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How to Plant, Grow and Care  for Black Eyed-Susan Flowers

Black-eyed Susan-Black-eyed Susan flowering-plant

Swallowtail butterfly on black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan produces a golden to a yellowish flower that is so beautiful, this garden beauty is classified as a wild flowering plant and can be found growing in open fields. The black-eyed Susan is a member of the sunflower family and is native to North and Eastern America, this perennial is a drought-tolerant plant that can withstand extreme heat blooming mostly during the summer months.

It’s believed that the black-eyed Susan was used as a medical herb during the early days of its discovery. Black-eyed Susan also attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This garden beauty will make the perfect plant for your summer garden. For more on how to care for black-eyed Susan that has so much to offer let’s take a closer look.

The planting location

You can either purchase black-eyed Susan as a bedding plant during springtime or start them from seeds indoors at the beginning of spring before the last frost or sow them directly into the ground as the weather warms up. Black-eyed Susan loves sunny areas though they can thrive in partial sun and grows to about 3 ft or taller with a spread of 12 to 18 inches.

Type soil

Black-eyed Susan can grow in a variety of soils and prefers a neutral soil ph.

Watering methods

Black-eyed Susan is drought tolerant so care should be taken when watering, water only when the topsoil feels dry because overwatering can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing methods

Twice a year is ideal when fertilizing black-eyed Susan, a general granular all-purpose slow-release fertilizer is ideal.

Garden pests of the black-eyed Susan

Garden pests of the black-eyed Susan are as followed.

Butterfly on black-eyed susan

Butterfly on black-eyed Susan

  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Aphids
  • Tarnish plant bug
  • Thrips
  • Leafhoppers
  • Lace bugs
  • Cucumber beetles

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and Snails cause damage by eating plant parts, these pests will leave a slimy trail behind, to get rid of slugs and snails handpicking and throwing them into a bucket of soapy water or the use of snail baits will bring control.

Aphids

Aphids are pared shaped insects that can be either brown, black, green, yellow and even red.  Aphids are sucking insects that will cause flower drop, their excrement that is a sugary substance will cause black mold to form giving garden plants a sickly appearance. Insecticidal soap will bring control. Before applying read and follow the manufacturer’s direction for best results.

Tarnish plant bug

These bugs attack flower buds and cause distorting of the leaves. The use of insecticidal soap will bring control.

Thrips

Thrips are tiny insects with two pairs of fringed wings and a slender body. Thrips are sucking insects that will extract the plant’s fluids causing pants to become twisted and distorted when heavily infested. Plants will lose its vigor becoming pale, the use of neem oil, insecticidal soap or releasing predatory insects such as ladybugs and lace wigs will bring control.

Black-eyed Susan flowers

Black-eyed Susan flowers

Leafhoppers

Leafhoppers have wedge-shaped bodies that are slender, damage includes the edges of the leaves taking on a burnt appearance with stippling and death. These garden insect pests will overwinter in the leaf liter therefore keeping the flower bed clean of debris is a must. Leafhoppers also cause aster yellow.

Aster yellow causes deformed leaves and flowers, there is no cure for this disease. The use of Sevin along with the removal of infected plant parts and properly disposing of will bring control.

Lace bugs

Lace bugs are tiny insects that have intricate veining wings that resemble lace. Young lace bugs are nymphs that are black, both the adult and the nymphs can be found congregating on the underside of the plant’s leaves. This garden insect pests suck the plan’s sap which causes yellowing of the leaves along with discoloration on the underside. Pesticides such as insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or marathon will bring control.

Cucumber beetles

These beetles are greenish-yellow with black spots on their wings, cucumber beetles feed on flowers, new growth, and pollen. Because they overwinter in the leave litter ensure that the flower bed is free of debris. Cucumber beetles can be controlled with beneficial nematodes, predatory insects or handpicking.

Diseases of the black-eyed Susan

Diseases to keep an eye out for.

Black-eyed Susan flower garden

Black-eyed Susan flower garden

  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Leaf spot
  • Smut

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is brought on by warm conditions along with poor air circulation. The fungus that causes this disease will weaken the plant’s younger leaves followed by yellowing. A powdery white substance will cover parts of the plant’s leaves, with a hand pruner remove infected plant parts and properly dispose of. The use of a fungicide that is labeled for this disease will bring control. Before using fungicides read and follow the manufacturer’s direction for best results.

Rust

Rust is a fungal disease that is brought on by moist mild conditions, this disease is spread by spores that are transferred from an infected plant to healthy plants. These spores are spread by the wind or water, signs of this disease include yellow to orange spots that appear on the leaves underside,

Yellow or white spots may appear on the upper leaves, spores may appear in infected spots, orange to reddish blisters or swellings will appear on the leaves underside, these swellings are called pustules. The leaves become distorted followed by leaf drop. This disease is difficult to control, to combat avoid splashing water on plants by watering from the soil level.

Remove all infected parts and properly dispose of, keep your plants free of debris by keeping plant clean, ensure that adequate spacing is given for proper air circulation. Early in the season dust your plants with sulfur to discourage this disease, the use of a fungicide that’s labeled for rust can offer help.

Black-eyed Susan flowers

Black-eyed Susan flowers

Leaf spot

Leaf spots can be brought on by fungus or bacteria, signs show up as spots on the leaves that are various sizes and colors depending on the plant that’s infected. Spots are most often brown but will appear black or tan with concentric rings or dark margins that appear, black dots may appear in the infected spot known as fungal bodies.

If these conditions are allowed to persist the spots will enlarge to form blotches, followed by yellowing of the leaves and defoliation. Wet conditions cause spores to splash on the leaves also windy conditions will encourage this disease. To avoid leaf spot disease water plants from the soil level.

Remove infected plant parts and debris properly disposing of, give the plant the right spacing for proper air circulation along with thinning. Avoid over-fertilizing and keep the plants leaves as dry as possible. The use of a fungicide will offer help. Before using fungicides read and follow the manufacture’s direction for best results.

Smut

Smut causes circular yellow spots to form on leaves as the disease progress these spots will dry and brown. The use of a fungicide that contains mancozeb will bring this disease under control. Read and follow the manufacture’s direction for the best results. Keeping your garden free of debris, decaying matter and weeds will help in keeping this smut at bay.

Growing black-eyed Susan from containers

When growing black-eyed Susan from a container ensure there are drain holes for water drainage, fill about one-third of the container with gravel which will also aid with good drainage. Fill the container with good potting soil, followed by adding your seeds. Press seeds about 1/4 inch into the soil and 8 inches apart.

Moisten the soil, don’t allow the soil to dry out completely. In about a week or two, your seeds will germinate. Followed instruction as stated above when it comes to maintenance of your black-eyed Susan.

Deadheading black-eyed Susan

Deadheading is a must to keep your black-eyed Susan growing healthy, the ideal time to deadhead black-eyed Susan is when it is about to set seed. If you allow your black-eyed Susan to set seed it will stop producing buds and flower bloom putting all of its energy into seed production. As you continue to deadhead will prevent seeds from forming allowing the flowers to produce new buds.

Grasp the faded flower gently beneath the flower head, at the base of the stem look for the topmost set of leaves, above the stem joint make 1/4 cut through the stem removing the spent flower. Birds are attracted to these plants because they use the seeds for food especially during the winter months.

The final word on black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan is a great summer plant that will do well in your summer garden, these garden beauties are not fussy and will do the job for you. Their ability to thrive under extreme heat along with having a high tolerance for drought and attracting wildlife and other pollinators makes this plant a must with its golden to yellow flower. Invest in black-eyed Susan and watch as this garden plant goes to work for you.