En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - January 20, 2010

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Is Rudbeckia hirta annual, biennial... or what?
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe


The desciption for Rudbeckia hirta says it is biennial and blooms the second year then further down the page it says it is an annual, which is it? Will I see blooms the first or second year?


There are several factors which can determine a plant's longevity. Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) thrives in a wide range of climates and soils. In the wild, having the adaptability to complete its life cycle in one season ensures survival in some environments, while being able to mature for a year before blooming promotes survival in other situations. Since weather conditions can vary considerably year-to-year, this adaptability is one of the qualities that makes  Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) such a wide-ranging plant.

In Texas' warm climate, if your Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) plant is sufficiently mature and gets enough rain/water it will almost certainly bloom this season. If it gets enough moisture through the heat of the summer, it will probably live for another year. If the spent flowers drop seeds, seedlings will sprout with the fall rains for a new generation of plants next year.

According to the  USDA's PDF Fact Sheet :

Adaptation and Distribution
Black-eyed Susan is naturalized in most of the states east of Kansas and the bordering areas of Canada. It is adapted throughout the Northeast on soils with a drainage classification range from well-drained to somewhat poorly drained. It will perform acceptably on droughty soils during years with average or above rainfall, but best growth is achieved on sandy, well drained sites. It is winter hardy in areas where low temperatures are between -30 ° and -20 °F.

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta



More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower seed planting time in Northwest US
August 07, 2007 - What is the best time to plant wildflower seeds in the northwest United States?
view the full question and answer

Nightblooming flower for Alberta, Canada
July 28, 2012 - Are there any night flowers that bloom in august or early september with more than one flower bud for each plant that is native to Canada?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower blooming in Austin in mid-March from Laceys Spring AL
February 27, 2013 - Hi I will be at and around the center the weekend of March 9 & 10 to exhibit in the Art and Artisan's Festival and plan to stay a few extra days to "wildflower" either before or after. What is you...
view the full question and answer

Less Maintenance Plant Suggestions for New Raised Bed in Henderson, NV.
April 03, 2014 - We have a newly constructed raised garden bed. I was wondering what kind of plants would be appropriate to plant this springtime in Henderson, NV with less maintenance because I work full time.
view the full question and answer

Seed regrowth through mulch
September 06, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants: I have planted a perennial and wildflower garden and would like to put mulch down to control the weeds and retain moisture. Will the plants that drop their seeds be able to re- ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center