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These vibrant, dark-eyed beauties are a late-season standout, blooming with masses of yellow daisies for 8 to 12 weeks between Julyl and October or a hard frost. The herbaceous perennial 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. Its dark green, somewhat-hairy basal leaves are divided into three parts, which inspired the species name. With its bushy form and profusion of small flowers (other common names are branched coneflower and three-lobed coneflower), 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. If not supported by other plants, try staking before the flowers bloom to keep the plants from blowing over. Brown-eyed Susan tolerates heat, drought, and deer.


It's a short-lived plant, although its self-sowing habit ensures its survival. Cutting back flowers immediately as they finish blooming may help to extend the plant's life. Brown-eyed Susan is similar to the very common black-eyed Susan (R. hirta), but brown-eyed Susan is taller, flowers later and over a longer period of time, and has much smaller flowers.


Native habitats include fields, pastures, open woodlands, rocky slopes, roadsides, and abandoned areas. Mass in perennial borders or naturalize in low-maintenance gardens. Makes an excellent cut flower. 


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.


Prefers fertile, loamy soils but tolerates clay, gravel, and poor soils. Moderate drought tolerance.


Individual upper stems terminate in 1-2 flower heads for 8-12 weeks between July and October. Yellow, 2-3" flowers consist of 6-12 ray florets that surround a brown to black, flattened cone of numerous disk florets. The yellow "petals" are bright yellow and oblong in shape. The tiny disk florets are narrowly cylindrical. Around the base of each flower head are inner and outer green floral bracts (phyllaries) that are green.The flower heads have little or no scent. Flowers give way to small, four-angled, tuftless achenes.


Rought, green, alternate, ovate-shaped leaves are 2-4" long with slightly to coarsely serrated margins.


Wildlife Value:

Host plant for 23 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including silvery checkerspot butterfly (shown here), 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.



Susan, Brown-Eyed, Rudbeckia triloba

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Out of Stock
  • Once we're certain we have good germination, we'll make these plants available for prepurchase.

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