Growing Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

Black-Eyed Susans are a perennial that works wonderfully in containers alone or planted with other seasonal plants. The smaller cultivars, such as ‘Little Gold Star’, grow well in almost any size container without needing to be divided or re-potted on a regular basis. Potted Black-Eyed Susans will add a cheerful display to a sunny patio or deck.

Pots of perennials can also be placed in areas of the garden where earlier blooming perennials or bulbs have finished for the season. The pots will fill in color to a temporarily empty spot. Perennials planted in containers will need a bit of extra attention to remain fresh looking throughout the growing season.


Planting Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

Potting Black-Eyed Susans in the spring will give the plants time to establish good root structures well in advance of blooming later in the summer. Make sure the container gets at least 6 hours of direct sun and is protected from excess rain from downspouts and roof edges. Single specimen plants can be planted in pots at least 12 inches in diameter.

Larger planters will be needed if you would like to make a mixed planting of seasonal color. Black-Eyed Susan can work as either the thriller or the filler. Containers need to have excellent drainage so that the roots can access air molecules and not stand in sitting water

Best Soil For Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

The best soil is a peat-free, all-purpose potting mix, with or without added fertilizer. Since Black-Eyed Susans do not require much additional feeding, fertilizer levels should be low. There is no need to add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pot. This will actually impede drainage by forming a perched water table that the plant's roots cannot access. Placing a coffee filter over the drainage holes will help with soil washing out.

Using mulch on top of a pot has the same benefit of using mulch in the garden. The mulch will keep the soil cooler and retain moisture longer. The small, confined space of a pot means that mulches can be more decorative or artistic than in the garden. Mulches of river rock, marbles, beach glass, etc. can elevate the appearance of your containers.

Caring For Black-Eyed Susans in Planters

Plants growing in containers rely on the gardener for many of their care requirements: water, food, and winter care are the most important tasks for container maintenance. Read on to find out how to best meet these needs for Black-Eyed Susans.

Watering Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

Black-Eyed Susans require more supplemental watering in a pot than in the ground. Wait until the soil has dried out about 2 inches from the top of the soil. Black-Eyed Susans do not tolerate soil that is too wet or waterlogged. Water the pot long enough that water runs from the bottom drainage holes. This will ensure that all of the potting soil is well saturated.

During periods of extreme heat or drought, containers should be checked daily for watering. It is not unusual to need to water containers daily or even twice a day during the hottest weather. Smaller containers will dry out  much faster than large planters.

Fertilizing Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

Black-Eyed Susans will need supplemental fertilizing when growing in a pot. The nutrients in the soil are regularly leached out by watering and need replacing. Application of a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month is recommended. A well-balanced feed is best for container-grown perennials. Alaska Fish emulsion or a seaweed blend are good choices. The nutrients are released more slowly to the plant than a fertilizer with a high NPK ratio (e.g., 20-20-20). 

Winter Care For Black-Eyed Susans in Pots

Black-Eyed Susans are herbaceous perennial and die back to the ground in the fall in preparation for winter dormancy. Any dead or dying plant material needs to be cut back to the soil level or emerging basal leaves. Otherwise, no extra protection for the plant will be needed.

If the container is made from terracotta or ceramic and you garden in a zone that has extreme winter conditions, it may need to be protected. The best way to protect the pot is to remove the plants and repot them in more durable plastic or composite resin containers. Clean and dry the terracotta pot and place it in a frost-free garage or basement until next season. 

Make sure that the drainage is excellent during the winter months. Pots that are typically dry all summer could become waterlogged in the fall and winter if you live in a growing zone that has heavy winter rains or excess melting of snow from roof lines in late winter. Moving pots out of the way of runoff or elevating the pot on bricks will aid in drainage temporarily.

Growing Black-Eyed Susans Indoors

Black-Eyed Susans do not make good houseplants. They are cold hardy and do not need to be protected indoors during the winter. Herbaceous perennials need a period of dormancy to regrow vigorously the next year. The cooler weather of fall triggers the start of dormancy, and the warming of the spring signals the end of dormancy. 

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Author Robbin Small - Published 7-31-2022