When it comes to choosing her favorite plant, Jean Kernaghan can’t.
“It’s like asking, ‘Which is your favorite child,’” said Kernaghan, a member of the Iris Garden Club.
However, among her favorite summer plants is the black-eyed Susan.
“I’ve grown them about 10 or 12 years and absolutely adore them,” she said. “They bloom all summer and are heat and drought tolerant.”
The black-eyed Susan is often used in the landscape in mass plantings.
“From midsummer, these tough, native plants bloom their golden heads off in the sun or light shade and mix well with other perennials, annuals and shrubs,” according to the Better Homes and Gardens Web site, bhg.com. “Tall varieties look especially appropriate among shrubs, which in turn provide support.”
The site notes that black-eyed Susans can be added to “wildflower meadows or native plant gardens for a naturalized look.”
Black-eyed Susans prefer sun to part sun for optimal growth and grow to a height of 2 to 10 feet. The plant grows from 1½ to 3 feet wide.
Average and even poor soils are adequate for growing black-eyed Susans, which also tolerate dry soil conditions. While they don’t need much water or fertilization, doing so will reward the grower with more blooms.
Once black-eyed Susan plants are established, they will grow well unattended. The clumps will need to be separated after a few years or the plants will crowd each other out, resulting in smaller plants and flowers.
Resistant to insects and disease, black-eyed Susans are easily treated with organic and chemical insect repellants and fungicides.
Black-eyed Susans, known for their large and beautiful blooms, are often used in decorative bouquets.
“Just cut them for arrangements in the home and they keep right on blooming,” said Kernaghan.