The rudbeckia is one of my favorite plants, mainly because of its leaves, which hold fine hairs that turn slightly more bristly with age, but which are like soft down when the leaves are young.

I got this plant to replace echinacea so that I could use the roots when I got the flu or cough. But then, I grew so in love with the leaves and the flowers I couldn’t bear to use it at all. So now, here it is, sitting prettily in my room.

The Plants for a Future database says this: An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of colds, dropsy and worms in children. A warm infusion of the root has been used as a wash on sores and snake bites. The ooze from the roots has been used as drops to treat earaches.

This plant prefers bright shade to direct sunlight as long as it has grown a little older. If its shoots are still young and tender, strong sunlight tends to burn the leaves.

It is advised to cut off the first one or two forming flower stalks when the plant is still too young so as to channel the energy into growing the plant first.

Care: A moist, well-draining soil mix; allow soil to dry out between watering; drought tolerant once established
Sunlight: Preferably one hour of morning sun, and bright shade the rest of the day; once the plant is established, then as much direct sunlight as possible
Propagation: Easily by seeds and root division
Resources: Plants for a Future database

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