How to Grow Black Eyed Susans easily

Want to grow a flower that will perform from mid summer until frost?  Read on to learn grow black eyed susans (aka: Rudbeckia) easily in your cottage garden. Some folks also call them Brown Eyed Susans.

How to Grow Black-Eyed Susans.  An easy cottage garden favorite that will reseed itself and fill your garden with beautiful long-lasting blooms during the heat of Summer.

  • Grow in Sun (they can tolerate some shade but will become tall and reach for the sunshine, you would need to stake them)
  • Direct seed in Spring or Fall (just toss on the soil and cover in a scant 8th inch of soil, though I just toss them down on top of the soil), Winter Sow in Containers or start indoors
  • Water until established then they are drought tolerant
  • Some are prone to powdery mildew but it doesn’t seem to hurt the blooms
  • Great for poor or clay soils
  • Pollinator magnet
  • Seed heads make great wild bird food
  • Great for a cutting garden
  • Deer Resistant

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Why I love to Grow Black Eyed Susans!

I can’t say that I have a favorite garden flower, but I can say that Black Eyed Susans are ‘one’ of my favorites, especially in the late-summer. 

Black Eyed Susans, Daisies and Feverfew with text overlay, How to Grow Black Eyed Susans

Black eyed susans are so easy to grow and light up the garden with bright yellow flowers that fairly glow when many other flowers are fading away.

Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) come in many shapes, sizes and colors and now I have learned they have even crossed them with Echinacea for a variety called Echibeckia.   I have yet to give that one a try.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans in your Cottage Garden, also known as Rudbeckia, easy and fast spreading for a wow of bright color!

Once established they are drought tolerant and resistant to most insects.  The deer don’t seem to like eating them either. I think it may be the spiky fuzzy leaves.


My favorite pure yellow black eyed susan is called Indian Summer.  The form of the petals is more rounded and the yellow contrasts so dramatically with the dark brown center.  Sometimes the center has a purple cast which I find so appealing. 

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans from Seed

You can directly seed Black Eyed Susan’s 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost, or if starting indoors 6 to 8 weeks before.  They are said to be hardy in zones 3 or 4 through 9.

Black Eyed Susans are a fantastic candidate for Winter Sowing. A quick and easy way to get tons of them. 

Related: Sow Your Seeds in Fall

Personally, I have succeeded in direct seeding them all summer long right up until nearly our first Fall frost.  Be sure to read the seed packets as they can give you even more info.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

Plant seedlings out in the garden once sturdy enough and before the temps get very hot. Let them get established before they have to put up with the intense heat.

I have varieties that are such wonderful burnt oranges and ambers as well..this mix is called Autumn Gloriosa Blend.  I love how sometimes it is the center that has the splash of deeper color and others it is on the petal tips.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

Many Shades of yellows reads and oranges for variety!

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

Caring for Black Eyed Susans

Tough as nails once established Black-eyed Susans will tolerate drought and fill in fabulously.

Keep in mind some watering will get you a longer bloom time but too much water will make them grow too gangling and they tend to flop over.  

Frequent cutting for bouquets will keep it tidy and re-blooming. Sometimes you will need to stake them.

They do well in pots, I keep some on my back deck from bright color.

Old rustic ladder draped in Fall.

There are a variety of sizes and shapes. Some blossoms are large and spread as wide as my hand.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

Others are short and stubby but just as lovely.  There are some dwarf varieties that are bred to stay shorter and stockier.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

Transplanting full grown Black Eyed Susans

This self seeding perennial/biennial is so diverse and easy that typically I don’t transplant but you can if you do it in early Spring.  

If you must dig it up a black-eyed susan when it is later in the Summer you can put the plant into a pot and keep it well watered and in the shade until it has recovered from the shock of being dug up.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

I absolutely love my doubles.  Sometimes a plant will have both double flowers and single flowers on it.  

