Caring For Blackeyed Susans

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Watering Black-eyed Susans
Water new, young plants generously when they are struggling to become established in the yard. While they are able to handle some degree of dryness, even long established Black-eyed Susans appreciate regular moisture. If rainfall is sparse for an extended period, run a drip system or sprinkler for 20 to 30 minutes every week or so during the heat of summer. A layer of mulch will help keep the soil moist around their roots.

Fertilizing Black-eyed Susans
If your black-eyed Susans are planted in poor soil that has not been improved by the addition of organic matter, in the spring sprinkle a handful of all-purpose, slow-acting granular fertilizer in the soil around the plants for the rain to soak in. This provides sufficient nutrition for the year. If they are in good, rich soil and are mulched, there is no need to fertilize every year. For more information see the file for Choosing Fertilizers

Mulching Black-eyed Susans
A 2 or 3 inch layer of chopped leaves, wood chips or other organic material spread on the soil around clumps of black-eyed Susans year round offers several benefits. It keeps the soil cool, helps it to retain moisture and discourages weeds. It also improves the soil as the organic material decomposes into soil nutrients and humus to improve its texture. Renew the mulch periodically as it breaks down. In the winter there may still be some green foliage near the soil. A light cover of evergreen boughs, chopped leaves or pine needles over plant roots moderates extremes of soil temperature so that the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil does not disturb plant roots For more information see the file on Using Mulch

Pruning/Grooming Black-eyed Susans
Maintain consistent blooming by clipping off dead blooms as they appear. This practice, called deadheading, keeps flowering plants looking attractive and encourages replacement blossoms to form. It also discourages the spread of seeds as the flower heads dry out. Delay deadheading if you want to attract birds or use the dried flower ‘eyes’ for indoor flower arrangements. Eventually, in the fall when flowering is finished the stems will dry out. Cut them back to the soil level for the winter.

Staking Black-eyed Susans
By mid-summer when large clumps of black-eyed Susans reach their maximum height and begin to bloom, they may need support. Use thick green bamboo sticks and string, or commercial wire plant supports to keep the stems upright. The larger the clump, the sturdier the support needed to prevent the plants' collapse in heavy rain or wind. Every 3 or 4 years plant clumps will become unmanageably large and should be divided.

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