Annual Rudbeckias

By Rock Giguère

Annual Rudbeckias fascinate me more and more with the great diversity of flowering that they have been offering for some years. The flowers grow larger and their shapes become more and more original, with double flowers with hemmed or cracked petals.

Traditionally yellow, the flowering of these plants, commonly called black-eyed Susans, now have brown, orange and red colors. The best known are cultivars of rudbeckia hirta (Rudbeckia hirta). Finally, another factor that makes me love this plant is the attraction it has for butterflies fluttering in my garden on hot days.

A very recent development

Recently, after years of work, we managed to hybridize the Rudbeckia genus with the Echinacea genus. This cross between the rudbeckia and echinacea gave us the Echibeckia® program. This group of rudbeckia’s flowering selections give a large quantity of large and long-lasting flowers. The development of the plants is fast and the foliage is resistant to diseases. These are now my favorite rudbeckias.

Cultivation in general

Rudbeckias are grown as annuals whose seeds are hardy because the seeds survive the winter. The spontaneous seedlings give back beautiful plants the following year. Often these plants are sold as perennials, but they rarely survive the winter.

Rudbeckias thrive in the sun, but they can tolerate some shade. A well-drained and fertile soil suits them perfectly. Removing wilted flowers encourages the formation of new flowers.

Use

The decorative effect is guaranteed with these easy-growing plants that are unparalleled in highlighting blues and reds. Since Rudbeckia stems are usually rigid, these plants can be inserted among other plants in flowerbeds without problems. They can also create beautiful end-of-summer borders. They will prolong the pleasure until October. The annual compacted rudbeckias make very good plants for associations in containers. Tall cultivars are ideal for the composition of cut flower bouquets. Their vase life then varies between five to seven days.

Good rudbeckia hirta selections

‘Cherokee Sunset’:
yellow and bronze flowers

‘Cherry Brandy’:
red velvet flowers with shades of brick pink around a dark brown center

‘Indian Summer’:
brown flowers with a bright yellow center

‘Maya’:
red and yellow flowers

‘Prairie Sun’:
yellow flowers with a pale green central cone

‘Toto’:
dwarf plant of golden yellow flowers and lemon

Good selections from the Echibeckia® Summerina® series

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Yellow’:
yellow flowers with a red-brown heart

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Orange’:
orange flowers with a red-brown heart

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Brown’:
brown flowers

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Butterscotch Biscuit’:
yellow and orange flowers

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Electra Shock’:
nuanced bronze flowers

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Pecan Pie’:
compact plant with golden yellow honey flowers with pecan heart

‘Echibeckia® Summerina® Pumpernickel’:
brown and espresso brown flowers