Growing Black Eyed Susans in Containers


1st year plants grown from seed in Spring

Sharing about native plants and their benefits to the environment is something we are so passionate about. We have an extensive amount of resources on our site to help people garden with native plants in the ground. In addition, we want to help encourage gardening with native plants in containers or pots.

We have grown a couple varieties of Black Eyed Susans from seed that we generally plant in the ground. We also have grown them from seed and kept them in pots to use for container gardening on our decks and porch areas.

The long bloom time and showy flowers of the Black Eyed Susan make it a great candidate for container gardening.

The 3 main factors that you will want to take into account to grow Black Eyed Susans in pots are:

  • What species of Black Eyed Susan you choose
  • The pot size & drainage
  • The amount of sunlight in the location you plan to grow them in

So, if you follow my process below, you should be able to grow Black Eyed Susans in a container….Read on.

PROCESS TO GROW BLACK EYED SUSANS IN POTS

Select a 1 gallon (4 L) or larger pot to grow your Black Eyed Susans in. The larger the container, the better for your Black Eyed Susans. They will be larger and produce more blooms.

Generally, you can expect most varieties of Black Eyed Susans to get between 1 to 3 feet tall. So, a large pot with some weight to it with help with stability. Gravel can help if your pot is lightweight.

If plan on purchasing a plant, skip the part below about growing from seed. However, make sure you read the section on what kind of ‘Rudbeckia’ you should grow in the container – it’s important.

Starting your Black Eyed Susans From Seed

We’ve written a detailed guide how to start all kinds of Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) from seed. Starting Black Eyed Susans from seed is by far the cheapest way to grow Rudbeckia in containers, and it is easy.

In fact, the picture of little Black Eyed Susan sprouts in that article are actually what you see on the left in the picture below!

seedlings blooming in 6 packs

Preparing pots and starting seeds

Fill the pot with moist potting soil, up to 1″ below the rim (2.5 cm). Gravel is not necessary in the bottom of the pot, unless you think your pot will not be heavy enough to support the plant.

A note on drainage

Be sure to select a pot with good drainage. If needed, add several drainage holes to the bottom of the pot. Without drainage the plant will die of root rot.

If you purchased seed, plant your Black Eyed Susan seeds per the instructions on the packet. Or, you purchased a plant, then transplant it into the pot. Just dig a hole of the appropriate size and plant it.

But, if you are interested, you can see our method below for germinating any kind of Black Eyed Susan.

What kind of Black Eyed Susan should you grow in a container?

My recommendation is to only grow true Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), or their cousin “Orange Coneflower” (Rudbeckia fulgida), also known as Perennial Black Eyed Susan in containers. However, you can find Black-Eyed Susan seeds and plants in garden centers that are specifically bred for containers.

The reason for only using Rudbeckia hirta or fulgida in a container is because of the size, and the roots. Both Rudbeckia hirta (common Black Eyed Susan) and Rudbeckia fulgida (perennial Black Eyed Susan) have fibrous roots. Fibrous roots can be more shallow, so perfect for a container.

Additionally, neither of those Black-Eyed Susans get too tall. A container plant that gets too large or tall has a tendency to tip-over when the pot dries out.

But isn’t Rudbeckia Fulgida a biennial???

True common Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) is a biennial. That means that it will tend to live two years. So, why grow a plant that will only live for 2 years in a pot?

Well, the good news is that Rudbeckia will grow fast and bloom the first year as long as it gets enough sunlight. The pictures you see throughout this article are plants that were germinated this same year!

Where to place your Black Eyed Susan pots

1st year plants blooming in their pots

Black Eyed Susans prefer full sun, so you will want to select a location for you pots that provide 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. That will bring out more blooms/color.

Watering Your Black Eyed Susan Pots

Generally, in full sun conditions you can plan to need to water daily. Also, if the soil in the pot feels dry, that tells you it needs water.

Black Eyed Susans prefer well drained soil, so as mentioned above, you will want to be sure your pots have drainage holes. You can stick your finger in the soil and if it feels dry at that point, you will want to water it.

Black Eyed Susans in Pots Over the Winter

Black Eyed Susans are generally hardy in zones 3 to 9. If you do live in a zone with more extreme winters, you can help protect the plant by surrounding the pot with leaves or even blankets.

However, they aren’t as protected in the pot. So, if you are in the extreme range of it’s zone (3-5) maybe consider moving the pot to an unheated garage during the winter.

Don’t overwater plants in pots that are dormant!

When a plant is dormant, or not actively growing, it is ok to not water it much if at all. If you keep the soil moist, the root stock can rot and cause the plant to die. I just leave the plant exposed to the elements and let mother nature determine when the pot gets watered.

Do You Need to Fertilize Your Black Eyed Susan Pots?

Generally, Black Eyed Susans are quite hearty, but adding a layer of compost to the pot in the Spring can help it continue to grow full and healthy. But it is by no means necessary.

Our simple method to compost, no bins needed.

Have Questions?

Leave us a comment and we will try to help you out.

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Tara Foster

Hi! I'm Tara, half of the Growit Buildit duo. I am a frugal DIY enthusiast!! My professional background is in education and counseling, but have spent the last few years as a stay at home mom, which has given me the opportunity to explore my passions that have been put aside for so long. I gravitate towards what I'd consider modern farmhouse style, with a little boho mixed in. I have planned remodels for larger projects, like our kitchen, as well as many smaller DIY projects around our house. In addition, I create a lot of smaller craft projects. I am currently a maker for a local retail boutique in our area called 6ix North. I hope my posts provide you with some useful information for your DIY projects.

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