Brown Eyed Girl in the September Garden

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my favorite Rudbeckia is Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba). Though the common name is puzzling – is the eye any more brown than either of the Rudbeckia species commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan (R. hirta and R. fulgida)?


But let’s not split hairs.

Right now, Brown-Eyed Susan is certainly the most abundant of all the blooms to be found in the front garden. Indeed, this short-lived perennial flower can bloom from July to October, but is probably at its peak in early September.


Brown-Eyed Susan is a cheerfully generous plant, which is why I am so fond of it. She is generous with her blooms – see through masses of golden-yellow daisies.


She is generous in her tolerance for varied conditions – sun or light shade, moist or dry soil. I’ve found that she happily adapts to being cut back hard. This can be necessary as Brown-Eyed Susan can grow up to 5′ in garden conditions.


Though rather short-lived, she generously provides  gardeners with her many offspring. Once you have a single Brown-Eyed Susan, you should never have to buy another one. I appreciate the fact that there are always a few extra Brown-Eyed Susans around to fill in empty spots that appear in beds and borders.

Admittedly, it is possible to have too many Brown-Eyed Susans. However, that is easily remedied.


Brown-Eyed Susan’s light, cloud-like mass of flowers goes well with the grasses that come into their own at this time of year.


Still, I wish there were a better common name for this species. It is also known as Branched Coneflower or Three-Leaved Coneflower, but those names seem terribly unromantic. So – Brown-Eyed Susan it is.

45 Comments on “Brown Eyed Girl in the September Garden”

  1. I think R. triloba is my favorite Rudbeckia too, Jason.

    Great minds think alike! 😉

    It’s actually my first year growing brown-eyed Susan. I have her in a fairly shady spot, so she didn’t grow that large, but she is flowering prettily. I hope she’ll give me some volunteers next year that I can transplant to sunnier areas. Do seedlings transplant easily?

  2. I love most things that will romp around a garden and show up in unexpected places. As I spy your Tithonia in the background, I am kicking myself yet again for failing to grow it this year. Orange will always win out over yellow here, but I do love Susan in your garden.

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