Common Name: sweet coneflower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow rays with brown center disk
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil
Best grown in medium moisture soils that are well-drained loams in full sun. Tolerates hot and humid summers and some drought. Appreciates good air circulation. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa, commonly called sweet coneflower, is a Missouri native, nonrhizomatous perennial which occurs on moist prairies, along streambanks and in low areas throughout the State. Typically grows 3-5' tall and features daisy-like flowers (to 3" across) with yellow rays and dark brownish-purple center disks on branched stems. Flowers have a mild aroma of anise, hence the common name. Toothed, gray-green leaves (lower leaves are 3-lobed) are downy below. Long summer-to-early-fall bloom period.
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 downy below for the hairs on the underside of leaves.
‘Henry Eilers’ typically grows to 3-5’ tall on stiff, upright, leafy stems. It was found growing in the wild in a railroad prairie remnant in Montgomery County, Illinois. In general appearance, the flowers are very similar to those of the species, except the yellow rays are rolled instead of flat, giving the flower a quilled effect. Dome-shaped brown center disks. Flowers bloom in clusters atop strong, sometimes-branching stems from July to September. Dark gray-green leaves (3-6” long) in basal clumps (some 3-lobed) with smaller unlobed stem leaves. Leaves have a mild sweet aroma. The cultivar was discovered by Henry Eilers, a well-known nurseryman in southern Illinois, and was introduced by Larry Lowman of Ridgecrest Nursery and Gardens in Wynne, Arkansas in 2003.
No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew may appear. Taller plants may need some support, particularly if grown in part shade.
Borders, cottage gardens, prairies, meadows, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Good cut flower.