Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow'

Until this plant began to bloom last week, I thought I knew what rudbeckias were all about. Mention coneflowers and the name brings up mental images of coarse, colorful, sometimes unpleasantly hispid plants with a proven track record for amenity plantings and contemporary grass gardens. Most likely absent from those mental images are qualities such as refinement, grace and delicacy.

I bought 'Prairie Glow' because I liked the picture on the potted plant I selected, and the written description suggested that it would provide plenty of color. And I figured that it would attract goldfinches. All of this, I assumed, in the typical cone flower  package.

Now that the plant has been blooming freely I realize that this is a real find.The flowers are, so far, small (a bit more than an inch in diameter) and are carried on very thin stems. The whole plant has a determined uprightness about it, yet the stems are thin and graceful. The flowers are the real surprise: the blooms have a lacquered quality and the color contrast in the petals is heightened as if the two colors had been painted on.

This one is definitely a keeper! Some Googling suggests that although sold as a perennial, it will probably prove to be a short-lived one. But it can be grown from seed, and probably easily.


Tish Iorio said...

I bought this plant at the 2015 Fall Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's plant sale at the Richmond Horticulture Assoc booth. I believe they got it from Sandy's Plants in Mechanicsville, VA.

It was good that year but didn't grow much. Maybe 2 1/2' tall. The winter of 2016 was crazy here. Snow 4 times about every 6 days with total thawing in a day or two. But it was very wet. I feared for my plants in a fairly newly established bed (Fall 2013) But this Spring the area where this had been was covered with small plants. At first I thought they were a native Spring aster here (Doswell, VA) but then the leaves coming along looked like the adjacent Patrina??? I let them go and as they got larger they developed the dark stems of the Rudbeckia trilobia. I wasn't actually sure of the name but several members of the Annapolis Horticulture Soc identified it for me.

It truly is a wonderful, prolifically flowering plant and wonderful in arrangements of the loose type as well as in the garden.

Mine gets shade from a hybridized Magnolia (Bill Smith, LGBG volunteer and hybridizer, now unfortunately deceased) and the Patrina. It gets some direct sun in the later afternoon and then shade after 4.

This plant can be used in so many different types of gardens/beds. I don't know if it can take the full sun without good moisture but will move some in the Spring from the new crop to a new full sun bed and see. Cathy Umphrey of the AHS indicated to me it was a biennial. I will mark some of these and see if the same plant returns next year. But with the way it seeds and blooms the same year I think it might be a short lived perennial rather than a true biennial.

Enjoy, as you say it is a keeper
Tish Iorio, Doswell, VA

McWort said...

Tish, I think you'll enjoy this one, too:
If the link does not work, go to the entry for July 10, 2015.