Rudbeckia coneflower

Height 45-90cm(1-½-3ft)

Planting distance 30-60cm (1 -2ft)

Flowers mid summer to late autumn

Any well-drained soil

Open sunny site

Short-lived perennial grown as hardy annual

Rudbeckia hirta and its varieties are excellent annuals for producing colour in herbaceous borders towards the end of summer. Dis-playing a mass of large yellow or orange daisy-like flowers with conspicuous cone-like central discs, the plants stand 45-90cm (l!/2-3ft) high with oblong mid green leaves and bristly, branching stems. Some varieties will continue to flower for a few years. Excellent for cutting.

Popular varieties

‘Gloriosa’ has huge single flowers in shades of yellow, orange, bronze and mahogany. The plants reach 90cm (3ft) high.

‘Goldilocks’ bears large double and semi-double golden-yellow blooms. The plants reach 45-60cm (18-24in) high, and have a particularly long flowering season.

‘Green Eyes’ (75cm/2-1/2ft) is a well-branched variety bearing golden-yellow pointed flowers, with olive-green centres. ‘Marmalade’ has single golden-orange flowers with black centres, and reaches 60cm (2ft) high.

‘Nutmeg’ grows 60-75cm (2 – 2-1/2ft) tall and has double flowers ranging from clear and golden-yellow to orange-brown, often with contrasting zones of red.

‘Rustic Dwarf Mixed’ bears a mixture of large single flowers in shades of golden-yellow, mahogany-red and bronze.

‘Sonora’ is a low-growing, spreading variety, up to 38cm (15in) tall, with a profusion of large, golden-yellow flowers. These have a bronzy-brown zone around the dark centres and appear until well into autumn.

‘Sputnik’ Ckelvedon Star’) has large 10cm (4in) wide flowers of bright yellow petals surrounding a prominent dark brown centre. The plants grow up to 90cm (3ft) tall, and the flowers are especially long-lasting when cut.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds in pots or pans of seed compost during autumn or early to mid spring and place in a cold frame. Prick the seedlings out into boxes when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in late spring in the flowering site – an open sunny position with well-cultivated and well-drained soil. Set them 30-60cm (1-2ft) apart; tall varieties need staking in windy sites.

After the first main flowering, give the plants a liquid foliar feed to encourage more blooms. The ‘Gloriosa’ varieties are often perennial in habit and will flower for a couple of years if the crowns are protected with a deep winter mulch.

Pests and diseases

Slugs and snails may eat the leaves and stems.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Rudbeckia coneflower

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