Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Great Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima)
Synonyms: Great Rudbeckia, Dumbo's Ears, Cabbage Leafed Coneflower
This is a fun plant for a tough area or the back of the border. It has large bluish leaves that can grow up to 18 inches long. Later in the season the flowers shoot out on tall (5 to 7 foot) stalks. The central cone (which is only partially developed in this photo) is 2 to 3 inches tall. It mixes well with Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne').
Both of them are some of the tallest perennials I know that don’t need staking, which is always a plus in my book. This plant is native to Louisiana and Arkansas into parts of Texas so it is a heat and humidity tolerant perennial. It is hardy to USDA Zone 6 and has been in cultivation since the 1800’s. This plant will tolerate (and like) moist areas but mine are in a border with regular soil and water.
This time of year I am doing a lot of pruning. I must have pruned 50 different species in the last two days with plenty more on tap for the next couple of day (or weeks). I have been encouraging everything to grow and boy it hasn’t disappointed. Of course the more you prune the more you have to because it encourages more growth. Today I am going to top the Forsythia, clean up the early blooming Spireas and work on some of the Japanese Maples.