The Perennial Plant Association has named ‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan its Perennial Plant of the Year for 2023. A hybrid between several species of Rudbeckia, ‘American Gold Rush’ is an easy grower with a compact habit, long late-summer bloom time and foliage that stays healthy. This plant was also recognized as an outstanding perennial by the All-America Selections trialing program in 2020.
Common name: ‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan
Botanical name: Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Flowers: Daisy-like flowers appear atop upright stems from midsummer into autumn. The rays are a golden yellow and the cones, deep brown.
Foliage: Medium green, long and narrow, finely haired leaves form a basal clump of foliage. The leaves have shown good resistance to powdery mildew and leaf spot, which can be a problem for Black-eyed Susans.
Habit: ‘American Gold Rush’ grows about two feet tall and it can spread nearly twice as wide. It has a rounded, compact shape.
Origin: This cultivar was first discovered by Illinois-based perennial breeder Brent Horvath in a bed sown with open-pollinated seed. Horvath states it is a hybrid between two, or likely three, rudbeckia species, including R. fulgida var. deamii.
How to grow it: Site ‘American Gold Rush’ rudbeckia in full sun or part shade. It grows best in lean to average soil with good drainage. Avoid fertilizing, which can cause lanky growth amid rudbeckias. Water regularly while the plant is getting established, but thereafter it can tolerate dry periods. Leave seed heads standing for birds in the fall, then cut the plant back in late winter or early spring. This plant may reseed in the garden. USDA Zones 4–9.