Rudbeckia maxima
Common Name: large coneflower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central and southern United States
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Yellow rays surround dark brown center cone
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


This perennial coneflower is easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Tolerates heat, some drought and a somewhat wide range of soils. Best in moist, organically rich soils. May be grown from seed. In optimum growing conditions, the species will naturalize by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rudbeckia maxima, commonly called large coneflower, features a basal clump of huge, glaucous, paddle-shaped, bluish-green leaves (to 24” long and 10” wide) from which rise in summer sturdy, sparsely-leaved flower stalks to 7’ tall bearing yellow-rayed coneflowers (to 3” across). Each coneflower has slightly drooping rays and tall dark brown central cones ranging from 2-6” high. Flowers bloom in summer. This coneflower is a coarse perennial that is native to open wooded areas, moist prairies, pastures and along roads and railroad tracks in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas, but has been introduced in several other states including Missouri and South Carolina. Basal foliage is evergreen in warm winter climates. Flower stalks may be left in place after bloom so goldfinches can enjoy the seed.

Another common name for this plant is cabbage leaf coneflower in reference to the basal leaves.

Genus name honors Olof Rudbeck (1630-1702) Swedish botanist and founder of the Uppsala Botanic Garden in Sweden where Carl Linnaeus was professor of botany.

Specific epithet means largest in reference to the large size of this Rudbeckia.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to powdery mildew. Watch for slugs and snails on young plants.


A native wildflower that is an excellent addition to naturalized areas, wildflower meadows, prairies, cottage gardens, native plant gardens and borders.