Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba

Brown-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia triloba

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Yellow
Fragrance: No
Height: 2-5 feet
Spacing: 18 inches

Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) is a coarse, weedy, somewhat hairy, clump-forming, densely-branched biennial or short-lived perennial. It typically occurs in wet woods along streams, alluvial thickets, rocky slopes at the base of bluffs and along roadsides. This is a densely-branched plant that typically grows to 2-3 feet tall. Daisy-like flowers featuring 6-12 yellow rays and brown-purple center disks bloom profusely from summer to fall. Leaves are thin and rough-textured on both sides. Some of the leaves are 3-lobed. Lower leaves are ovate to ovate-cordate with long petioles, and upper leaves are less rounded and sessile. Other common names for this plant include thin-leaved coneflower (for thin leaves) and three-lobed coneflower (for three-lobed leaves and species name).

The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to late summer for about 1-2 months. On robust plants, 6 or more flower heads are often in bloom at the same time, creating a showy effect. The small achenes are 4-angled and have no tufts of hair. The root system is shallow and fibrous.

Habitats include black soil prairies, prairie remnants along railroads, thickets, savannas, meadows and openings in wooded areas, riverbanks, edges of fens, roadsides, vacant lots, and abandoned fields. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred, although this plant also occurs in high quality natural areas.

This biennial or short-lived perennial is easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but plants may need support if grown in too much shade. Best in moist, organically rich soils. Tolerates heat, some drought and a somewhat wide range of soils. May be grown from seed started indoors in early spring or sown directly in the garden after last frost date. Set out seedlings or purchased plants at last spring frost date. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom and/or to prevent any unwanted self-seeding. Whether or not plants survive from one year to the next, they freely self-seed and will usually remain in the garden and naturalize through self-seeding. This plant has moderate drought-tolerance; it may drop some of its lower leaves or wilt should this occur. After the blooming season is over, Brown-Eyed Susan can appear rather untidy.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Susceptible to powdery mildew.
  Watch for slugs and snails on young plants.
  The foliage is sometimes browsed by deer, rabbits, groundhogs, and other mammalian herbivores.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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