Click here for some seed from Amazon Gloriosa Daisy and Burpee has seeds for the double-flowered variety here  Gloriosa Double Gold.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

As I let mine all grow together the seeds cross-pollinate and I get even more variations.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans, easy flowers for your cottage garden. Easily reseeds for years of enjoyment and ease.

It is fun to see what will come up next.

They easily grow in the hard-packed earth of the roadside or clay soil and flourish.


Bees and Butterflies flock to them and in the Fall and Winter the seed heads serve as food for many birds.


They blend so nicely with all the other flowers and make my cottage garden a bright spot in the neighborhood.
They can get powdery mildew but though that can look a bit untidy it does not seem to affect the blooms at all so I just ignore it. There are some varieties that seem to be more resistant than others.

I confess to being a lazy gardener as I shared in this series…Lazy Gal’s Garden, I love flowers that volunteer to grow (aka:reseed themselves and grow like weeds) therefore I love Black-Eyed Susans!
Most of these are volunteers in my garden.

How to Grow Black Eyed Susans,

Very few did I specifically plant.

You can’t ask much more from a flower than they take care of themselves and give such a stellar performance.

Black Eye Susan Amber12

If you would like to read a bit of history about the Black-Eyed Susan just click HERE
I found it quite interesting.
I have a couple varieties on my wish list, one is Sahara and the other is Denver Daisy.

Update, I have my Denver Daisy

Denver Daisy Black Eyed Susans

Happy Gardening everyone and have a GREAT day!

learn to paint

Black-Eyed Susans

Not only are Black-Eyed Susans beautiful in the garden but in a painting too. This painting tutorial is easy enough for beginners.

Rudbeckia, Black Eyed Susans with text overlay, grow the best black eyed susans, flower patch farmhouse

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  1. Thanks for sharing pictures of your garden. I love these flowers, but confess I do not have any in my yard.
    Maybe I’ll plant one bucket full and see what happens.

    1. It is certainly worth a try. They sure do add some spice to my garden and do so effortlessly!

  2. Oh, so pretty. Mine aren’t blooming yet and they normally bloom over the 4th. I will have to check and see what’s up.

    1. With the weather being so wonky I think it causes things to bloom at odd times. At least in my garden it has been that way this year. My trumpet lilies are staying more compact this year, typically they get way taller than I.

  3. Wow your Black eyed susan’s are gorgeous, I have 2 that I bought last year and they are just getting ready to open up…I had no idea they could get as big as yours! Now I need to make a grow dammit sign…lol

  4. Wonderful post – my Black-Eye Susans are just now blooming! Love the variety that you show! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  5. I love the doubles too 🙂 I had them in my guest house garden and I love that you don’t have to do anything to them. That’s my kind of flower, one that takes care of itself.

  6. The Lazy Susans provide so much cheer to a garden. When you had them in pots, did they winter over (as a perennial) ?
    I’d love to have some of that cheer right now. It’s 32 degrees and snowing in MI as I type. It’s April for Pete’s sake!

    1. Lazy Susan’s 🙂 My brain is frozen. Black Eyed Susans…

    2. Yes, mine overwintered in the pots. I have some set up on my back deck now. They are considered a short lived perennial meaning a few years at best but they reseed so readily I probably have more coming up in those pots as we speak. I am in Zone 8 though so you may want to check locally and see what others have had success with. We can get snow up to June though and mine do fine.

  7. We love Black Eyed susans. At our mothers house in Michigan they have been reseeding every year for over 20 years. Moving and bouncing from bed to bed and from the front to the back of the house. Nice article!

    1. Mine are just beginning to bloom this summer, always eye candy for me. They bloom so varied and you never know what they will look exactly like, so many have crossed and recrossed for a variety of yellows, oranges, brown centers and rustic reds. I just love them and they are one tough customer. Usually the deer leave them alone, I never say never when it comes to deer eating flowers but so far they have avoided eating my sweet Rudbeckia’s.

