How to Prune Black-Eyed Susans for More Flowers

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Follow these tips on how to prune your black-eyed Susans for more flowers next season.

How to Prune Black-Eyed Susans for More FlowersCheckout this video:


Pruning black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) is easy and necessary to keep the plants vigorous and blooming. This summer-flowering perennial, also called Gloriosa daisy, is a North American native that grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. The flowers of black-eyed Susans are 2 to 3 inches wide with deep yellow or gold petals and a brown or black center. The plant grows 18 to 36 inches tall on hollow, hairy stems. Susans perform best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They’re not fussy about soil type as long as it’s well-drained.

What You’ll Need

-Pruning shears
-Gardening gloves

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are beautiful, easy-to-grow flowers that will bloom profusely from mid to late summer if they are properly pruned. Also known as coneflowers, these cheerful plants have long lasting blooms that make excellent cut flowers. They are a mainstay of the cottage garden, and look especially lovely growing in mass plantings or meadows. Because they self-seed readily, Black-eyed Susans will often come back year after year with very little care from the gardener. But for the best possible show of flowers, they do need to be deadheaded (removing spent blooms) and occasionally pruned.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Start by deadheading the black-eyed Susans. Pinch or cut off the spent flowers, cutting back to just above a leaf node.

2. Next, cut back any straggly or leggy stems to just above a leaf node. This will help encourage bushier growth.

3. Finally, cut back the entire plant by about one-third its height in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

When to Prune

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) bloom from mid-summer to frost. The flowers open on new growth, so if you want the longest possible bloom period, it’s best not to prune them at all. But if you want to tidy up the plants or encourage more compact growth, you can prune them back in late spring.

More Tips for Success

Here are a few more tips to ensure success with black-eyed Susans:

-Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.
-Cut back the previous year’s growth by about one-third to encourage fresh new growth and more flowers.
-After bloom, remove spent flowers to encourage more blooming.
-Every few years, you can dig up and divide clumps of black-eyed Susans to keep them healthy and vigorous.

With a little care, you can enjoy an abundance of beautiful blooms on your black-eyed Susans for many years to come!


Pruning black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) is key to maintaining tidy plants and promoting rebloom. Most varieties bloom profusely in late summer, then often produce a smaller flush of flowers in fall if the spent blooms are removed. You can also prune back the plants by one-third to one-half their height in late spring to encourage bushier growth.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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