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Kim Eierman

Kim Eierman

Founder of EcoBeneficial!

Available for virtual and in-person landscape consulting, talks and classes.

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A Rudbeckia Which Attracts Lots of Pollinators?

My Black-eyed Susan doesn’t seem to attract many pollinators.  Are there any similar plants which do?

Answer:

You are right – neither Rudbeckia hirta nor the similar Rudbeckia fulgida attract a ton of pollinators.  Both of these plants are often referred to as Black-eyed Susan, hence the confusion of common plant names.  You will see some insects on these plants, but not in the abundance as with some other plants.  I do like to include Black-eyed Susan(s) in my landscape, particularly for seed-eating birds which love their seeds.  They are also host plants for several butterflies.

If you are in the market for a different kind of Rudbeckia, think about Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf Coneflower).  This plant seems to attract many more pollinators and is very easy to grow.  Here are some details on the plant:

Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf Coneflower)

– Hardy in zones 3 to 9.
– Native range is from Quebec to Montana, south to Florida and Arizona.
– It is a member of the Aster family.
– Likes moist, slightly acidic, fertile soil in full sun to part sun.
– In full sun it will require more moisture.
– The mature plant size is 3 to 6 feet high x 3 to 4 feet wide.
– Spreads by underground stems, so give it room in the garden.

The flower heads of Cutleaf Coneflower are 2 ½” to 3” across and attract many pollinating insects including: long-tongued and short-tongued bees (including honey bees), predatory wasps, butterflies, skippers, moths, some beetles and flies.

Cutleaf Coneflower is a host plant for caterpillars of the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly and several moths.

Leave the stems and dried flower heads standing through winter to provide seeds for Goldfinches.

Hope that helps!

Best,

Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

Photo: Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf Coneflower)

 

 

 

 

 

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