Rudbeckia fulgida 'Early Bird Gold'

Common Name: black-eyed Susan 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: Yellow rays with dark brown center cone
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in dry to medium, organically rich to average, well-drained soils in full sun. Best bloom occurs in full sun, although plants will tolerate some light shade. Plants prefer consistent moisture throughout the growing season, with some tolerance for drought once established. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions including dry soil, clay soil, and urban environments. Good air circulation is appreciated. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants slowly spread in the garden by rhizomes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rudbeckia fulgida is a herbaceous perennial native to the eastern United States which occurs in both dry and moist soils in open woods, glades and thickets. An upright, rhizomatous, clump-forming, free-blooming coneflower which typically grows to 3' tall, often forming colonies in the wild. Features daisy-like flowers (to 2.5" across) with yellow rays and brownish-purple center disks. Prolific bloom production over a long mid-summer to fall bloom period. Oblong to lanceolate, medium green foliage. Good cut flower. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators. Birds eat the seeds.

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.

The specific epithet fulgida means "shining" or "glistening".

‘Early Bird Gold’ is a compact black-eyed Susan that typically grows to 2’ tall on stiff, upright stems clad with oblong to lanceolate dark green leaves. It was discovered growing in a field of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ at Dupont Nursery in Louisiana. Daisy like flowers (3-4” diameter) with bright yellow rays and dome-shaped dark brown center cones bloom singly atop strong, sometimes-branching stems from mid-June to October. This cultivar is reportedly a day-neutral plant (bloom occurs without regard to day length), hence its extended late spring (early bird) to fall bloom time. U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).


No serious insect or disease problems. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Mass in bold drifts in the perennial border, cottage garden, meadow, native plant garden or naturalized area. Provides excellent bloom and color for the late summer. Good cut flower.