Let Some Perennials Self-Seed

It’s the Summer Solstice…amazing!  A few days ago it was April, and suddenly it’s mid-June.  Summer already and I’m still planting annuals!  Thank goodness a lot of the flowers in the garden just planted themselves and return year after year to grace the gardens with their beauty.  One of my favorite no-work perennials is rudbeckia, and my absolute favorite of this large family is a variety called “Chim Chimnee.” Rud Chim It came on the market several years ago and as soon as I saw its lovely quilled petals in various shades of apricots, bronzed pale oranges and burnished brickish reds, I knew it belonged in my gardens.  They are just beginning to open, as you can see in the photo, but each plant becomes a bouquet of long-lasting blooms, both in the garden and as a cut flower.  Seeded early indoors (Feb.) they will flower the first year and continue to bloom for years if given a well-drained, sunny location.  One of the joys of this plant is its tendency to self-seed, which I encourage by keeping the areas under and nearby clear and not too heavily mulched so seeds can come in contact with soil.  The results are a range of delightful surprises.  All of these rudbeckias in my garden are “Chim Chimnee” prodigy.  This beauty has some of the parents’ quilled petals, but obviously sports characteristics of a more flamboyant grandparent or two!Rud Chim 2   And this one is a double without any quills at all. Rud Chim 4  I love the interesting brushstrokes that highlight the center of this one.  Rud Chim 6 bi  And this one is obviously schizophrenic in a lovely way. Rud Chim 7 dbl  This bright yellow sunflower-like one is probably just like a great-great grandparent, the common rudbeckia that “Chim Chimnee” resulted from after years of selective breeding and crossing. Rud Chim 8 lg  A few plants die of old age each year so I start a dozen or so replacement “Chim Chimnee” from seed each year so that I have the more unusual colors and quilled form, but I’m more than happy to see the off-spring appear here and there in the gardens each June.  Unlike many perennials that only bloom for two to three weeks, rudbeckias will bloom for months, especially if kept dead-headed.  There will be a bit of range in their height as well.  Some remain a petite 15-18″ and some like the last photo will reach over 24″.  All have sturdy stems and remain tidy in the garden.  They never seem to be bothered by pests or diseases.  I adore this plant.  More than the Solstice, for me it signals that summer is indeed here!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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13 Responses to Let Some Perennials Self-Seed

  1. Robin says:

    How beautiful! I definitely need to add rudbeckia to my flower bed. Love the color of the “Chim Chimnee”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ebbeybear says:

    Blessings to you and yours =)


  3. I didn’t know this plant until moving south. It was in a “wildflower mix” that I was gifted, and three years later, it’s still going strong entirely from self-seeding. Unbelievably, it survived last year’s hard freezes in New Orleans. A plant that I don’t have to work hard for: I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely Carolee! I have some rudbekia and they do reseed themselves generously. It is always nice to find happy volunteers growing here and there.


  5. I shall have to try this myself. None of my rubeckias self seed though lots of other plants do


  6. They are lovely! My lilies are about to bloom and that is what always signals summer for me here :0).


  7. Helen says:

    Love them! Are they related to echinacea?


  8. Lorin Small says:

    I’ve never had much luck with rudbeckia reseeding that much in my high desert garden. 😦 I’m hoping once I start my gardening in the sunny part of my of back yard here in North Dakota, that they will take off. The black eyed Susans grow wild here with the Echinacea.

    Liked by 1 person

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