistflower, hardy ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum)
Three-nerved Joe pye Three-nerved Joe pye (Eupatorium dubium)
Joe pye weed Joe pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)
Hyssop leaved boneset Hyssop leaved boneset (Eupatorium hyssopifolium)
Spotted Joe pye weed Spotted Joe pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
Catmint Catmint (Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low')
Purple love grass Purple love grass (Eragrostis spectabilis)
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal')
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'North Wind')
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky')
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah')
Prairie dropseed Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
David garden phlox David garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'David')
Jeana garden phlox Jeana garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Jeana')
Robert Poore garden phlox Robert Poore garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore')
Summer phlox Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Upland ironweed Upland ironweed (Vernonia glauca)
Anise Hyssop Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Switch Grass Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Cape Breeze')
Lindheimer's beeblossom, white gaura Lindheimer's beeblossom, white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri)
tall thoroughwort, tall boneset tall thoroughwort, tall boneset (Eupatorium altissimum)

Substitutions for Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida

Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida v. deamii)
Black Eyed Susan Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm')