Rudbeckia comes in various varieties and hues but many of them have gorgeous velvety colours that really cheer up the garden with a series of blooms in September and October. For this reason they are a great 'Indian Summer' plant and can prolong the lush, harvest feel for longer, sometimes even into November in a mild year.

Where to grow rudbeckia?

The key thing when it comes to growing rudbeckia is to choose the right variety. Rudbeckia vary considerably – both in colour and size. For example, while some grow only to a height of around 18 inches, others can be six feet tall. So of course some varieties could potentially overwhelm in a very small garden.

Rudbeckia will grow well in full sun and can tolerate some slight shade. They grow best in a well-draining soil and will even tolerate drought conditions. Though they will benefit from a fertile soil and will do better in ground that has been amended with some good organic compost.

Rudbeckia are relatively hassle free and have quite good disease resistance so this annual flower shouldn't give you too much trouble and so can be a great plant for a low-maintenance annual border or mixed cottage garden.

When to sow rudbeckia seeds?

Rudbeckia can be grown from seed, started indoors or in a greenhouse under glass. Most should be sown some time between February and April. Seeds will take around 14-21 days to germinate.

How far apart to plant rudbeckia?

As the seedlings begin to grow they should be individually potted on or thinned to around 30cm apart. This is to allow them to become full and healthy plants by the time you come to plant them out in the autumn.

When planting out into their final position, you should still try to keep at least 30cm between each plant, though exact spacing requirements will depend on the variety you have planted. Of course, if you do not fancy growing these from seed then the plant plugs are readily available in the late summer/early autumn.

Why grow rudbeckia in the garden?

As well as providing a wide range of attractive garden flowers for the autumn season, the Rudbeckia also provides several medicinal and beneficial herbs. Echinacea, for example, is also known as Rudbeckia purperea. It is included in a range of herbal remedies. Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia Hirta, is also said to have a range of properties beneficial to health.

Rudbeckia are also good for increasing biodiversity in the garden and seed heads of some varieties can be left on the plant to give a source of food for birds and other garden creatures.

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