Planting distance 30-60cm (1 -2ft)
Flowers mid summer to late autumn
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-likewith 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.
‘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.
Sow the seeds in pots or pans of seed compost during autumn or early toand 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.