Black - Eyed Susans really short-lived ?

kvbchMay 30, 2007

I have a big clay pot filled with about 4 healthy, vigorous Black-Eyed Susans that I started from seed just this year.

What a real charge I got this morning as I was walking out the door to go to work and I noticed that today several of them have strong, tight flower buds getting ready to open. I've always loved black-eyed susans, so, later this year I am planning on transplanting them to their permanent location at our land.

BUT, as if to rain on my parade, I have recently been reading that they are not very long-lived plants. They are Perennials of course, but I was bummed when several sources say that they are short-lived.

The question is; is it your experience that they are really are short-lived? If so, how "short" is short-lived?


K.B. in Zone 6

Southern Illinois

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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

There seems to be a lot of variation in how long Black Eyed Susans live. Some seem to be annuals, others last several years. I usually find lots of seedlings among my black eyed susans, so the occasional loss of one or two doesn't cause much trouble. I would try to grow more than four, so that if one or two doesn't return next year you'll still have enough. They should set plentiful seed.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 9:01AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Even though they are considered short lived perrenials, which usually means 3 to 5 years, they easily reseed. So if you plant them - it should have offspring regenerating for a long time.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:34AM
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I have purchased and transplanted different varieties from various stores and get mixed results. Some stay on for a few years and some are gone by fall.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 5:15PM
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I had a stand of rudbekias that lasted at least five to six years, spreading and looking very healthy. I transplanted a bunch of it into another location and it too was strong and healthy. Then two years ago, zip, nada, not a single stalk of the original patch came back. I transferred in some from the daughter patch and they failed to thrive too. I'm trying the transfer again this year and if it fails once more, I'm gonna think of something else to put in there! Absolutely nothing about the garden has changed and all the other plants around this spot are doing just fine. Very mysterious.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 6:59PM
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they're wild here. I think they reseed themselves if given the chance.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 11:33PM
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My Rudbeckia hirta are annual, biennial and perennial all from a single source of seed! They re-seed almost too much...


    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 4:10PM
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froggy(z4/5 WI)

R. hirta is supposed to be a biennial.

my R hirta 'goldstrum' is a very long lived perennial.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 9:57AM
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R hirta IS short-lived... In the wild, B E Susans are early a prairie restoration, they flourish excessively the first few years :). They then greatly diminish in numbers.

There are MANY other species of Rubeckia...R. subtomentosa, R. fulgida are a few. I think these are longer lived, but all Rubeckias that I've encountered are pretty good at reseeding themselves!

(I've always thought that the label of "short-lived perrenial" was kind of funny...don't we call those "annuals"? :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 6:02PM
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dbs_illinois_4(z4b Illinois)

Rudbeckia "Goldturm"'s parent is R. fulgida, and yes it is long-lived as is R. submentosa. Then there's R triloba--Brown-eyed Susan--which is supposed to be another short-lived perennial. I think short-lived means about 4 years, like the average lifespan of the columbines. R. hirta is very variable, and I think it can be either an annual or biennial--depending on conditions? or maybe genetics?? I don't think I've ever had any come back a third year, but it can be hard to tell when there's plants all growing together if it was the same one or a different one.

I've been trying to learn native (Illinois) plants for quite a few years, and still get hopelessly bolixed up by the Rudbeckias. And then there's the naturally occuring varieties on top of it, and now cultivars too. I do enjoy looking at all of them tho, even if I can't keep straight which they are!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 6:54PM
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If you like R. triloba (and I do:), just buy 1 plant. It's all you'll need! It is fairly easy to control...pulls easily.

R. laciniata is another member of the family...a woodland version that grows tall (6') and whose flower looks more like a yellow coneflower than a Rudbeckia.

The different species tend to bloom a slightly different times with lots of "overlap"...together they make a tremendous splash of yellow throughout most of the summer!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 10:06AM
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radagast(US east coast)

If I recall correctly, there is a way to tell the difference between the annual and short-lived perennial Black Eyed Susans and the longer-lived ones (though I don't know if any can be considered truely "long-lived") I think that ones with flowers that have more red or orange in them - getting away from the traditional yellow - tend to be shorter lived, and there was something about the hairness on the leaves and stems, but I forget the details: if having more hair on the plant means longer life or shorter life...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 12:04PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

The ones with the fuzzy leaves are usually hirta or hirta hybrids. These are the annual or very short-lived ones. See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: rudbeckia hirta

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 9:39AM
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I have had very different results with Black eyed suzi's.

I had some rather plain ones, that where doing fabulous prior to our moving. Now I will never know the fate of them, but year over year they where thriving, increasing in size, probably by 2 to 3 times every year. I have a hard time to believe that next spring they would not come up again, unless the new home owner removed them! lol.

Now, I had some really pretty Gloriosa Daisys, they where yellow with a green eye, huge flower, and really they are a black eyed suzi, I planted 3, the next spring only 1 came up. Although it florished that year! That is just how the cookie crumbed! lol.

I think if you want to grow these flowers and want them to stick around, the best bet is to plant the more plain varieties, mulch them in the fall (make sure to remove excess mulch in the spring) and perhaps spread some new seed into the planting in the fall. Otherwise, you just sort of roll the dice!

The best news is, they are surprisingly easy to grow from seed! And not expensive at all that way!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 12:57AM
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