Rudbeckia is available in several varieties that typically range from yellow to orange. The most common rudbeckia is known as black-eyed Susan and grows profusely alone roadsides across much of rural America. Sometimes referred to as "bull's-eyes" by country folks, this flower has increased in popularity in recent years -- probably due to new hybrid plants with variegated petals resembling the blanket flower. Starting them from seed produces blooms the first season.
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Prepare a garden bed in a sunny location that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. Although organic-rich soil is preferred, rudbeckia tolerates a wide range of soil and is not particular as long as the soil is well drained.
Plant rudbeckia seeds in the spring once temperature remain above 21.1 degrees Celsius. Although the seeds will germinate in cooler temperatures, the Michigan State University notes that rusbeckia seeds germinate in five to 10 days when temperatures range from 21.1 to 23.8 degrees C.
Sow the seeds lightly on the top of the soil and cover lightly. Seeds that are covered too heavily may not germinate.
Space seeds 6 to 8 inches apart and thin to 12 to 18 inches apart when they are 2 to 4 inches tall. These plants grow to 2 to 3 feet in height and require room to grow. Crowding them will result in reduced blooms.
Moisten with the spray attachment of your garden hose. Keep the seeds moist until seedlings emerge and gain enough height to withstand drier conditions.
Reduce watering gradually over the course of several weeks to allow rudbeckia to adjust to the natural growing conditions in your area. Once established, rudbeckia is drought-tolerant and does not require supplemental watering unless you experience excessive dry periods.
Tips and warnings
- Rudbeckia are available in both annual and perennials varieties. Check the label carefully when purchasing rudbeckia seeds.
- Fertilise perennial rudbeckia once in early spring as soon as new growth appears. Use any water-soluble fertiliser labelled for flowering plants.
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