American Gold Rush Black-Eyed SusanRudbeckia fulgida var. deamii ‘American Gold Rush’ (PP# 28,498)
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American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan is a fabulous new variety of this popular perennial, also called Rudbeckia. The independent All-American Selections trials, the best test there is, made it their Winner in 2020, so don’t just take our word for how great it is – take theirs. In bloom from mid-June to mid-September, it is one of the longest-blooming perennials, and a great way to liven up your garden once spring is over, without the work of planting annuals over and over. The profusion of golden-yellow flowers are fabulous, each one 3 inches across, with that rich black center we all love. In bloom it stands close to 2 feet tall, with a basal clump at least that width. It’s big enough to make a real statement, but one or two fit easily into even a small garden. Mass plant it for a spectacular look fronting your shrub beds, or to fill awkward narrow beds. Tough and drought-resistant, it’s great too in casual plantings, meadows and wild gardens – and yes, it’s a bona-fide native plant – just an extra special seedling.
Plant the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan in full sun for the best results, although it will take a little shade without any serious issues. Plant in any well-drained soil, including poor soils, rocky soils and urban gardens. Once established it is very drought-resistant. Rarely troubled by pests or diseases, or by deer. Attracts butterflies and pollinators. Cut out any flowering stems that have no more active blooming, and cut the entire plant to the ground in late fall. Reliably winter-hardy in colder parts of the country.
Planting and replanting annual flowers each year can be fun, but it certainly is a chore – and a significant expense if you add it up over the years. Many gardeners choose perennial plants as a solution, but most of them only bloom for a few weeks, so you need to be clever at choosing varieties if you want at least a few flowers every month of the summer. So what to do? Our advice is to join the rush, and get hold of the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan. This fabulous new take on an old-favorite perennial blooms as long as any annual – from mid-June through September – yet it comes back each year, and once you plant it, it will be there for years. Standing less than 2 feet tall, it makes the perfect edging for a bed, or along a path, and the unusually-large leaves close to the ground make a great groundcover – nothing more is needed. You will love the carpet of large golden blooms, with their cheerful jet-black centers, and how they bring light, color and happiness into your garden. Relax, sit back and let the gold flow – and never plant another annual again.
The American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan is a perennial plant that dies back each year to the ground, keeping a few leaves through winter in warmer zones. It is reliably-hardy (unlike some other types of Black-eyed Susan), yet it performs more like an annual plant, with a very long blooming season. In spring it quickly produces a clump of long, narrow leaves forming a clump on the ground. These are 8 to 9 inches long and just 2 inches wide, and they are mid-green, hairy, but soft, not rough to touch as most Black-eyed Susan are. Almost as soon as the leaves have developed, several stems grow up, with leaves along them that get much smaller towards the top. These rise between 1 and 2 feet into the air, and the basal clump of leaves is 18 inches wide on young plants, spreading over 2 feet wide on older ones. Each stem branches many times, and each branch produces multiple buds, so before you know it your plant is covered in buds, eager to open. And open they do, into gorgeous golden-yellow ‘daisy’ flowers, 2 to 3 inches across, with a dome-shaped, spiky, jet-black center. You can expect to see the first blooms by mid-June, just as your spring shrubs are coming to an end, and more and more flowers just keep on coming right into September. In warm zones blooming may continue ever longer.
You can grow the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan among other perennials, and it looks especially good with blues, purples and purple-reds, as well as with other shades of yellow. Plant it as an edging to beds of shrubs, to keep them colorful through summer, or use it to line a path or driveway. Fill those problematic narrow strips at the foot of walls and fences with it – problem solved. Plant it on slopes and banks, and in the gaps between rocks. Grow it in a wild-flower meadow – it is a native plant, just a seedling selected for its unique long bloom season and short size. Loved by butterflies, and a great source of seeds for birds in fall, it will help turn your garden into a refuge for local wildlife.
Unlike other kinds of Black-eyed Susan that bloom for a long period, the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan is reliably hardy even in zone 4, and grows all across the country, right into zone 9.
The warmth of the sun helps the gold flow, and this plant should be placed in full sun if possible, for maximum blooms over the longest time. It grows well in any well-drained soil, and that includes poor, dry ground, rocky ground, urban gardens and other difficult places. New plants should be watered regularly, but once established it is amazingly drought-tolerant, although the most blooms will be on plants that receive a little more care. It tolerates alkaline soils, and grows anywhere except where it is wet.
Deer don’t bother with the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan, and it is usually free of pests or diseases. You might see some white patches on the leaves when grow in very humid and dry places. This powdery mildew is harmless. To keep blooms coming it pays to do a little dead-heading, but otherwise no special care is needed. Cut down the stems in late fall, once flowering is over, or in early spring, before new growth begins.
The black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia, is an iconic flower of America, found growing wild throughout the eastern states. It usually grows in open meadows and around the edges of woodlands. There are several species and botanical varieties, and a very popular one in gardens is Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii. Brent Horvath comes from a family of nurserymen, and his garden center, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, in Hebron, Illinois, is a center for breeding new and exciting plants. In 2011 he collected seed from some plants of Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii, and grew a large batch of seedlings. Among them was a unique one – much shorter, with smaller, narrower leaves, and an incredibly long bloom-period. He knew he had struck gold, and in 2017, after testing it further and reproducing it from stem pieces, not seed, he received a patent for his new plant, calling it ‘American Gold Rush’.
If you can’t wait to give up planting annuals, but want summer flowers, the American Gold Rush Black-eyed Susan is your solution. If you love to give the Midas touch to your garden, then this plant will do it. But remember the last gold-rush – latecomers missed out, so order your plants right away, while there is still gold on our farm.