It's that time of year when many of us are replacing our spent summer annuals with fall selections to enjoy until the cold weather rears its head. Or for those who are in warmer climates, maybe you need some more color in your perennial beds. There are a lot of fantastic options out there to use, with new variations making their ways to the shelves in recent years. It's not just the same old mums you're used to seeing piled on top of hay bales -- oh no my friends -- it's time to head to your local garden center to check out what's new. There's a particular Black-Eyed Susan that's been showing off as of late. Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' blooms in spades with rich shades of burgundy and maroon and in the center of each flower is a black, slightly iridescent eye. (It is as if you are looking at a velvet Elvis painting, somewhat kitsch but still kind of sexy.)
Photo by Sprout Home
Like other Rudbeckia, 'Cherry Brandy' prefers full sun. They can be drought tolerant but will provide you with many more blooms on its strong stalks if planted in fertile, well-drained soil. They will grow in perennial beds located in zones 5-8 but the main plant is short lived, lasting only a couple of seasons. Do not let that stop you from planting them, however. Even though the birds like to pick on them, they will self seed if you allow them to do so. Pinch back spent blooms to keep the plant compact and display more of its velvet flowers. They're very little work for a serious pay off.
They also look fabulous in container gardens as well and will give you a plethera of unusual flower color. Try pairing it with flavorful foliage choices like an ornamental cabbage or kale for textural contrast. They will surely hold their own while being surrounded by other good-looking fall garden choices, and will make your garden pop. Give this plant the microphone and let it sing, it's sure to not dissapoint - Elvis rarely did.