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Black-Eyed Susan, Maryland’s State Flower

blackeyed susan

Rudbeckia fulgida, popularly called the Black-Eyed Susan, is Maryland’s State Flower and incredibly popular with local gardeners, for its many good qualities.   Looks great  with grasses and the seedheads of Monarda, or with just about anything.  Shown is the popular variety ‘Goldstrum,’ voted Perennial of the year in 1999.

The species is native to the Southern and Eastern U.S.


  • Long bloom time, from July into September.
  • Requires full sun or light shade.
  • Spreads freely by seedling.
  • Hardy down to Zone 3.


  • Fairly drought-tolerant once established. (Newly planted, they need to be watched and watered regularly their first season.)
  • No need to divide.
  • Most gardeners leave the attractive seedheads standing all winter for the birds. Others remove the dead flowers to prevent spreading.
  • Pinching in May can produce bushier, shorter plants, but I’ve never done it myself. The variety ‘Goldstrum’ is short enough to not need pinching.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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