The Right Place
Fall is the best time to plant perennials, however healthy plants in containers can be planted almost any time during the growing season. While you may not be able to find seedlings at the nursery, you may find a neighbor or friend is dividing a clump of black-eyed susans and is willing to give you some to plant. Otherwise, set out nursery grown plants in the spring as soon as all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm enough and dry enough to cultivate. Because black-eyed susans have a roadside wildflower pedigree, they are very adaptable. They will grow in almost any soil as long as it is not too soggy. They must have a mostly sunny spot in the yard.
Planting Nursery Stock
Dig a hole that is wide enough to accommodate the root system and equal to the depth of the container that the plant was in.
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Remove seedlings from their pots and untangle any matted roots, spreading them gently. Set each young plant in its hole so that the crown of the plant, the thick area where the root system and the stems meet, is just at the surface of the soil. Fill in the hole with soil, firming it gently around the plant stems. Water generously at planting time and regularly for a few weeks afterward to assure that the plant gets well established. Plant individual plants in groups of three, 8 to 12 inches apart. They will spread rapidly and merge into a handsome clump in one season.
To control their spread and acquire more perennial black-eyed Susan plants divide overlarge clumps in the fall. Gently dig up a large clump and shake off as much soil from the tangled roots as possible. With a sharp knife or spade, cut through the clump to get several smaller chunks of plant, taking care that each has substantial roots. Discard any old plants and woody roots (often at the center of the clump) and replant the chunks as described above. This will restore plant vitality.