  8. Let me first say, I really enjoy your site. I noticed in the picture of your house, the sign that says. I think, GROPPE 1965? My maiden name is Gropp, was just wondering, what is the significance of the sign?

    1. That is a stone post with our address on it on the corner of our property. It used to have a helicopter carved into the stone at top but part of it chipping off. I bought it as a present for my husband who is a pilot.

  9. Thanks for this post! Finally, something the deer aren’t attracted too! Can’t wait to give these a try. I am in zone 5, however we are located in an area that gets hit with early fall foliage, and late spring frosts, while the surrounding area remains green and vibrant! Very disheartening to loose plants that would otherwise survive. Our soil is the worst. Probably due to the coal mines and strip mining. We are diligently working to restore the soil and plant trees and shrubs. Butterflies, bees and birds are returning which is a good sign.👏🏻

  10. Such cheery flowers. The only ones that are perennials here in zone 4 are goldstrum and maybe a few others. The ones you mention indian summer and gloriosa are considered annuals here, but sometimes they do come back. I love the irish eyes variety, but it’s harder to find here. Thanks for sharing. Happy Gardening!

    1. Most of mine are merely volunteers from me letting the flower heads stay for the winter birds to eat. I am usually pulling up tons come spring to thin them out. Though some may consider that a bully plant they are so easy to yank out that it has never been an issue. I have had the Irish Eyes too but of course when it cross pollinates with the others it won’t come true from seed. I would have to buy fresh seed of Irish Eyes each year to be sure and get that particular one. Though I did see that my local garden center had some this year in gallon pots.

  11. Thanks so much for the info. I’ve been contemplating planting some. I have a cluster near my shed, I think the birds may have dropped the seeds. I’ve always favored pink, purple and yellow flowers, but these have really ‘grown’ on me!!!

    Time to get moving…my nursery has all of their perennials marked down drastically.

    Jane x

    1. My neighbor has some of those “bird dropped” flowers from my garden. Yep, I need to check out the nurseries nearby and see what they are clearing out too.

  12. I just deadhead mine and throw the heads on the ground….I have never had to reseed….they grow by the hundreds….:) I do leave some on the plant toward winter tho….I used to have a variety but have found when they reseed they don’t always come back the same….so I need to get some new ones to add to the group…

    1. Yes, they cross pollinate and create their own varieties, and you are correct, the only way to get a particular variety for sure is to purchase the plant or the seed again but many times, in my garden that variety will show up again from the seedlings. It is in the genetics of the current plants.

  13. They really brighten up your yard! Thanks for all the good info on growing them! I’m ordering today for next year.

  14. I need to look for the doubles. I have a soft spot for these happy yellow flowers. An elderly lady that lived across from the office I worked out always had a big border of black eyed Susan’s. When nothing else grew, she always had black eyed Susan’s and iris. Your yard is gorgeous.

    1. They are such an easy no fuss flower to grow, at least for me. You can’t go wrong with that.

  15. I love black eyed Susan’s and hav them in my garden. My dad said I was named after the flower. What are the purple flowers you have mixed with them?

  16. We have thousands growing on a hillside on our property. We moved here about 4 years ago, so we really do not know if they are growing wild or if a previous owner planted them. Either way they are beautiful! Such a great bloom of color especially with Fall fast approaching.

    1. And they are super easy to pull up if you get too many. I have them come up all over the garden but I don’t mind since they are super easy to pull.

  17. Can’t wait to have these beauty’s in our garden! Thanks for the info! See you Tuesday.

  18. The deer eat the flower buds out of my sister’s black-eyed susans drastically.

    I have so many plants, I dug up and took to work to share. Some of them have gotten so tall; I think too tall to transplant. Can I cut them way back before planting? Will they still grow and bloom? Or is it too late to cut and transplant after they have grown about 18 inches tall?

    1. You can try it and see. They are a bit finicky about being moved this time of year but I do think they will live on with lots of TLC. They just won’t look good for awhile.

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