Black-Eyed Susan, Orange Coneflower, Sullivant’s Coneflower
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’
rud-BEK-ee-ah FULL-jih-dah sul-lih-VANT-ee-eye
1999 Perennial Plant of the Year
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii (C.L.Boynton & Beadle) Cronquist is the correct and accepted scientific infraspecific name for this plant. It was described as such by Arthur John Cronquist in Rhodora in 1945. It was previously described as Rudbeckia sullivantii by C.L. Boynton and Chauncey Delos Beadle in Biltmore Botanical Studies in 1901.
Rudbeckia fulgida Aiton was named and described by William Aiton in Hortus Kewensis in 1789.
The genus, Rudbeckia L., was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second edition of the first volume of Species Plantarum in 1753. Plants of the World Online currently lists 24 accepted species in the Rudbeckia genus (as of May 24, 2019 when this page was updated). This number doesn’t include possible infraspecific names within each species.
The cultivar ‘Goldsturm’ was introduced by Karl Foerster of Potsdam, Germany in 1937. It is more compact and bushier than the species with larger and brighter flowers. The industry often offers this plant as Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’.
My Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ was given to me by good friend and fellow plant collector, Walley Morse, of Greenville, Mississippi. I’m not sure if he gave it to me in the fall of 2011 or the spring of 2012. I planted it in the corner bed by the front porch and west sunroom where it did very well.
Sullivant’s Coneflower is the common name for the former Rudbeckia sullivantii which is a synonym of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii. Many Rudbeckia species, including Rudbeckia fulgida, are quite variable from one location to another. This has led to several taxonomic disputes. The other dispute is the common name. Rudbeckia fulgida and Rudbeckia hirta are both called the Brown-Eyed Susan and Black-Eyed Susan depending on what site you are on. Rudbeckia fulgida is also known as the Orange Coneflower. In other words, Sullivant’s Coneflower is a variety of the Orange Coneflower.
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Origin: North America
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-9b (-40 to 25° F)
Size: 24-36” tall and wide
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Average, well-drained soil
Water: Average water needs. Prefers consistent moisture but are somewhat drought tolerant.
Notes: Deadhead flowers for repeat bloom and to keep the plant tidy.
They aren’t really that particular about the soil type as long as it is well-drained and moderately fertile. They prefer consistent moisture, but they are also somewhat drought tolerant. If they start to droop, it is a good sign they need a little water.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is a long-lived perennial that spreads by underground rhizomes. They produce masses of bright yellow flowers with brown cones throughout the summer without fail. The flowers are enjoyed by butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
My first summer with the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ went very well. It was a constant bloomer for sure. The only maintenance is removing spent flowers to keep it looking tidy and to encourage more flowers.
<<<<2013 IN MISSOURI>>>>
After I sold the mansion in Mississippi, dad wanted me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. So, in February 2013, I made the move. I gave up around 200 potted plants but brough many plants with me including the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’.
I made a new bed along the south side of my parents home which is where I originally put this plant. There were some issues, though.
Rudbeckia fulgida is one of nine species of Rudbeckia that are native to Missouri. However, the Missouri Department of Conservation website only has information on three species and Rudbeckia fulgida isn’t one of them.
I put most of the perennials I brought from Mississippi in the new south bed. I also bought several more plants from an Ebay seller and put most of them in this same bed. There were already a group of Cannas and two Crap Myrtles (I mean, Crape Myrtles).
I first moved to this farm after my grandpa (my mother’s father) passed away in April 1981. Grandpas house was on the other side of the driveway in what is now called the “other yard” or “over there”, which is where I lived. There were a few Crape Myrtle bushes along the south side of the house which I didn’t like. One year they didn’t come back up so I planted a row or Red Barberry. Well, after that, a few Crape Myrtle sprouts would come up now and then. After I moved, dad got rid of the Red Barberry because he didn’t like the thorns. Of course, the Crape Myrtle continued to pop up even though the bushes were supposed to be dead. Dad took two of those sprouts and put on the south side of their new home. GEEZ! It is like the dead came back to haunt me even after so many years away.
