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Rudbeckia speciosaRudbeckia speciosa sullivantii
Showy Black-Eyed Susan

The Cherokee used this plant medicinally in various ways, including as a wash against snakebite, so consider black-eyed Susan for protection, especially for the outer edges of your property or living space, and to mend injuries caused by enemies. It also makes an excellent Sun symbol on an altar (cut flowers of this plant usually last a week). This native of northeastern North America is a great Sun plant, and it likes growing in clumps, so try it in a round planting bed. I've read info that the leaves and stems of black-eyed Susan make a gold dye on wool and flowers make an olive green dye (using alum as a mordant), but I think it might be the other way around, since in my experience, yellow flowers tend to make a gold dye on wool with alum as a mordant. The flowers can be orange, golden yellow, or yellow, and they attract bees and butterflies. They are good for cut or dried display. The plant blooms from June-October and will have more flowers if you deadhead it. The seeds are a favorite of goldfinches and other finches, especially in winter. Top

This plant spreads by seeds (each flower makes 200-300 of them) and by rhizomes underground. Most rudbeckias are ill-mannered towards other plants, but this one is fairly restrained. It is still a good idea, though, to give it its own patch. This is the wild version of the domesticated variety called "Goldsturm" and although this plant's flowers are slightly smaller, it will bloom for a longer time than that cultivar. Showy black-eyed Susan is also known as
orange coneflower, brilliant coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa, and Rudbeckia speciosa. Top

How to grow black-eyed Susan
Cold stratify at near freezing for one month, then germinate with warmth (82-88F/28-31C). You can also try just planting them like any annual. Transplant 18"/45cm apart to full sun in the north and partial shade in the south. It prefers moist soil and will get 2-3ft/60-90cm tall and 2ft/60cm wide. It usually forms a rosette the first year and then flowers from the second year on. You can divide the clumps every third year in the spring if you want. This plant lives 3-10 years but will reproduce through rhizomes and seeds. It is hardy down to zone 3 (-30F/-34C). General growing info. Top

Rudbeckia speciosa sullivantii
Showy Black-Eyed Susan
200 seeds $3.50



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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection Spells
Sun Herb

2008, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission