Black-Eyed-Susan, Perennial

Avg seeds/pkt 300

Black-Eyed-Susan, one of our Northeastern natives, can light up a fallow field or lift a little corner garden from obscurity. I love it mixed with deep-pink and clear-blue flowers. And, as a self-sowing biennial, it ranks among the most helpful varieties for busy gardeners.

Late in the Fall or early in Spring, scatter seeds across a bed or into rows of loosened soil in full sun, and walk over the seeds to tamp them in place. I scatter straw on top to form a very loose netting which helps the soil retain moisture. Water gently and frequently until germination within 8 to 24 days.

Started early enough, plants will bloom the first year. By the second year, plants will grow to be 30 to 36 inches tall, spreading to a width of 12 inches at the base, and covered with long-stemmed blooms. Transplanting and thinning distances can vary depending on the site, but one mature plant every 14 to 18 inches looks natural.

Over-feeding can weaken stems. A granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer worked into the soil before planting, and a light side-dressing later in the Summer should suffice. Remove spent blooms for increased production, or let them self-sow and return for years to come.

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