About this cultivar:
Rudbeckia occidentalis is native to the western United States, hence the specific epithet which means ‘western’. It is an erect perennial herb growing from a thick rhizome, its mostly unbranched stem approaching two meters in maximum height. The large leaves are generally oval but pointed, growing to 30 centimeters long. The inflorescence is one or more flower heads with purplish bases up to 6 centimeters wide.
There are no ray florets, just an array of reflexed phyllaries (bracts) around the purple-brown center packed with disc florets. Some people love this, some people hate this, some people are undecided (like me).
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Flowers: August, September, October
- Other features: --
- Hardiness: Fully hardy, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Habit: Clump forming
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 120 - 210 cm (4 - 7 ft)
- Spread: 60 - 150 cm (2 - 5 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Green, black
- Goes well with: --
About this genus:
Rudbeckia (rood-bek-e-a) is a plant genus in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The species are commonly called coneflowers and black-eyed-susans; all are native to North America and many species are cultivated in gardens for their showy daisy-like yellow or gold flower heads, some are even red or brown.
The name was given by Carolus Linnaeus in honor of his teacher at Uppsala University, Professor Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660-1740), and his father Professor Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702), both of whom were botanists. Rudbeckia is one of at least four genera within the flowering plant family Asteraceae whose members are commonly known as coneflowers; the others are Echinacea, Dracopis and Ratibida.
Rudbeckia is a tough summer-flowering perennial grows almost anywhere that isn't full shade or a pond. It is a tough, low maintenance plant which makes it perfect for wet gardens. Where happy, Rudbeckia spreads into a slowly widening clump that gets more floriferous each year. Rudbeckia flowers attract butterflies and the seed heads are a favorite of goldfinches; and they look great in the autumn when the petals fall off.
As for partners, obvious ideas are grasses and other plants int he sunflower family (Asters, sunflowers etc). Try against dark backgrounds. Anyway, I think these look great anywhere.