When do you sow Rudbeckia seeds?

pamchesbayDecember 23, 2009

We are advised to sow perennial seeds first, then HA, HHA, and Annuals.

I'm trying to plan the WOW rudbeckia border. When I went to the Park Seeds site, I was confused by the descriptions of the seeds they offer:

Rudbeckia hirta Autumn Colors (Annual)

Rudbeckia hirta Cherokee Sunset (Annual)

Rudbeckia hirta Spotlight (Annual)

Rudbeckia hirta Cappuccino (Perennial)

Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' (Perennial)

Rudbeckia hirta Denver Daisy (Perennial)

Rudbeckia hirta 'Ruby Gold' (Biennial)

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' (HHA, grown as a biennial)

So, when do you sow Rudbeckia seeds? Do you WS now or later (since some are annual)

Does the decision depend on whether that variety is an annual, perennial, biennial, or a HHA grown as a biennial?

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Perennial may be if they're happy in your garden. Some will be and some won't. Those listed as perennials may just be short lived.

I'm not sure of the HHA listing for Cherry Brandy, and if it's grown as a biennial that it's definitely not an HHA. That's just bizarre. I might consider it a short lived perennial--and I haven't yet come across a R. hirta that hasn't bloomed its first year from seed in my garden so again the biennial part is also bizarre.

I treat all R. hirta as hardy annuals. You can sow them anytime you want--now or later. If you're stressed for time this winter you can put the off until middle to end of February.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 10:31PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Pam, I'll let one of the WS experts answer your question, but I'd add Rudbeckia Indian Summer to your list. They are an annual and easily reseed in this area. Very large blossoms and bloom from June till frost.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 10:36PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Like Trudi, I pretty much treat Rudbeckia hirta as annuals, and if they come back, it's icing on the cake. I also let mine go to seed a bit - even though I always sow more just in case, lol.

This may not be much help to you, but I checked through my last few years of records and I sowed them anywhere from February 2nd through April 5th. But it seems most of them were sown by the end of February.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 10:54PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

Also add Swallowtails rustic dwarf mix to your wishlist. They aren't all that dwarf and 1/8 oz of seed (about 3000 - 4000 seeds) is $2.49.

They are nice and pretty:

Sow one pack of those in your seed farm and you should easily harvest 30,000 -100,000 seeds from them for the next growing season. Not to mention that they should self sow easily too. (If I wasn't going to sow goatland this winter/spring I'd have sent you a bunch of these.)

FYI - those are all first year blooms, sown in January and planted out late March/early April.


Here is a link that might be useful: Swallowtail ruds

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:03PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Pam, here's what I've found.

If you sow it in the fall and it germinates, it blooms out in the first year and dies. That would be a biennial. If you sow it in the spring, it blooms the first year, then dies. That would be an annual. If you sow it one year and it keeps on coming back, well that's a perennial. And yes, so far, I have all three Rudbeckia hirta variations in my yard.

Some wintersown last year died after blooming. Others that were sown last fall died after blooming. Still others that were wintersown have yet to bloom and should bloom next year. I expect them to die or become perennials. So the moral...you never know what to expect with these plants, just plant lots and cross your toes.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:03PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

And here's a link to the bulk seed section at Swallowtail

Here is a link that might be useful: Bulk section - see R for ruds

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Awesome, I love Gloriosa Daisies. Are those California Giant Zinnias behind them? It's just an eye-candy bed!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:20PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

The ones right behind the ruds are Paulan70's home garden mix. Further into the garden are second generation ones from Sandhill Preservation's mix.

The rudbeckais and zinnias went a long way for giving my my flower fix last year. A lot of the garden is perennials that won't flower until this year but the ruds and zinnias had passing cars slowing down to admire the garden.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:38PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

Pam -

Here's a link to some of last year's Cherokee Sunset ruds in my garden. Again, sown in January, planted out in March/April.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cherokee Sunset slide show

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:42PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Pam: R. fulgida "Goldsturm" is reliably perennial. The hirtas vary for me from year to year. They seem to last about 2 years but some survive for a third year. In their second year they tend to bloom incredibly, bajillions of flowers, but then suddenly croak after that in mid or late summer.

All of them are pretty winter hardy. I sow them early and plant out early because they always do better once transplanted to a garden bed. They don't need cold strat and will germinate well at any time of year. Mine don't freeze out in winter so much as they suddenly die in 2nd summer after incredibly prolific blooming. I've never lost a rud seedling to spring cold and frost.

Sow them any time of year and expect good germination and survival of seedlings.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 7:16AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I direct sowed a bunch this fall and will wintersow another large number. You can never have too many rudbeckias. I also grow Rudbeckia triloba and R. fulgida, which has been a perennial in my garden for 2 years now and has new basal growth already. R. triloba was a plant I got from Carrie this spring, so we'll see if it comes back. She says it reseeds reliably.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 7:39AM
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I'm so glad you asked this. I was wondering the same thing. I've got Rudbeckia Irish Eyes and Green Wizard. I sowed Irish Eyes yesterday. It sounds like, to be assured of blooms every year, you need to sow every year...?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 7:51AM
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This thread has helped. I bought a R. hirta 'Corona' at my local nursery this year and was told it was a perennial, but what I saw on the web had been confusing. I was able to harvest some seeds, which was good because the Corona was looking suspiciously bad by end of season. Now I'll just treat it like an annual per these posts.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 8:29AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Connie, I would sow twice a year. You can direct sow in early fall. They will live over the winter and bloom early in the spring. Wintersown plants bloom later in the summer. You can have Ruds all summer long that way.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 8:48AM
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gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

I love Goldsturm because it is more self-contained. I have grown others but with a small space, they really take over. Goldsturm is very reliable and well-behaved for me.

Last year I WSd Rud Double Gold (from ebay) in late winter (my first year - it was awesome) and it still bloomed its head off for me the first year. That and the bright tall fuschia colored Dianthus Amazon Neon from Parks, (also bloomed first year) are still blooming! Yikes!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 10:22AM
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Ah, thanks token! Great advice - I will do that!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 11:53AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Connie, as I collect seeds from plants that bloomed in late spring and early summer, I just scatter a few of them back into the beds. I've got lots of little babies out there now. The collected seeds get traded and sown in containers. I'm using an under the bed storage container this year. I still have a small bag full of yellow seeds. I'm gonna have to actually plant some in my meadow garden since I think the birds and heavy rains have gotten to most of mine. I don't see any sprouts out there at all. It's really poor soil though.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 1:25PM
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I'm leaving, driving from lovely RURAL Middlesex County VA into the INSANE traffic of Northern VA, but I wanted to thank you all for your advice. Since others had the same question so I'm glad I asked this "dumb question."

I hope you all have a peaceful holiday (and have time to WS lots of containers).


    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Lynda: Apologies. Please ignore tonight's questions in the thread about mainstays. You answered those questions days ago. I was packing up for the trip to NoVa and didn't read all comments until now.

It's funny - you sent info and links on 12/23. I sent you the same links tonight, 12/26. The holidays and traveling take a toll. And I won't be home til late Monday. ARGGH!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 1:05AM
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