Branched Coneflower (Rudbeckia triloba) — the native prairie plant we love to hate. This pretty diminutive species of Rudbeckia is one of the final bursts of color we find in our prairies during the late fall. It’s a delight to see, but it can be the bane of a prairie’s existence. This aggressive little species can take over any little bit of bare ground when given the opportunity. To those who have that meadow-look going, it can be pretty disappointing. To those who have rivers and drifts going, it can be a welcome visitor.
This spring I found it growing into the lawn at the east edge of my prairie. Always looking for an opportunity to mow less lawn, my husband gallantly mowed around the young seedlings. Soon I realized there were other prairie seedlings coming in that area as well — Smooth Penstemon, Indian Plaintain, Flowering Spurge, Monarda — so I added a few more species which I picked up at the Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter plant sale this past spring.
LOVE TO HATE!
Rudbeckia triloba blooms for two months or longer — love it! It apparently is easy to grow from seed — love it! It seeds readily, taking over any open soil — hate it!
Warning: Deadheading is typically necessary to maintain a reasonable show of Branched Coneflower. However, it acts as a biennial or triennial so deadhead sparingly.