By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Cutleaf coneflower is a North American native wildflower that produces striking yellow blooms with drooping petals and a large central cone. While some people find it weedy, this is a pretty flower for native plantings and naturalized areas. In its native range it thrives and is low maintenance.
Cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), is a sunflower-like wildflower native to much of Canada and the U.S. You’ll find it in open forests, wet meadows, thickets, pastures, and along riverbanks. A related species is black-eyed Susan.
Also known as green-headed coneflower, wild goldenglow, and sochan, this flower grows up to nine feet (3 m.) tall. The flowers are yellow with a large greenish cone. The cone turns brown as seeds develop. The seed cones attract some native bird species, while the flowers bring pollinators.
Cutleaf coneflower is a wildflower, but some gardeners may find it weedy. It spreads aggressively through underground stems, so it can take over beds if you are not careful. It’s not an ideal plant for a formal garden or beds and borders with neat edges.
Cutleaf coneflower seeds are easy to plant and grow. You can start them indoors and transplant outside, or simply scatter the seeds for a naturalized garden or meadow and wildflower garden. Plant in a location that gets full to partial sun and where the soil is average and doesn’t dry out too much. If you have a moist area of the garden or natural area, it will do well there.
To share or transplant cutleaf coneflower, divide the roots and rhizomes. They transplant readily, but you also may want to divide the plants simply to maintain their growth. They spread rapidly and easily to fill spaces.
Growing cutleaf coneflower in its native range is quite easy. It prefers moist soil and humidity. If planted in a drier area, you may need to water occasionally. Once established, cutleaf coneflower should not need watering or much attention at all.
Cutleaf coneflower blooms in summer and if you remove the spent flowers it encourages a second bloom in fall. Leave the seed heads in place in fall to attract birds. Since they grow so tall, you may need to stake the flowers.
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Read more about Coneflower
|Family:||Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)|
|Genus:||Rudbeckia (rud-BEK-ee-a) (Info)|
|Species:||laciniata (la-sin-ee-AY-tuh) (Info)|
|Additional cultivar information:||(aka Autumn Sun)|
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone
Flowers are good for cutting
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Lake Arrowhead, California
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)
North Augusta, South Carolina
Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)
On Aug 8, 2016, Rockguy1 from Calgary,
This is a great plant for the back of the border. I've had this plant for five years in Calgary (Zone 3b), in a sunny but wet part of my garden. It's now a 2' wide clump with 30-40 stems 7' tall or more. The blooms are just about to open here in the second week of August. No serious insect or virus problems, and the stems stand up well to strong winds.
On Jun 29, 2015, iwunder51952 from Spokane, WA wrote:
I happened upon a huge un-kept back yard filled with these beautiful 7 feet tall plants in full bloom. The bees were very bad so I couldn't stay long but I thought it was too early to grab a few seeds so I ripped a few stems from the ground, kept them in a soaked towel until I arrived home and immediately planted. Within days I could see the stem was going to take and sure enough by the end of the summer the plant gave me a few flowers grown to almost 4 feet tall. The next spring and summer I had 7 feet tall plants, absolutely gorgeous! I had to move, but too early to retrieve seeds so again I took the plant or a chunk of it right from the ground and quickly transplanted the same way, same day. I now have 5 feet tall, about 25" across filled with little green eyes, one bloomed already . read more but there will be more. I hope to have my long fenced drive-way full of the plants, they are easy to grow and I live in Washington state, 400 miles east of Seattle. No problems with insects for the most part, I did find a few little worm like creatures and slugs at the bottom as we have that problem here. I spray a few times and seems to rid the worm like bugs and slugs. I live in a high wind area up on a hill and so far so good, no broken stems, they are sturdy, but too much water and wind will eventually weigh them down so I suggest spreading them out, my first ones I planted were in bunches so the middle collapsed after a huge storm. Other wise they are hardy as heck.
On May 27, 2015, lovely12 from Midland, MI wrote:
Herbstonne is a great background plant. The foliage is always clean and nice looking.
During early years, it would sometimes flop over because it was so tall. I now cut it back about 6" when it's around 2-1/2' tall. That keeps it about 5-6' tall. Give it plenty of room.
On Mar 12, 2011, DrKirby from Walla Walla, OR wrote:
An eye-catcher. Clear yellow reflexed petals. Grows 6 ft high in xeric garden with reflected heat off windows and brick wall in 80-90 degree summers. With this abuse, gets dry leaves at bottom but flowers vigorously. For support, I stake it and grow it behind Caryopteris shrub 'Dark Knight' which blooms at the same time.
R. lancinata 'Herbstsonne' is more dependable for me than the equally pretty 'Goldquelle'.
On Aug 31, 2010, NancyMcD from Grand Marais, MI wrote:
We grow this plant in a buried bathtub, which works great. The stems are robust and more than 6 feet tall, and have been rock-solid in our high winds on a ridge over Lake Superior. I suspect that getting sufficient moisture and nutrients is vital to stem strength. The flower color is strong yellow, but NOT that harsh, highway-line yellow of some coneflowers. The plant is very cold-hardy. The best feature: it's in bloom now, at the end of August, after the big summer bloomers but before the fall things have started. Wonderful!
On Jun 30, 2010, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:
It is June and my plant ,about 5 ft. across and over 5 ft tall, is covered in blooms. Stunning ! My only problem is that it does tend to flop over in heavy rain/winds. What is a good,strong companion plant to put in front of it ??
On Mar 25, 2010, jojimurph from Cold Spring, NY wrote:
Love this plant. I give it a few haircuts during the growing season to keep it a bit shorter and fuller. I agree that it is better in a cottage or wild garden than a more formal setting.
