13 Black-Eyed Susan Varieties

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Black-eyed Susan plants are adored as garden plantings because of their easy-going, low-maintenance nature. They love the heat and sun, tolerate a range of soil conditions, and are fairly drought tolerant. Tucked in with other flowers, they provide a beautiful accent of color.

The name alone likely conjures images of palm-sized golden-yellow flowers with the characteristic dark chocolate center disc. Surprisingly, there are beautiful differences between some Black-eyed Susan varieties, ranging from deep red flowers to bright green centers.

With over 40 different varieties available to choose from, picking one or two for your garden can be difficult. To help you narrow down the selection here are some varieties to consider.

13 black eyed susan varieties to consider growing in your own garden

Indian Summer

With some of the largest blooms of the different varieties available, Indian Summer makes a fantastic addition to your garden. This award-winning type combines six to nine-inch semi-double and single flowers and blooms profusely from early spring until frost. It is largely disease and trouble-free. Flowers are deer resistant, and may self seed.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 3 to 7

Plant Height: 3’

Flower Size: 6 to 9”

Ray Color: Golden yellow

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

Cherokee Sunset

Grown as an annual or short-lived perennial, Cherokee Sunset is a beautiful blend of “sunset” colors, including bronze, dark orange, and golden yellow. Impressive double or semi-double flowers blossom from early summer through to the first frost, almost covering the bright green, bushy foliage. Cherokee Sunset is an All-American Selections winner and a recipient of the Fleuroselect Quality Award.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Height: 2 to 3’

Flower Size: 3 to 4”

Ray Color: Orange, golden yellow, bronze, chocolate, and various bicolors

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

Cherokee sunset have beautiful orange and bronze petals.

Denver Daisy

Bred to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Denver, Ernst Benary Seeds created the uniquely colored, heat tolerant, compact Denver Daisy. The golden yellow rays look like they have been hand-painted with rich mahogany accents. Plants bloom from early summer through to the first frost, and the stems do not flop over. Denver Daisy is also heat tolerant and deer resistant.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Height: 24” tall

Flower Size: 3 to 4”

Ray Color: Golden yellow with rich mahogany accents

Center Disc: Dark chocolate cone

The Denver Daisy rudbeckia is known for its sunburst pattern of appearance

Cherry Brandy

Cherry Brandy is not your standard yellow coloration, making it a unique and stunning plant for your garden. It is a British introduction and is the first-ever red variety to come from seed. The deep dark red flowers bloom from early summer to fall. After a few seasons, the short-lived perennial ready self-seeds to continually accent your garden.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 4 to 7

Plant Height: 1 to 2’

Flower Size: 3 to 4”

Ray Color: Deep crimson with bright cherry red tips

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

The flower of the cherry brandy is a deep crimson red.

Prairie Glow

Prairie Glow is a perfect addition, especially paired with tall ornamental grasses if you’re building a late-season garden. The highly branched burgundy stems are topped with single flowers of brilliant red-orange with yellow tips. Prairie Glow blooms from mid-summer until frost. Plants are robust, highly disease resistant, and the seeds are loved by finches.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 4 to 8

Plant Height: 3 to 4’

Flower Size: 5”

Ray Color: Red-orange with yellow tips

Center Disc: Dark chocolate cone

Prairie glow is a black eyed susan that has red-orange with yellow tips

Maya

Looking more like mums than what you typically think of as a Black-eyed Susan, Maya is the first-ever Rudbeckia with 4 to 5-inch, fully double, marigold-like blossoms. This newer introduction is rapidly gaining popularity because of its flowers and compact, dwarf stature. Maya is a late bloomer, flowering from July until frost.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Height: 12 to 18”

Flower Size: 3.5 to 4.5”

Ray Color: Golden yellow, with small light green rays around the center

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

The maya rudbeckia is a beautiful variety with a distinct look

Moreno

Also known as the dwarf gloriosa daisy, the 12-inch high dwarf Moreno works well in containers or at the front of garden beds. Fully double blossoms open as a warm bronze dipper in gold, turning to stunning mahogany as the season progresses. The rich jewel-toned blooms make excellent cut flowers, lasting up to 2 weeks in a vase.

Life Cycle: Annual, Biennial, Perennial

Growing Zone: 3 to 7

Plant Height: 12”

Flower Size: 3”

Ray Color: Burgundy and orange

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

Prairie Sun

Prairie Sun is unique with its bright green foliage and light green center discs. Flowers are bright orange with yellow tips and display a more consistent color pattern from flower to flower than other varieties. Prairie Sun blooms from early summer to frost and commonly attracts butterflies and soldier beetles. Tall, sturdy flower stems make excellent specimens for cuttings or arrangements.

Life Cycle: Biennial

Growing Zone: 3 to 8

Plant Height: 2 to 3’

Flower Size: 5”

Ray Color: Bright orange with yellow tips

Center Disc: Light green

Goldsturm

Goldstrum is one of the most popular varieties grown in home gardens for its characteristic look. This type forms huge colonies in the wild, blooming from midsummer through to early fall. It is a long-lived perennial that reliably produces great masses of rich golden-yellow flowers. Plants thrive in full sun or partial shade and can tolerate a range of soil conditions.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Height: 3’ tall

Flower Size: 3 to 4”

Ray Color: Golden yellow

Center Disc: Dark brown cone

Goldsturm is one type that is very commonly grown and easy to recognize

Golden Glow

Much taller than the others, Golden Glow plants reach an astonishing 8 feet. Introduced n the Victorian era, the dark green foliage maintains its color all season long and is topped with double flowers in a bright yellow. Due to their height, the stems tend to bend or flop over when filled with blooms and the flowers have no distinct center disc.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Height: 8’

Flower Size: 3”

Ray Color: Golden yellow

Center Disc: No distinct center

Henry Eilers

The most unique variety on the list, Henry Eilers is also known as the Quilled Brown-Eyed Susan. This variety has an incredibly unique petal shape, making the flowerheads look like asterisks on an upright stem with dark greyish green, fragrant leaves. Instead of the traditional flat petals, Henry Eilers’ flowers have sparse, spiky-looking rolled petals that give them their namesake quilled look.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 4 to 8

Plant Height: 4 to 6’

Flower Size: 3”

Ray Color: Butter yellow

Center Disc: Chocolate

Summerina Orange

A stunning cross between echinacea and a Black-eyed Susan, Summerina Orange displays gorgeous orange and rusty orange blooms through an Incredibly long blooming season. Vigorous and fast-growing, these plants are compact and easily propagated by seed. Summerina Orange is excellent for attracting pollinators to your garden, and its rich colors make an eye-catching flower arrangement.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 6 to 10

Plant Height: 1 to 2’

Flower Size: 3”

Ray Color: Orange with rusty-orange inner halo

Center Disc: Dark chocolate cone

Summerina orange has a rusty-orange halo

Early Bird Gold

Early Bird Gold is one of the longest blooming Black-eyed Susan varieties, displaying flowers from late spring through the first frost. Newly discovered, Early Bird Gold are day-length neutral plants allowing them to bloom earlier in the season than other varieties, lasting until later in the fall. Their dark brown center disc is larger than others, and plants are incredibly drought tolerant.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Growing Zone: 4 to 10

Plant Height: 2’

Flower Size: 3 to 4”

Ray Color: Bright golden yellow

Center Disc: Dark chocolate

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About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.

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