By Cindi Sullivan
(LOUISVILLE, July 7th, 2004, 5:30 p.m.) -- Everyone who lives in Kentuckiana knows the heat and humidity can be stifling -- both for people and plants. If you're looking for a great addition to your garden that can tolerate the heat, WAVE 3 Garden Talk Expert Cindi Sullivan says think Rudbeckia.
Rudbeckia is the botanical name for the plant that some people call black-eyed Susan or brown eyed Susan. It's also known as the gloriosa daisy or orange coneflower.
Rudbeckias produce daisylike flowers with a fringe of narrow petals that surround the prominent center that gives them their common name.
When planting Rudbeckias in your garden, space them 1-½ to 2 feet apart to give them room to spread. This plant will tolerate heat and long dry spells, which make it a wonderful addition to any Kentuckiana garden.
'Goldstrum' is a very popular cultivar with bright yellow flowers and brown centers. This plant is very compact, growing to two feet tall and will bloom from mid-summer until frost.
Two newer varieties on the market are called "Indian Summer" and "Prairie Sun."
Indian Summer has flower heads and a growth habit that are double the size of Goldstrum, and Prairie Sun has a really pretty green center that softens the flower color. The only issue with these two Rudbeckias is that they are not considered reliably hardy as perennials here in Kentuckiana.