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These vibrant, dark-eyed beauties are a late-season standout, blooming with masses of yellow daisies from June until October or a hard frost. An herbaceous biennial, brown-eyed Susan grows 2 to 5 feet tall and self-seeds easily, making it ideal for massing in meadows, naturalized areas, and informal gardens. It does best in full sun or light shade and loamy soils with average moisture, but it’s not that fussy and will spring up in clay or rocky soils. Tolerant of occasional drought once established, it may wither and need a drink of water in longer dry spells. With its bushy form and profusion of small flowers, brown-eyed Susan looks especially handsome with grasses, spotted bee balm, butterfly weed, and purple coneflower. The cheerful flowers provide a wide platform that is especially attractive to butterflies. Goldfinches and other birds will eat the seeds in the colder months if the seed heads are left on the plants. Planting it in clumps is not only visually appealing, but it makes it much easier for pollinators and birds to find.


Native habitats include fields, pastures, open woodlands, rocky slopes, roadsides, and abandoned areas.


Plant Characteristics:

Reaches 2-5’ and occasionally up to 8’ tall;  4’ wide unless crowded by other plants.


Grows best in full to part sun.


Best sited in fertile, loamy soils; tolerates clay, gravel, and poor soils.


Wildlife Value:

Host plant for 23 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including silvery checkerspot butterfly, sunflower moth, and 5 specialist moths. Attracts huge numbers of bees, small and medium butterflies, and pollinating flies. Rabbits, deer, and groundhogs may browse the plant.


Medicinal, Edible and Other Uses:

Dried-and-ground flower petals have been used in soups or teas to treat dropsy and flux and also as a diuretic, tonic, and soothing agent. It was administered for cardiovascular issues and given to children with worms. Additionally, as a wash, it was applied to snakebites, burns, and open wounds. The root tincture was employed for earaches.


Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia trilobal

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