Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' 

Henry Eileers rudbeckia    Perennial of the Month-- October 2013 Perry caricature




(rude-beck' ee-ah  sub-toe-men-toe' sah)  (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name:  Sweet coneflower or sweet black-eyed Susan

Family:  Asteraceae, aster/daisy

Height x width: 4-5ft x 2-3ft

Growth rate, habit: moderate, narrow and stiffly upright

Foliage: has the scent of vanilla when bruised, dark gray-green 3-6in. long basal leaves (some with 3 lobes), smaller unlobed stem leaves on stiff stems

Flowers:  yellow ray flower starburst pattern with brown cone center of disc flowers, two inches across, quilled ray flowers one of main interests; blooms August north (July south) into early fall

Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8

Soil:  average well-drained, tolerates drought once established

Light:  full sun best, tolerates part shade (4-6 hrs direct sun per day)

Pests and problems:  none significant, may have powdery mildew if poor air circulation

Landscape habit, uses:  native plant and prairie gardens, borders, mass plantings, rain gardens, cut and dried flowers, pollinator gardens; combines well with asters, ornamental grasses, Joe Pye, Helen's flower, hardy hibiscus

Other interest: found in so. Illinois (Montgomery county) among prairie plants by former nurseryman and horticulture Henry Eilers; introduced in 2003 by Larry Lowman of Ridgecrest Nursery (Wynne, AR); native to parts of the midwest including the higher portions of the Ozarks and southern Great Plains; some deer resistance; flowers of species are flat not quilled

Other culture:  divide if needed in spring; removing spent flowers may encourage rebloom or longer bloom; if grown in too much shade, plants may need support

Propagation:  division, seeds (if available)

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries

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