August’s Native Maryland Plant
Rudbeckia laciniata L.
Common Name: Cutleaf Coneflower
Finding plants that can survive the wettest areas in a landscape can be a challenge, and finding plants that look great doing it is even more difficult – unless you’re growing Rudbeckia laciniata. This tall, bodacious plant has a long bloom period and scoffs at high humidity. Its stature and bright yellow bloom are a not-to-be-ignored calling card to pollinators, who relish the nectar and pollen found on its unique green cone. The alternate leaves are conspicuously large, up to 12” long and wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the plant.
Rudbeckia laciniata is best planted in large landscapes where its aggressive rhizomes will form large colonies. It’s not drought tolerant, but if sited properly and with Maryland’s increasingly wet weather that’s not likely to be an issue. Many people avoid planting such tall plants, but for biodiversity’s sake and my own visual pleasure I try to find places for a variety of architectural plants in my garden. If necessary, I use Texas tomato cages to provide them extra support. I’ve been thrilled with the range of pollinators this plant has attracted to my yard and I’m really looking forward to the birds that will come later this year to feed on the seed heads.
~ Alison Milligan – Mstr. Gardener/Mstr. Naturalist/Mstr. Watershed Steward
Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP)