Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Plant ID: Rudbeckia maxima

Everyone knows Black-eyed Susans. The reliant summer blooming Rudbeckia fulgida and related cultivars and varieties hold up really well in a number of situations and it's no surprise they are loved and planted by millions. Just today I was walking and passed a patch planted in front of a local brownstone and had to remark to how great they looked. However, many are not aware of the other great species out there within the Rudbeckia genus. One wonderful player is a tall herbaceous perennial I get asked to identify a lot this time of year. This is Rudbeckia maxima.
From the base of blue-green foliage and leaves that are often over 4" in size emerge these tall flower spikes that can reach up to 5' in a happy full sun application.
Hardy in Zones 7-10 these definitely add a great tall element to your perennial garden design. As you can see the ray flowers are that awesome standard Rudbeckia yellow while the central cone of disc flowers are a rich brown that really stands out and draws the eye. This is a good looking clump but admittedly has taken some time and TLC to get established. For maximum impact I like to plant them close and make a nice big cluster of them.
And yes, it's a native species so the local insects and wildlife love them too.

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