Rudbeckia (half hardy annual)

There are several annuals with flowers which look like large yellow or orange Daisies – Rudbeckia is the one with the large and cone-like central disc. It is a fine late-flowering plant which produces masses of large blooms for garden display and indoors-immerse the cut ends in boiling water for about half a minute before arranging. Yellow, orange and deep red are the colours – bi-colours are available.

VARIETIES: R. hirta comes in many varieties and hybrids. For the largest flowers choose the ‘Giant Tetraploid Hybrid’ (’Gloriosa Daisy’) – the blooms are 7 in. across. ‘Marmalade’ (1.5 ft) is half the height and the flowers are smaller, but the golden orange shade is most attractive. ‘Irish Eyes’ has a green cone instead of the usual dark one and the baby is ‘Dwarf Gem’ (1 ft). ‘Double Gloriosa Daisies’ have extra petals in place of a central cone.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 1-3 ft.

Spacing: 1-2 ft.

Flowering period: August-October.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Alternatively in mild areas sow seeds outdoors in mid April.

The Flowering period for annuals

For nearly all annuals and biennials lies somewhere between the beginning of June and the end of October. However, by careful selection you can have flowers in the annual bed or border almost all year round. For each month there is a list of annuals and biennials which can be expected to be in full bloom – remember that some of these plants may come into flower earlier and can continue to bloom for many weeks afterwards.

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