Rudbeckia_fulgidaOrange coneflower is a perennial in the Asteraceae family and is native to North America. It grows one to three feet tall and has flowerheads two to three inches across consisting of bright yellow-orange ray flowers surrounding black disc flowers. The flowers resembles those of black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) which is an annual. There are several good varities of orange coneflower the most of which is R. fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ .Unfortunately, it can not be grown from seed and must be propagated by division. Other varieties, however can be grown from seed although care must be taken to keep them separate for seed collection because they are cross pollinated by insects and may not breed true. Orange coneflowers like full to part sun and average garden soil with medium moisture.

The seeds are held in the black central disc of the flower head. They are relatively large and will loosen five to six weeks after the flowers have faded.

Directions for Collecting Seed

1. When the seeds are loose and fall off when the seed head is shaken, clip the flowerheads from the stem.
2. Roll the flowerheads between your fingers or put them in a covered container and shake them to release the seeds.
3. Use a strainer to separate the chaff from the seed.
4. Dry the seeds for a week or two on paper towels.
5. Seal in a plastic bag placed in a glass jar. Label and store in a dark, dry, cool place like the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.

NB. Seeds need stratification so sowing them outdoors n the fall soon after harvest is recommended.

By Karen