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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.

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

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Friday - October 10, 2014

From: Fleetwood, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Storing Rudbeckia Hirta Seed
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I just bought and planted your Rudbeckia hirta seed. I have a lot leftover. Can I store it until spring or better yet, next fall? If so, how?

ANSWER:

Yes, you can store your leftover Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) seed until next year (spring or fall) as long as you take a couple of simple precautions to ensure the seed stays viable.  The best way to keep the seed from drying out and loosing viability is to put it into a glass jar, seal it tight and store it in the refrigerator. I have numerous packets of seed in the vegetable crisper of my refrigerator for safe keeping until I can sow them. 

Here's some information from our website about growing Rudbeckia hirta from seed that might be of interest...Propagates very easily from seed sown in fall or spring. Spring-sown seed should be stratified. Rake seed into a loose topsoil or cover with ¼ to ½ inch of soil or mulch. If possible, supplement with water if fall or spring rains are infrequent and light. The seed requires several days of moisture and should germinate in one to two weeks.

Seed Collection: The nutlets turn charcoal-gray at maturity, usually 3-4 weeks after the bloom period. Seeds are mature at this time, but they are easier to collect after cones lose their tight compact structure. Store dry in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 3 months at 40 degrees.
Maintenance: Black-eyed Susans are drought tolerant but respond well to an occasional watering. Additional irrigation in a dry year will improve the density of the stand and lengthen the flowering season. Do not mow until after the plants have formed mature seed cones, about three to four weeks after flowering. (Check by breaking a cone open and if the seeds are dark, they are mature.) The number of volunteer plants can be limited by removing the seed heads after the flowers are done.

 

From the Image Gallery


Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

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