Rudbeckia Species, Cabbage Leaf Coneflower, Giant Brown-eyed Susan, Great Coneflower

Rudbeckia maxima

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rudbeckia (rud-BEK-ee-a) (Info)
Species: maxima (MAKS-ih-muh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Gainesville, Florida

Carrollton, Georgia

Douglasville, Georgia

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Youngsville, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Needham, Massachusetts

Pontotoc, Mississippi

Goodman, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Madison, Missouri

O Fallon, Missouri

Stratham, New Hampshire

Denville, New Jersey

Stockton, New Jersey

Fairport, New York

Fayetteville, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Fort Jennings, Ohio

Lynchburg, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Whitehall, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Inman, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Woodlawn, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Belton, Texas

Dallas, Texas(3 reports)

Dripping Springs, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Humble, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Oakhurst, Texas

Shepherd, Texas

Arlington, Virginia

Mc Lean, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 5, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The big bold blue-green basal foliage is this plant's major appeal for me. The leaves can reach 18". Both their color and their size draw the eye and make the leaves stand out from the background. That makes this plant valuable for giving structure to a planting.

The bloom season runs from late June to early August at Longwood Gardens in PA. The scapes reach 5-7'. The flowers seem small in relation to the size of the plant. Goldfinches love the dry seedheads.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, this species is hardy in Zones 4-9.

In the wild,... read more


On Jun 17, 2012, sshort from Kansas City, MO wrote:

While rescuing plants from the road grader on my dad's ranch in Western Kansas, I somehow ended up with a Rudbeckia Maxima that must have piggy backed with another plant. Next spring I was surprised and puzzled when it came up. I had never seen one before and definitely not on our ranch. Took forever to identify it. Who knows where it came from. But it was a great conversation piece in my flower garden. The area the plant came from is hot, dry, with sandy loam soil. It reseeded easily and was one of my 'sharing' plants. Descriptions state it has yellow petals. Mine had only very tiny insignificant yellow petals with a huge prickly seed head, and of course the 'cabbage' leaves.


On Mar 3, 2012, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

this is my favorite of all the rudbeckias ! My only complaint is how slow it grows. The first time I saw it I knew I HAD to have one. I have been growing it for about 6 years and still only have one tiny clump. This year I am trying to get up the nerve to divide it.


On Jun 12, 2010, atcps from WOODLAWN, TN wrote:

A very nice addition to my perennial border. This plant towers above all other plants in the border. It is lovely. The long stalks (over 6 feet tall) support the flowers fabulously with no staking required. The large powdery blue foliage is a nice change from green and contrasts nicely with fine foliage of all colors. Requires no special care from me and grows in part sun.


On May 23, 2010, BJames1 from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

A very exciting Rudbeckia! Wide cabbage-like leaves give it great distinction and a much greater tropical effect compared to other coneflowers. Its sheer size warrants a second look! My neighbor couldn't believe it was a black-eyed susan when I told her! This coneflower is my second favorite, only to Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne.' A great garden perfomer year-round! For its foliage effect, this Rudbeckia can't be beat! Giant flower stalks are the icing on the cake.


On Dec 12, 2009, HummingbirdDude from Whitehall, PA wrote:

This plant grows very tall with yellow flowers. Birds like to eat the seeds.


On Jun 21, 2008, VanInDallas from Dallas, TX wrote:

Pictures don't really do it justice. I just discovered this plant a month ago at the Dallas Arboretum and had to track one down. The lady at the native plant nursery I bought it at said it will need supplemental water in our area. She said where she sees it really thrive is in drainage ditches in East Texas, so obviously it will tolerate soggy conditions. East Texas is also acidic whereas Dallas is aklaline so I mixed in peat moss to help acidify and retain water. I'll let you know in a year how it turned out.


On May 28, 2006, rosemontgolden from Stockton, NJ wrote:

This plant is a stunning success in my difficult conditions - an overgrown field I'm turning into a wet prairie. Even though the soil is heavy clay, and very wet throughout winter and spring, Rudbeckia maxima came through with flying colors, grew significantly in size in one season, and remains attractive, with unblemished leaved of large size. Because of the difficult growing conditions - I'm planting within the matrix of native plants - I only planted two Rudbeckia maxima. Now that I've seen the result, I'm scattering several more in a naturalistic, random pattern. I should add that these plants were totally untouched by my large deer population.


On Sep 23, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant will germinate without stratification ..... seeds should be covered lightly.... light aids germination...... this is how I sowed mine.... stratification can be used if your plants don't come up...... I have to wait for them to get big now before I can say if I like them or not....... :)


On Aug 9, 2004, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

This is a spectacular turkscap-like flower that blooms in August in my western New York garden. It seems not to be affected by either excessive rains or droughts. It makes a great show with r. 'Herbstsonne' (see my image).


On Jan 5, 2001, Grits from Pineville, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

R. maxima is an eye-catching perennial native to Arkansas, Louisiana and into Texas. It forms attractive clumps or heads of foliage low to the ground; individual leaves are "paddle-shaped," 18" long and 3" to 4" wide. Out of the clumps of bluish-green leaves, tall architectural flower stems shoot up to the sky like rockets in mid to late summer and explode into rays of golden yellow.

Six to seven foot stems support bold drooping flowers that
resemble soggy sombreros.

It is a herbaceous perennial in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, and grows best in full sun, rich and moist soil.