Content Detail

Black-eyed Susan produces showy, yellow daisylike flowers from summer into early fall with brownish-black center disks. It is a short-lived perennial or biennial that readily self-seeds. Black-eyed Susan is a pleasing addition to a native garden, pollinator garden, or cut-flower garden. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Wildlife Birds, Butterflies, Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Black-eyed Susan is typically between 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. The plants spread by self-seeding. 

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

The native range of black-eyed Susans includes the entire continental United States except California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado. C Value: 1.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Black-eyed Susan attracts a variety of bees, birds, and butterflies. 

Leaf description:

The leaves and stems of black-eyed Susan are covered in fuzzy-looking hair and are a medium grayish-green. The leaves at the base of the plant are attached by winged stalks (petioles). The petioles shorten as the leaves ascend the stem, and the upper leaves may be stalkless. The leaves can reach 6 inches long and 2 inches wide, and tend to be long and narrow (lanceolate to oblanceolate) or shorter and more rounded (ovate). 

Flower description:

Black-eyed Susan flowers are daisylike composites of petallike ray flowers and a center of disk flowers that are approximately 3 inches in diameter. The ray flowers are a bright yellow to orangish-yellow in color. The center is elongated into a dome and the disk flowers are dark chocolate to black in color. Surrounding the bases of the flowerheads are layers of hairy, pointed, leaflike bracts.

Fruit description:

The center of disk flowers produce small, dry, four-angled, brown to black fruit (achenes). 



Plant Care:

Deadheading black-eyed Susan can help to maintain appearance and encourage additional blooms, however, as a biennial, this is a plant that may benefit from allowing self-seeding to maintain populations. In ideal conditions, some division may be necessary. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Black-eyed Susans can suffer from powdery mildew. Slugs and snails are pests of black-eyed Susan. Once established, they are deer resistant. Black-eyed Susans can tolerate heat, salt, some drought, and a variety of soils as long as they drain well.


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