Anyway, those two Crap Myrtle bushes were big problems when I was trying to have a nice flower bed on the south side of the house. My first idea was to get the tractor and yank them out but I wasn’t sure that would be allowed. Even though dad told me I could do what I wanted here, I wasn’t sure if my hidden agenda to get rid of the Crap Myrtle would be approved of… As far as shrubs go, I guess they would be OK if their flowers were white or blue. Instead, they are pink and I am not a pink person. The other is their location. I don’t want bushes that want to take over space smack in the middle of my flower beds…
<<<<2014 IN A NEW LOCATION>>>>
I decided things had to change with the south bed but didn’t know exactly what to do with it. OH, I knew what I wanted to do with it and it wasn’t for the fact that “this isn’t my house” thought that keeps popping into my head, it would already be done. BUT, I went for another option. I moved the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ to the bed on the north side of the house. This meant instead of full sun, it would now be in part-shade. The soil here also stays damp longer than the south side and it is flat. The south side had kind of a slope… That’s OK because this plant prefers consistently moist soil…
I must say, this plant did amazingly well here and pretty much grew like a weed. 2014 was the year I bought the Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) from Wagler’s Greenhouse which was AWESOME. I had also bought several Coleus, three of which were unnamed varieties from Harrison’s Greenhouse. They grew SO HUGE!
As you can see in the above photo, the Coleus on the left was taller than the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ and it usually gets about 30″ tall.
Even though it was only March, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ was one of the first perennials to come up. It is always such a relief when perennials start to emerge from their winter sleep. It is a sign that spring is right around the corner. March is still pretty early and there could be plenty of cold weather and snow before the coast is clear.
It was good to see that this plant had spread. Even though they are dormant, it seems they still spread over the winter under the soil. There certainly weren’t this many before!
As the temps start warming up even more, this plant gets growing.
It’s leaves get pretty large before it starts to flower.
Even though I didn’t seem to have taken any photos of any of the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ plants in 2016, I did move them around somewhat. I planted a few along the southeast corner of the foundation in “the other yard” and a few in the northeast corner bed next to the foundation. (The foundation of my grandparent’s old house where I lived in the early 1980’s.) The above photo is one of them in the northeast corner bed.
The above photo is in the bed on the north side of my parents home, which was the second location for this plant. GEEZ! I feel like I need a map…
Again, the above photo of the plant in the north bed…
And, again, from the northwest corner bed along the old foundation… This bed is a combination of Iris, Horseradish, Rudbeckia hirta, Rhubarb, and Marigold ‘Brocade’. One thing about it, all that shade eliminates weeding.
Finally, the plants in the southeast corner of the foundation. Well, I suppose that isn’t actually right either. This spot is kind of in the middle, like an inside corner kind of… This spot is difficult because grandpa had planted Bermuda grass in this area… Trying to control Bermuda grass is close to impossible so keeping it out of your beds is very hard. I remember the Bermuda grass growing out of the top of the downspouts here in the early 1980’s…
The red flowers in this photo are Salvia coccinea. I always plant the bigger Colocasia esculenta in this bed and in 2017 I planted the Leucocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’. Of course, as always, I put a few Coleus in this bed as well…
After a long cold winter, the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is coming up strong and ready for the summer of 2018.
The above photo was taken on May 6, 2018, is of the plants in the northeast corner bed of the old foundation. There are still plants on the other side of the foundation and in the north bed by our house. I am thinking about putting a few back on the south side of the house and maybe in front of the chicken house and by the barn.
Now, that’s a lot of yellow!
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ next to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ in the bed on the north side of the house on August 1, 2018. The amount of shade in this bed keeps the Rudbeckia from spreading like it does in the sun in the other bed.
We didn’t have as cold a winter this year but we did have periods of snow. I pushed some leaves back on March 10 and saw the Rudbeckia was growing new leaves.
The Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ has spread even more than before. They have done really well in this location in the bed on the northeast corner of the old foundation. I will probably need to thin somewhat.
Rudbeckia hirta, a native species on the farm, grows here and there in several beds and throughout the farm. A nice patch has grown in the bed on the northeast corner of the old foundation along with the Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’. You can definitely see the difference.
More photos to come as time goes by…
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.
FOR FURTHER READING:
*PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
*Plants of the World Online is still uploading data. This link will be updated as more information becomes available on this site.