Hi, Lois-- Your article is full of good background information on the rudbeckia group but the tone is so negative about a flower that is so versatile and beloved by so many that I don't quite understand your point of view. You don't say in what climate you garden or what the conditions are in your garden, but from your writing I can only assume that your judgment on this fine plant is a result of the most ideal rudbeckia growing conditions. I would say 'Lucky you'!!
In our semi-sunny midwestern butterfly garden we grow five kinds of rudbeckias, including 'goldstrum', and we have never had them get out of line. When planted in the right spot, I think members of this clan serve a great purpose in the garden. And the butterflies love them.
Your articles are always interesting and I enjoy reading them. Take care. t.
Tabasco - the Invaders articles are about the negative aspects of these plants, so I do emphasize this. But I also try to point out the positive aspects, which is why people plant these things in the first place.
The most important point, though, is the one you make - that invasiveness is relative, both to the growing conditions and to the desires of the gardener. One gardener's weed is another gardener's treasure.
And yes, I live in prairie country, and rudbeckia is a native prairie plant.
I was chuckling all throughout your article. When my husband and I took over and started to 'recover' the garden in our yard, the rubeckias had been allowed to run amuck for two years unchecked. It took all of that first summer to clear our a corner of that garden for other things. Those little guys were tenacious to such a point that the word started being an ugly word around our house! They burrowed under stepping stones and popped up in the middle of whatever else we planted.
I do like them, but now we have a back bed where they can gallop and run and the rest of my butterfly garden is safe from strangulation.
Their redeeming characteristic is one of the longest blooming seasons of any perennial. Although a few have popped up in unexpected places, it is nice to have some cheery flowers that I don't have to pamper and the rabbits don't munch on!
In a more formal garden setting and if allowed to go to seed, yes some Rudbeckias will take over. I selectively keep the larger-flowered or more--petaled plants and dead head all others. This goes a long way in keeping them under control and improving the plants that do grow. For a couple years I left them for the goldfinches and other birds to enjoy but this created a lot more work for me in the spring. Now I only allow them to seed in naturalized areas where they are surprisingly drought-tolerant. Spring and early summer I'm ruthless about pulling the seedlings in the front of the beds or where they are not wanted. For the color and long season of bloom I don't mind the time spent corralling Rudbeckia - It's a lot easier to pull and manage than the thistle and dandelion seedlings that drift into a garden.
I have a problem -- I have some of these plants and they have lasted for about 2 years but it seems that each summer since then, one by one they are dying off. I can't believe it when people say they are invasive! Maybe they need something I am not giving them? I would have been happy for them to take over the area where they were planted!
I did not plant mine but they are in the front landscape. I think they were planted by a bird but have not seen any anywhere in town. Maybe from Arizona. We in Las Vegas, blame everything on Arizona. LOL. I control where they go by pulling first thing in the spring. They are blooming right now in heats that have been above 100 degrees 45 days straight. I cannot complain about that. I have a lovely landscape but found a small corner for them and myself to enjoy. Thanks for the info.