Problems With Black Eyed Susans

RRogers9053(z5 MI)September 13, 2005

This looks like a problem to me, but I don't know what's happening, or how to cure it.

These two plants were planted at the end of July. About three weeks ago they started getting dark spots on the leaves, and the petals began falling off.

Can anyone tell me what's happening and whether it can be remedied?

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plantgurl(z6a/b-7 Tenn.)

Rudbeckia hirta,or Black-Eyed Susan, is relatively resistant to diseases, not that they don't ever get diseases, however, it's highly unlikely. It looks to me like this damage is caused by spider mites. Spider mites cannot be seen so easily and the damage is usually noticable before they are. The best treatment is to spray with a contact insecticide on a regular basis, and be sure to cover all the areas of the plant because the spider mites will hide in leaf curls, nodes, and under flower petals. If you'll do a general search for spider mites, say on Google or Yahoo, you can obtain more info on them as well as treatments.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 9:50AM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

It's a leaf spot- mine get the same thing. Remove all the diseased foliage, including what's dead on the ground. If the plants are crowded, which rudbeckia often is, thin the patch to improve airflow. I treated mine with corn meal tea this spring and early summer and didn't get it as badly this year.

A fungicide would help- that's what the corn meal tea is supposed to be.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 6:06PM
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RRogers9053(z5 MI)

The plant pictured is by itself in the bed but I have a second plant about ten feet away from this one, and it too, exhibits the same problem. Is there something related to the area they're planted in that would cause "leaf spot"?
Would too much mulch in the planting area be the problem?
If the problem is spider mites, should the dead foliage still be remove before spraying?
Again, these are newer plants, purchaced at a nursery and planted in July.
Thanks for any information and advice.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 6:35PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Are you ready for another opinion?

Because they were planted in July, could be drying leaves due to plain old drought stress -- as in inadequate water in the *original* rootball -- which can occur in spite of rainfall and/or irrigation to the garden.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:34PM
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It looks most similar to Botrytis to me, but that could be secondary. Sometimes they get it at the nursery from being wet 75% of the time. I would water only as needed, remove totally black leaves and use contact/systemic fungicide.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 10:03PM
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i planted black-eyed susans this year and they started out doing really good and all of a sudden in the last 2 weeks they look like they are dying. They are turning black and really drying up. I have no idea what is causing it or what to do. Does any one have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 11:12PM
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sherlock_holmes(z6a PA)

I guess I will throw in my opinion. It looks to me like you have a combination of problems. Possibly Septoria Leaf Spot or Angular Leaf Spot. Possibly the plant isn't getting enough water. It doesn't look like any plant pest caused it, so that might be ruled out. I certainly can't see the fine webbing that comes with spider mites.

What I find most puzzling is the fact that it almost looks like it has the beginnings of Powdery Mildew. But the white sugary coating I see could just be a type of mold or fungus setting in on the dying leaves.

Try this website.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 2:58PM
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Completely looks to be drought damage to me. Also I would imagine your plants were stressed due to being planted in July.
Spidermite damage looks nothing like what I'm seeing in the picture. Usually SM damage looks like yellow stipling over the upper leaf surface (tiny chlorotic spotting)when the infestation is high enough. ALSO if you had a severe infestation you would definatley be observing lots of webbing under leaves and in the leaf axils.
Botrytis by the way can only thrive in cool and humid conditions. It is a natural fungi which aids in the breakdown of decaying matter, but will attack living tissue where there is a tear/break/cut in the plant tissue.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 7:49PM
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I have some black-eyed susans that have been growing nicely for a few years, but this year, one of the plants is not blooming (the others are). The foliage looks normal and full--there just aren't any flowers. Does anyone know why this might be? Does the plant need to be divided?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 1:07PM
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tinamcg(Z5b Kansas City)

I get that same problem on my Rudbeckias every year, mostly on the lower leaves, and always after periods of cool wet weather. Once it takes hold in early or midsummer, it continues if I don't removed the affected foliage and spray with a fungicide. I'm sure it's a fungal disease, though with so many to choose from, I can't name it.

Be sure to clean up the plant really well at the end of the season. Many people leave cleanup until spring, but when you get leaf spot, it's best to not let it overwinter in your garden.

