If not, is there a way to tell which I have?
I have some that are labeled Rudbeckia Irish Eyes.
It is a biennial or short lived perennial. How it performs in your climate will have to answered by someone else. Al
Not a simple answer to this question. Different species behave differently -- some are very perennial and return reliably year after year (R. fulgida or laciniata), others may be biennial or short-lived as a perennial and some act like an annual, surviving only their first season but producing a lot of seed so that offspring may appear in following seasons.
'Irish Eyes' is a cultivar of Rudbeckia hirta, which is generally treated as an annual. It can return, depending on climate and soil conditions, but no guarantees.
It is kinda confusing, but this helps.
I'll just put them in and see what happens. :)
The Rudbeckia hirtas, in my garden, will also reseed, so if you leave a few to go to seed you should have more the next season.
They are definitely worth growing, even if you must start again every year, IMO!
I was under the impression that Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy is a new annual developed by Thompson & Morgan, but I saw a blog post from the west coast showing a newly purchased Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy as perennial. The posted photos showed a clear nursery perennial label, and the plant showing new buds starting like a typical perennial coming back in spring. Does anyone have any experience on this?
keep in mind ... that MANY.. MANY annuals.. are only annual in colder zones..
many are actually perennial.. where they are native ...
that is why ellen .. OP ... is confused ... and the literature is confusing.. etc ..
and her question is technically unanswerable ... what it will be in her garden ... is unknown.. until she tries it ... and i am referring to the newer untested varieties ...
many.. many black eyed susans are fully hardy ...
'Cherry Brandy' is also a selection of Rudbeckia hirta, so at best is a short-lived perennial in a suitable climate. Most of the west coast is very mild so a semi-hardy selection like hirta might very well act as perennial for at least a couple of seasons. But this is not a plant I'd consider a permanent or even long-term garden fixture.
It is interesting to learn that there is a class of annuals/perennials whose life cycle is not a 'pure annual' (i.e. bloom from seeds the same season they are sown and disappear, and are able to regenerate a couple of times in very mild climate). Out of curiosity, can we generalized that ALL (or most) perennials that can bloom the first season from seeds are short-lived similar to Rudbeckia hirta? Are these some form of hybrids between annuals and perennials?
The best I can say is that under different climate and growing conditions plants will behave differently :-) And I doubt you can make any direct correlation between a first year blooming perennial and longevity. I don't do a lot of growing from seed (not enough patience.....need instant gratification :-)) but once many years ago I did start Shasta daises from seed. They bloomed their first season and are still going strong.....more than 25 years later.
There are a number of plants I can think of that teeter-totter back and forth between biennials and true perennials, again depending on growing conditions. And as mentioned previously, there is a large number of true perennials that act as annuals in climates or growing conditions not well to their liking. Rudbeckia hirta seems to fall somewhere in this mix :-)
Thanks gardengal, and my apology to ellenrr for taking part of your thread because of my curiosity.
Zones vary a lot, but I'm zone 6 or 6b & rudbeckias may overwinter once, but like everyone says, better treated as a reseeding annual.
The only other one, other than the aforementioned R. hirta that is not a true perennial (i.e. it's a biennial), at least of the main gardening species, is R. triloba. It also self-sows in favourable conditions. So the rest are indeed perennials.
Found this link, which might explain things further. 2008 was apparently "year of the rudbeckia".......who knew?? :-))
Here is a link that might be useful: Rudbeckias
I've grown numerous cultivars of R. hirta. There have been individual plants that lasted 1, 2, and a very few 3 years. None of the plants have ever made it longer than 3 years. They seem to be a little longer lived if they are planted in a position with good drainage, at least in our winters which are long, cold, and wet.
As Coolplants said, R. triloba seems to act in a similar fashion. Both reseed abundantly!
If you want them to last, plant the Goldsturm variety. They not only return and bloom profusely, but they spread to the point of being invasive. Not that I'm complaining. The plantlets make great gifts.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' is a 100% return for me each year. The plant looks better each year. The quilled yellow blooms last so long. It blooms later than other Rudbeckias. Blooms are smaller but they are numerous and unique. It's great for the back of the flower garden.
Ken, the opposite is also true. Many things that are perennials in cooler climates, we must grow as annuals here in the deep south. Of course, it only works with plants that bloom the first year, otherwise they rot in our hot, humid summers before they can bloom.
My Rudbeckias and Echinaceas produced bountiful see their first season with me (this past spring) and their tags said "Perennial", so we shall see if t hey return.
But, being like a hoarder of other "things", I have collected many, many seed pods and have lots of bottles and bags, Rudbeckia and Echinacea included. Both are incredibly spiky, so I use a pliers in the right hand and a sturdy glove to hold the spiky pod in the other. I can also now (sometimes) differentiate amongst R, E and Meixican Sunflower seeds. The Mexican sunflowers are SPECTACULAR; I highly recommend them and then collecting their pods. (Let all seed pods dry for about a month before dissecting.) And Marigolds? I have, I kid you not, at least 25,000 seeds in bags and bottles. (Christmas presents from us poor church/synagogue mice.)