Rudbeckia maxima, otherwise known as the giant coneflower, is in the Asteracea family. The flower resembles a brown-eyed susan, but the petals of the flower hang down and the center is much taller. This plant can grow up to 7 feet tall. Planted in a large group, it makes a nice visual impact.
These showy flowers are great for drier spots in your garden. Despite being found in moist soils in its native habitat, it is drought tolerant. I have planted them in the one bed that tends to get very dry in between rains. They are doing well, but the flowers often require staking to remain upright.
Giant coneflower is perennial and blooms in the summer. It requires full sun, though it will tolerate part shade. The blooms attract butterflies and if left to seed, will provide a food source to birds.
For those of us that have deer that visit the garden, this plant is deer resistant.
Other common names for this wildflower include cabbage leaf coneflower (due to the shape of the basal leaves) and giant brown-eyed Susan.
How to Propagate Giant Coneflower
Giant coneflower reproduces both by seed and by the spreading of rhizomes. As your coneflowers grow and spread, you can separate them to transplant plants to other locations or propagate them by root cuttings. Here’s a great guide on propagating plants by root cuttings: http://www.weekendgardener.net/plant-propagation/rootcuttings-120812.htm.
- USDA plants database: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ruma3
- Google images: https://www.google.com/search?q=rudbeckia+maxima&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=K5PQUbW1EcnO0wGB2IDQBw&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1234&bih=1231&sei=7pbQUaEVitLzBIqOgYgP