Thursday, July 27, 2006

Annual Black-Eyed Susans

I adore perennial black-eyed susans. They are hardy, reliable, cheery, and easy to grow. When I learned that an annual variety exists, I couldn’t think of any reason a gardener would grow them. Why fuss with new plants every year, when you can plant the perennial flower to enjoy for many seasons? Still, I was curious, so I bought a packet of seeds.

The annual BES is a bit different than the perennial. The leaves are larger and hairy. The flowers are also larger, but fewer are produced. (However, this could be a result of my plants’ morning-sun location.) The most interesting difference is the flower’s center. It is shiny, almost glossy, like a true eyeball. The perennial flower’s center is a matte brown. The plants stand at about the same height, three feet.

My verdict: I won’t go out of my way to plant annual black-eyed susans again. I enjoyed trying something new, but they really aren’t worth the bother.


Blogger Christine said...

Looks like they have starker contrast to their colors than the regular BES I've seen.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

If you like them, let them seed. Your local goldfinches will adore you, and some will inevitably drop and come up next year.

They are almost as dependable as perennials.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

There is pretty variety of annual BES that has a green center. I think it is called "Green Eyes". I grew some a few years ago, different and pretty.

6:12 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Don't let them go to seed. I planted these almost a decade ago and although I "weed" them out every year, they are STILL threatening to take over. Very, very invasive.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

This kind of a bland version of the annual BES. There are some really fantastic ones. In fact, they are one of my favorite annuals. I tried to get a picture of mine this year, but my camera is fussy and will not give me clear pictures of certain flowers. I will post my best picture of this years bunch for you on my blog sometime over the weekend - so watch for it.

Unlike OldRoses, I have never had a problem with these being invasive. In fact, I try to get them to take over areas, but only get 1-2 plants a year. :(

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should collect seed from the BES at Sooty Acres Park (Hauck Botanic Gradens, where the Civic Garden Ceter is). We have an annual bed there of All America Selections, and the 'Cherokee Sunset' comes in all sorts of color combinations. If you let your reseed, many times they come upin different combinations as well. I've never had them be invasive. Corrie

1:28 PM  

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