Denver Daisy disappoints my Western Garden

The Denver Daisy was selected to commemorate Denver’s 150th birthday last year.

denver-daisy-blogOne of the big disappointments in my garden this spring was looking for the return of the Denver Daisies I planted last year. Because this plant is a Rudbeckia, and the progency of Rudbeckia hirta (a Colorado native) and Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’, I assumed it was a perennial and would make an appearance again this year.

It didn’t pop up with the other perennials in two different flower beds, but I kept looking. I had grown fond of this plant since it was so hard to start from seed and because its flowers were large and beautiful; golden petals streaked with dark red. Once they were established, they were easy to care for, too.

Many free seed packets were distributed throughout the Metro area with the goal of gardens of these daisies ready to welcome visitors to the Democratic National Convention.

I had some success growing them because I started the seeds in pots and babied them along until they were large enough to plant in the landscape. But I remember reading that other gardeners had a difficult time directly seeding them in the garden. They needed constant moisture and they took about 3 weeks to germinate.

I’m a big fan of Plant Select, the program that selected and introduced the Denver Daisy, but I can’t imagine why this Rudbeckia was selected for this special promotion. The description on the Plant Select website lists the plant as a “tender perennial.”

When I was cleaning off the garden bench this weekend, I found the plant stake from the Denver Daisy transplants I had also planted. There in teeny-tiny print is the answer to some of my disappointment. Hardiness: Annual.


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I also enjoyed this plant, although I was aware that it was an annual. Soooo this year I bought about 200 seeds to start indoors. I planted them in peat pots just this morning. Wish me good luck.

I was introduced to this plant (Denver Daisy) while working at a nearby nursery a couple years ago, at the end of the planting season some were left and were about to be tossed so I took several home, transplanting them to the ground (from pots) seemed to set them back and they never quite recovered. Last year volunteers showed up and though they didn’t all transplant well with some replacements I made a border along a path, subsequently they were the hit of the summer! It is ironic that I should find this article today as I was outside an hour ago potting up some volunteers to sell at flea market and setting some out along the path they “lit-up” last summer for an encore!

Wow–the daisy must love your yard! I’m so glad to hear to this because the flower really is gorgeous.

Thanks for letting me know.

Yes, Jodi, they are lovely and very interesting too as some will have varying coloring of blossoms, they vary considerably in the amount of dark coloring on petals.

I purchased this plant today from a very-good nursery. This Monrovia-grown plant had a sticker on, along with the price, $16 plus tax, that states minimum of -10 degrees to 0 degrees, with a USDA coldiness zone of 6 to 9. The plant is GORGEOUS and very floriferous. I am going to baby it to no end……

I know you’ll love this plant–it’s beautiful when in bloom. I just wish it were a little hardier for my garden.

Good luck with your plant Jodi, I have sold many starts at flea market (printed out a picture from last year so had tht to show buyers) and some of mine are starting to show buds – am looking forward to more colorful blooms!
Here in MN we do get we below zero in winters and seeds seem to be okay outside in those tempts and plants reseed themselves.
Summer is here, enjoy!

Thanks for your note, Ann. I’m not growing any Denver Daisies this year–but I am fond of them. I’m glad to hear they do well in MN. Here’s to a great gardening season for all of us!

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