On Gardening: 2023 seeks to create a gold rush for this award-winning rudbeckia | Lifestyles

Next year there will be a horticultural event or phenomenon that I cannot remember. It will be like the gold rush, except this time to get a prize factory. We can credit Brent Horvath, owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, with this invention that got everyone excited. It is known as the American Gold Rush rudbeckia.

Growers and industry are celebrating the first rudbeckia resistant to Septoria leaf spot. You may never have paid attention to the leaves of your Rudbeckia fulgida selections or hybrids, but the nursery industry has, and they help put this hybrid at the top of the recommended list.

This is where the chain of events mesmerized me. First of all, American Gold Rush received the All-American Selections Herbaceous Perennial Winner in 2020. Many of us were unaware of a cooperation with the Perennial Plant Association.

In 2022, Proven Winners added it to their perennial lineup, giving great impetus to get it into the hands of gardeners across the country. Then the Perennial Plant Association stepped up the effort even further by announcing it as its 2023 perennial plant of the year.

These national distinctions certainly go hand in hand with university tests where high figures have been revealed. But the press from the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Chicago Botanical Garden, where perennials have a bit more time to, as they say, perpetuate, speaks volumes. It is the perennial rudbeckia that must be chosen.

Whether it’s a perennial garden, a modern flower border, a habitat garden, and that prairie look you’ve always dreamed of, American Gold Rush has you covered. This hybrid packed with native DNA will not only bloom to reveal its golden yellow beauty, but also to the delight of bees and butterflies.

My favorite neighborhood in Columbus, Georgia, looked like a summer parade of visitors driving by looking at the hundreds of coneflowers, but by summer’s end the foliage and stems had turned black and ugly. It was not fatal, but simply underlines what many other gardeners have experienced. America Gold Rush is different; the hairs on the leaves and stems that give a silvery tint in the sun also offer protection against this dreaded fungus.

The American Gold Rush also has a different habit, which you will quickly notice. Plants reach up to 27 inches tall with a wider spread at 40 inches. In other words, it makes for a real show. As it brings bees and butterflies, patient gardeners will notice favorite songbirds come to enjoy the delicacy of ripening seeds.

This rudbeckia was made for our native soils. As long as your soil is well-drained, you don’t have to worry about adding large amounts of amendments or trying to change the pH because alkalinity and acidity aren’t usually an issue. Choose a site with plenty of sunlight. American Gold Rush is recommended for zones 4 through 9, so most of the country can savor its beauty. Space your plants 36 to 40 inches apart to allow for welcome spreading. In late winter or very early spring, prune as you do for other perennials.

You can’t beat creating a prairie or grassland look combining with native grasses. The Garden Guy, however, will combine his own with pollinator garden plants like color-coded Echinacea, Uplugged So Blue Salvia, Meant to Bee Queen Nectarine Agastache, and premium Red Velvet Monarda.

Make your plans now: Join the American Gold Rush and join in the 2023 Rudbeckia Celebration.

Norman Winter, horticulturist, gardening lecturer and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden”. Follow him on Facebook @Norm anWinterTheGardenGuy.

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