single black eyed susan

Black Eyed Susan – Growing & Care Guide

Scientific Name:  Rudbeckia Hirta | Blooming season: Summer

👍 Loves: Moist, well-draining soil and full sun | 👎 Hates: Shade, very wet soil

Black eyed susan is a lovely, colourful flower that will fit right into your flower beds or borders. Although it is native to North America, black eyed susan is quickly becoming a favourite around the UK for its easy growth and reappearing blooms. Additionally, you can find both annual and perennial varieties of black eyed susan, so there’s definitely a type for you. Find out how to grow black eyed susan for beautiful summer flowers!

Guide contents

  1. Identification
  2. How to plant
  3. When & where to plant
  4. Growing and care tips
  5. FAQs


A group of black eyed susans
Height2 – 3 feet
Spread12 – 18 inches
ColoursRed, orange, yellow, pink
FoliageLeafy, upright stems
Identifying FeaturesCone shaped centre
Stiff green stems
Long, rough leaves

When & where to plant

Plant in January or February for summer annuals. If you plan to grow your black eyed susans indoors, you can sow them in summer for colourful houseplants throughout the winter.  

🌱 Outdoors | 🌞 Full sun 

You can plant black eyed susan indoors in pots as a houseplant or outdoors. It thrives in spots that receive full sun at least 6 hours a day and requires fertile soil. However, it can tolerate tougher soil conditions. Plus, in order to prevent the spread of disease, you should plant black eyed susans apart from each other. This makes them great plants for borders. 

Fortunately, the black eyed susan is a fairly low maintenance plant, with deadheading really being the only upkeep they require. However, they aren’t very tolerant of differing conditions. 

Growing and care tips

The black eyed susan is an overall low maintenance plant. However, it is rather susceptible to diseases and pests. Here are some general tips to help your black eyed susan thrive: 

Watering: You should check your dead eyed susan regularly to check if it needs watering. Usually, this is when the top inch of the soil around the plant is dry. Additionally, if the leaves are drooping, your black eyed susan definitely needs watering. However, remember that over-watering will cause more issues with black eyed susans than under watering. You’ll want to avoid excess moisture on the leaves in particular, since this can encourage the development of diseases.    

Fertilizing: You don’t need to fertilize your black eyed susan. Since they are fairly happy in most soil types, they will happily bloom without it. However, if you’d like to give your black eyed susan some TLC and encourage extra blooms, you can add some compost to the soil. 

Dead Heading: Although deadheading isn’t necessary for black eyed susans, it helps prolong the blooming period and stops the flowers from spreading seeds across your garden. To deadhead a black eyed susan, simply remove any faded or dead blooms throughout the growing season. 

Pest Control: Aphids are the primary pest of a black eyed susan. The presence of aphids can cause mould infestations. For aphids, usually a strong spray of water will dislodge a few strays, although you can treat more serious infestations with horticultural insecticidal soap. However, if your black eyed susans are infested with more serious pests, such as the goldenglow sawfly, you’ll want to invest in some diazinon insecticide to remove them. 

Disease: Black eyed susans are incredibly susceptible to diseases, particularly powdery mildew and leaf spot. The best way to avoid these diseases in the long run is to ensure that your plant your black eyed susans with enough space between them and avoid overwatering. Fortunately, you can treat both of these common diseases with fungicides.


Are Black Eyed Susans Perennials?

There are over 40 different varieties of black eyed susan, and this group includes both perennial and annual varieties. However, officially, the varieties of black eyed susan that are classed as annuals are actually short-lived perennials! 

If you’re looking for a perennial black eyed susan, here are some of the most popular varieties: Goldsturm, Cutleaf coneflower , Golden Glow, Goldquelle, Herbstonne, Great coneflower

On the other hand, if you’d like an annual variety of black eyed susan, some of the manageable varieties we’d recommend include: Rustic dwarf, Goldilocks, Gloriosa daisies, Green eyes, Purple coneflower

Do Black Eyed Susans Come Back Every Year?

Yes, black eyed susans do come back every year. As we mentioned above, some varieties of black eyed susan are perennial. However, the annual varieties may reappear every year too if you don’t deadhead them. Black eyed susans shed their seeds, meaning they reseed themselves. So, although annual black eyed susans will die within a year, new plants will grow from the seeds that the original plant shed. However, this means that the plant will come back in a slightly different spot than the original each year. 

Do Black Eyed Susans Spread?

Yes, black eyed susans do spread. Depending on the variety, a single black eyed susan can spread anywhere between 12 or 18 inches. So, to prevent too much spreading, you can plant your black eyed susan seeds closer together. On the other hand, you can plant them further apart – about 18 inches – to create a beautiful border. 

How Tall Do Black Eyed Susans Get?

Black eyed susans can grow as tall as 3 feet, with the average height somewhere in between 2 and 3 feet. However, some varieties may grow even taller, so ensure you read the seed packets before purchasing a variety of black eyed susan.

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