Tina McG

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:14AM
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lolamina(zone 6 - NJ)

I am caring for several garden sites that have Black-eyed Susans with black, dry leaves covering the plants. The flowers bloom and are long-lasting, and I don't see as much damage on the stems. My query is this: There is really too much to destroy (and too costly) and we're supporting large Monarch, Swallowtail, etc. populations at all sites...what is best for plant and animal? thanks

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 8:39PM
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malorn(7 S.E. Mass)

My rudbeckia had the same problems..Beautiful flowers and stems, leaves a mess with PM and the "black" stuff....I took everyting offered here, then cut them back..despite the wonderful flower..the plant looked awful...along with the question above "what is best" can anyone explain to me what it means by "disease resistant"..All my plants came with this description..yet!!! What have they done to the plant to make it resistant? Thanks

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Mine are doing the identical thing. The weird thing is they were completely healthy, no drought issues (watered well) and both plants are in different environments. One in the front yard and one in the back. Not very disease resistant IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 9:21PM
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messymoops(z6a MA)

Here I am again...late as usual!!

My black-eyed Susans looked sort of like this for a while. Now they're dead! I suspected it wasn't enough water, but I also wonder if it was too sunny. Should I try them in a shadier place next time?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 1:27PM
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botanybob(Northern Idaho)

Malorn's question about disease resistance is a good one. Plants can be bred and selected for their ability to be unaffected by specific diseases. The term "disease resistant" is not very helpful unless you know which disease the plant is resistant to. There is no general disease resistance that makes a plant less susceptible to all diseases. For example, if your plant is resistant to powdery mildew, that doesn't say anything about whether it is resistant or susceptible to some other leaf spot.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 4:07PM
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I'd like to join this forum because I, too, have leaf spot problems on newly planted rudbeckia goldsturms. Several are planted and only some have this problem. They are in full sun with some afternoon light shade and have PLENTY of growing room. I have images I could post but can't find how to do this. I'm a newbie to this. Could someone please tell me how to post pictures??

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 6:45PM
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Hi All,

I brought these beautiful black eyed susans from a nearby nursery. For the first few days they looked beautiful. But last week or so the flowers are dead and look black in color. Also the leaves ave black spots on them. I sprayed the insecticide and put some plant tone also. I have been watering regularly. Today I got rid of some dead foliage under soil. Any idea why this is happening... Is it too much heat or some disease...


    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 8:02AM
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I'm having the same problem with mine and used a fungicide last year and it helped a lot but I didn't have the time to do it this year.

I want to replace as I heard my variety - goldstrum - is more suseptible to disease. I'm thinking Solar Eclipse. Any thoughts on that variety? Also, if I dig these old one's out, do I need to or can I do anything to sterilize/disinfect the ground so it doesn't happen again or is that not really necessary?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:00PM
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I have a stand of black-eyed Susans which did well for five years. This is the third summer that there are small or no petals on the flowers.The plants are short, but healthy. The leaves,stems,and buds all look healthy, but the blooms have short, blunt petals or no petals. I have observed rabbits in the bed often. The buds open, but no petals.Could the rabbits be eating the petals before they emerge? The buds are small and open; but no petals!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 10:09PM
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I've been moving these plants around my garden for years and I find that they can be hard to please.
The ones that I consider to be going well are not in hot sun all day and have had soil enriched with copious amounts of organic matter mixed in. They seem to thrive in rich damp soil.
I've tried planting the Black Eyed Susan in an exposed warmer spot by the Beardtongue and it languishes and looks wilted
Maybe its all or nothing with the Black Eyed Susan.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:14PM
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I bought two beautiful pots of Black Eyed Susans to put on my front porch 2 weeks ago. I bought them from Home Depot.I left them in the ugly plastic containers they came in and placed the containers in 2 larger pots. The bottom of the plants' original pots do not reach the bottom of the larger pot.
Now they look terrible. Is it because I should have removed them from their original pots and planted them in the bigger pots? Is air reaching the roots the problem? The plants look all wilty and the flowers look all malformed. I know this is a stupid question, so go easy on me...I'm new at gardening and appreciate your comments. I'd LOVE to be able to save these. Is it too late for them?? Blessings!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 1:43PM
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I have had this problem other years, but nothing like this year. I have been pulling out the plants as I have the time and adding them to my stick wall so as not to contaminate my compost. When I have the time this fall, I intend to remove every one and then the seedlings next Spring. They used to be so nice, but they volunteer too readily, so it is time to say goodbye to my old friends.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blackeyed Susan Disease Reported

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 1:55PM
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well i have the same problem with mine and i feel its drought damage as well. my query is: is the plant a goner? i mean the flowers are dead and the stems and leaves are brownish yet not brittle. If I prune it or thin it I should say will that help at this juncture? Yes, I did plant in July . Should i simply return it?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 3:37PM
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