On Oct 18, 2009, BJames1 from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:
This is a great, tall yellow accent for the garden with very hardy, vigorous growth. My plants have survived attacks by voles by increasing in vigor. Unfortunately, voles did consume one of the three that I had purchased and planted along the west side of my home. Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' blooms late in the spring and into the summer. During years without oppressive drought conditions, there has been a rebloom period that extends the bloom time through most of the summer. I have received compliments on 'Herbstonne' from my neighbors, and they couldn't believe that they were a Black-Eyed Susans. Overall, a very satisfying tall perennial that adds the welcome promise of returning sunshine every year.
On Jun 15, 2009, 505badgolfer from Albuquerque, NM wrote:
A beautiful plant but a PRODIGIOUS water user in the high desert. My one year old plants need daily watering during hot weather.
On Jul 16, 2008, echinops from Logansport, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:
My clump is beautiful, several years old.
7 feet tall.
I started it from direct-sewn seed.
Most remarkably, the soil it is growing in is a mix of sand, rubble and a wee bit of loam. drains like crazy, quite dry, and yet this clump blooms full-tilt with minimal extra watering in arid Indiana July's.
Mine is paired with hollyhocks to make a great back-of-the border screen.
It's probably a bit too wild in habit for a well-manicured more formal garden. In a cottage-type garden, it fits right in.
On Sep 20, 2006, ktrose from Delaware, OH wrote:
This plant attracts yellow finch birds. I have it planted in front of my kitchen windows and it is a joy to watch the birds swaying in the breeze while they dine on the seed heads. It does well with very little care, reaches 7 feet and blooms through August and September. I cut back some of the plants in front of the clump early in the spring and they bloomed a bit later than the untrimmed ones.
On Aug 18, 2006, muddbear from (Zone 3b) wrote:
This is an awesome plant that grows up to 7 feet high, with a profusion of big yellow flowers! I just love this plant and am waiting until the nursery has their 40% off sale to buy more for around the mailbox.
On Jan 4, 2006, Illinois_Garden from Fox River Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
This has become my favorite of my perennial garden. It blooms beautifully, from July through September. It needs no care, it is heat and drought tolerant, I have it in nearly full sun. When other plants start to dry up for the year, this one is still green, leafy and blooming. I use it as a border plant for my garden, and I've been delighted to see Goldfinches sitting on it.
On Jul 28, 2005, fattmelon from Sophia, NC wrote:
I have experienced the same problems as gardenia1. First leaves, then entire stems turn black and die. Now most of the plant is dead and it is spreading to the other 6-8 plants.
On Jul 30, 2004, gardenia1 from Exton, PA wrote:
I don't understand what happnend but my plant was doing well up until the month of July. Then it started dying, one stem and flower at a time. I would cut the dead one off and the next day or so there would be 2 or 3 more dead. The next thing I know they were all dead. I don't know if somebody has done something or if my soil is lacking nutrients. But all my other flowers seem to be doing fine. Can someone tell me what the may have been the problem and if my flowers will bloom again next year?
On Jul 29, 2004, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:
During one of the wetest summers that I remember here this Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' (German for 'autumn sunshine') does well in my garden, near the Erie Canal in upstate New York. Only once did I find two snails who, fortunately for my garden, apparently had not yet met :) One blooming stalk did begin to flop due to the rainsoaked soil but I straightened it with a green-colored 9-foot bamboo stake. It is important to get to this task quickly before the flowerhead begins to bend toward the light.
This is one of the longest lasting, and tallest, perennials in my garden and, therefore, much enjoyed.
On Mar 25, 2004, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:
This plant showed remarkable strong during our last hot summer (the hottest in past 100 years!) with weeks of temps far over 30C in a sunny spot. It stayed looking so fresh and kept flowering until the sharp frosts has hitten it. Nothing could harm this Rudbeckia: extreme rain or drought and no bug, even a tiny one, has been seen. I sure can recommand this plant.
On Aug 3, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Common Name: cutleaf coneflower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 3 to 9
Native Range: North America
Garden Location: Martha Love Symington Missouri Native Shade Garden
Height: 2 to 9 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Color: Green, Yellow
Bloom Description: Yellow rays and green center disks
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Flowers: Showy Flowers
Wildlife: Attracts Butterflies
Uses: Will Naturalize
Grow in average, medium moisture soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates hot and humid summers, but not drought. Remove spent blooms to encourage a fall rebloom. Divide clumps to control growth.
Tall coneflower is a Missouri native perennial which occurs in moist soils in rich woodlands, thickets or along streams, sloughs or other bodies of water. Well-named since it may grow to 9′ tall in the wild, but typically grows 3-4′ tall in cultivation. Features daisy-like flowers (to 3.5″ across) with reflexed (drooping), yellow rays and dome-like, green center disks. Pinnate, deeply-lobed (3-5 parted), light green leaves. Long mid to late summer bloom period.
No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may need support.
Borders, meadows, cottage gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas.
Sold at Nassau County Master Gardener Plant Sale
Cutleaf coneflower can grow to over 5' tall in one season. Photo: J_McConnell, UF/IFAS
Foliage of cutleaf coneflower. Photo: J_McConnell, UF/IFAS
Cutleaf Coneflower blooms from summer to fall. Photo: J_McConnell, UF/IFAS
Summertime blooms of cutleaf coneflower are attractive to many insect species. Photo: J_McConnell, UF/IFAS
Pollinators love the flowers of this plant- butterflies, bees, wasps, and flies can be found on it. You can see several small bees and a wasp feeding on the flowers this June in the video below.
In the winter, birds will feed on the seedheads, so be sure to leave them on the plant. Finches are particularly fond of the seeds.
Cutleaf coneflower can grow up to 6 feet