Easy Fall Gardening with Brown-Eyed Susan

The Brown-eyed Susan is a native biennial plant that acts like a perennial because of its prolific self-sowing.

I’ve been talking about my vegetable garden a lot lately, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the flowers in my cottage garden. One of my all-time favorites is the Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) because it brightens up every corner where it appears.

My crop of Brown-eyed Susans started years ago with one plant I bought at a garden club plant sale. That one plant bloomed the following summer and I loved its little yellow flowers with dark brown centers.

The next year there were more Brown-eyed Susans that had self-sown along the side of my driveway. The next year they had spread to the front bed. And sow they’ve sown themselves, year after year to create fabulous fall borders. These flowers make gardening so easy.

This coneflower is actually a biennial, but it acts like a perennial because of its capacity to self-seed. The long-lasting blooms start in mid-summer and last through the fall. I leave on the seed heads during the winter, partly as seed for birds and partly to expand my crop for next season.

In spring, I cut the dead stems back to the rosettes of fuzzy green leaves that pop up when I’m not looking.

The flowers grow on tall stems and make nice cut flowers for the dining room table.  I’ve often thought they look like the little round yellow and brown honeybees that like their pollen.

If you’d like to add some Brown-eyed Susans to your landscape or xeriscape, make a note to plant in spring. You’ll be rewarded in bunches.


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