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Plant A Patch: Large Coneflower (Rudebeckia maxima)

A beauty in the early to midsummer, Rudbeckia maxima is the perfect native perennial for a full sun spot in your yard. The 3 inch showy, bright yellow blooms with their tall brown cone-like centers emerge in June and July, attracting butterflies to the garden. Because the stems are sturdy and have few leaves, this coneflower is an excellent cut flower. However, if you leave the flower stalks in place, then you can watch goldfinches flock to the seedheads. The plants themselves can be quite large, sometimes growing up to 5 feet in height and spreading 3 to 4 feet across. The clump foliage has a bluish-green tinge with a coarse texture that makes it fairly deer resistant. Although coneflowers prefer well-drained, average moist soil, they are also surprisingly tolerant of drought. They will flower in light shade, but not as profusely as in full sun. Under most conditions, coneflowers self-seed.