‘Autumn Colors’ for Summer

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Rudbeckia ‘Autumn Colors’—a different amount of red in each bloom

‘Autumn Colors’ is such a cool plant—not in the autumn temperatures sense, but in the each-flower-is-a-little-bit-different sense. Every year we see strong sales among the hirta species of Rudbeckia because the flowers are so showy—and on ‘Autumn Colors’ they are particularly eye-catching.

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Flowers are about twice the size of the typical Black-Eyed Susan

Shades of yellow, orange, red, and bronze come together in a unique fashion on each bloom. We never know the arrangement the various shades will take on an individual bicolor flower, and therein lies the plant’s charm. We could just as easily use a traditional monochrome Black-Eyed Susan, like ‘Toto Gold’ for instance, and it would brighten a display, but the unusual blooms of ‘Autumn Colors’ add an extra dimension of surprise.

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Petal shapes also differ from fat (left) to pointed (right)

Now, at about 5 inches across ‘Autumn Colors’ has one of the largest blooms you’ll find on a Rudbeckia. It also reaches up to two feet tall—about twice the height of ‘Toto Gold’ so it’s suitable for larger plantings. We use it in meadows and wildflower gardens, and for naturalizing. If you like the look of ‘Autumn Colors’ but need a smaller version for containers or the front of a border, ‘Toto Rustic’ offers a similar take on the bicolor flower in a dwarf plant. 

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Plants send up a lot of wide flowers that hit about the same height

Rudbeckia loves the heat and blooms continuously all season long, which is another reason it has remained popular in Cincinnati in the summer. Plus the warm colors work well with bright flowering hot-weather plants, and then transition seamlessly into the fall landscape. Dollar for dollar the Black-Eyed Susan is a valuable staple we recommend keeping in the design toolbox. 

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‘Autumn Colors’ is especially good for autumn-themed decor

Like all Rudbeckia, ‘Autumn Colors’ thrives in the sun though the plant tolerates some shade. It’s a heat lover as we mentioned, and survives periods of drought as well as clay soil. Other than deadheading it’s fairly low-maintenance. 

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Cones and stems are strong for a vase or as seed stations for winter birds

Butterflies and birds love Rudbeckia, and the showy blooms on sturdy stems make great cut flowers. In the landscape try pairing ‘Autumn Colors’ with bright Sunflowers or other Rudbeckia varieties. Add Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’ for contrast—and Purple Fountain Grass or Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ for texture and height.

Rudbeckia ‘Autumn Colors’ is available in the 8-inch pot. ‘Toto Rustic’, Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’, and Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ come in the 8-inch pot as well. Purple Fountain Grass is available in the 1-gallon size.

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