x-Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun'
Rudbeckias are much loved plants, valued highly in the garden for their long flowering season and their striking daisy flowers with a prominent cone at the centre.
These are often black, earning plants the name black eye Susan, but 'Prairie Sun' is a little different - a half hardy annual that really catches the eye. Its unusual golden yellow flowers soften to lemon at the tips and have a cool, acid green flattened cone at the centre. Held on upright, sturdy stems the flowers bloom abundantly from July until the frosts in October, long after the summer sun has gone, and are loved by pollinators such as bees and hoverflies, providing them with a valuable source of late season nectar.
'Prairie Sun' flowers prolifically if the fading flowers are regularly deadheaded, but leave the last few flowers of the season for the birds over the winter who will flock to their russet cones. These bright yellow daisies also make gorgeous, cheery cut flowers for the house, lasting at least 2 weeks in a vase. Give 'Prairie Sun' a fairly heavy, well drained soil but do not let it dry out. It prefers full sun, although it can also cope with a little shade and if given these conditions should self seed and naturalise in the border without much trouble.
Plant in spring or it will also grow well from seed sown in mid to late spring. Looks lovely in a pot for a splash of jolly colour by the front door but also looks stunning with pinks and purples such as echinaceas, verbenas or other hot end of season flowers like heleniums, monarda and crocosmia. Plant, weaving through a border in bold drifts, where it can catch the low autumn sun.