Rudbeckia as a genus is perhaps the single most colorful perennial offering for the late summer garden. Gardens featuring this plant are sometimes prone to “too much of a good thing” (such as my own home garden where we let a few too many come to maturity in front this year). There are other species besides fulgida and hirta, but I’m going to focus on these two because they are by far the most popular ones. Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cappuccino’ is one of the most colorful and popular varieties of this easy, deer resistant perennial. The bicolor flowers are vibrant and give interest up close as well as at a distance in the garden (for distant viewing, be sure to use white or yellow).
All the rudbeckias are going to give mass displays of color. Rudbeckia fulgida v. sulivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (commonly known as ‘Goldsturm’) is the ever popular black (brown) eyed Susan. There are masses of yellow flowers with the dark brown eyes. The petals are smaller than those of Rudbeckia hirta cultivars. Note the difference in the photo at right which contains both Rudbeckia hirta (two top flowers) and ‘Goldsturm’ (the bottom flowers that are smaller).
Besides size and petal color, Rudbeckia hirta also offers different colored eyes. ‘Irish Eyes’ and ‘Prairie Sun’ both have yellow/green eyes instead of the dark brown ones.
They require low to moderate watering and sun. You’ll be wise to thin out the seedlings if you don’t keep seed production down by regular deadheading. Next spring there is typically a small patch formed around the area planted the year before. Just decide how many you want, but remember they will look much bigger in July than they did when emerging in spring.
We use these to naturalize in some otherwise wild areas of the garden that receive some modest amounts of water. Very good for that function despite the fact that our garden is surrounded by deer. These have been consistently left alone–the deer prefer the more rare and expensive fare.