Rudbeckia maxima, commonly called giant coneflower, features a basal clump of huge, glaucous, paddle-shaped, bluish-green leaves that rise in summer on sturdy, sparsely-leaved flower stalks. Each coneflower has slightly drooping rays and tall, dark brown central cones ranging from 2-6” high. Flowers bloom in summer. This coneflower is a coarse perennial native to open wooded areas, moist prairies, pastures, and along roads and railroad tracks in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, but introduced in several other states, including Missouri and South Carolina.
Basal foliage is evergreen in warm winter climates. Flower stalks may be left in place after bloom so goldfinches can enjoy the seed.
Another common name for this plant is cabbage leaf coneflower about the basal leaves.
This perennial coneflower is quickly grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, heat, some drought, and a somewhat wide range of soils. Performs best when planted in moist, organically rich soils. It may be grown from seed. In optimum growing conditions, the species will naturalize by self-seeding.
Light: Full Sun
Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Origin: Southcentral U.S.