If there is true perennial classic, it has to be Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm‘. This striking cultivar is popular in horticulture since introduction in 1949 and it‘s popularity was crowned by Award of Garden Merit by Royal Horticultural Society in 1993 and was selected by the Perennial Plant Association as the 1999 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Here are the highlights of this variety : compact growth and good texture, very long blooming period of nearly 3 months (each single flower blooms for 2 weeks, about 2“ across), nearly 100% flower coverage of the mounds, adaptable and drought tolerant, easy to grow and low maintenance perennial, ornamental seedheads, quite long living perennial, good pollinator plant, black walnut tolerant, long lasting cut flower and quite good groundcover for full sun,…..simply really superior herbaceous plant, right?
What makes my heart really happy is writing about it‘s historic background, because this superb cultivar was discovered in my home country, in Czechoslovakia in difficult war years in 1937, that’s why it came to the market later after the WWII was over, in 1949.
Originally the seeds of the wild form were shipped from USA to The Botanic Garden of the University in Graz (Germany) and also handed to The Brother Schütz Nursery in Czechoslovakia (Gebrüder Schütz). Nursery of Brother Schütz in Olomučany at Blansko was at that time well established and recognized perennial nursery with central European overlaps.
In this nursery started his career Heinrich Hagemann (who became head gardener at world famous perennial breeder and grower Karl Foerster). When Heinrich Hagemann was on privat visit in this nursery, he noticed and admired the compact habit and floods of blooms of this floriferous charmers, that were already cultivated in experimental flower beds of so called ”Gethsemane garden“.
Heinrich brought some plants back to Potsdam in Germany in 1937 and made Karl Foerster to grow and propagate them. Seeing the flowers in 1938 for the first time, as the legend says, Karl Foerster called out 'Goldsturm' - 'Gold Sturm' = 'Gold Storm'.
Since then bright golden-yellow flowers of ‚Goldsturm‘ shine in gardens worldwide.
(P.S. with Czechoslovakian Brother Schütz Nursery is also connected architect Grete Roder Müller, co-author of the garden of Villa Tugendhat, unique pioneer modern european architecture in Brno, Czech Republic. Heinrich Hagemann started his own nursery Hagemann Staudenkulturen, that operates till these days).
Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm‘ fits to any sunny border with medium-moist to medium-dry soil. Amount of suitable companions is neverending. The best contrast yellow- blue combinations can be achieved by combo of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune‘, Agastache ‘Black Adder‘ or Agastache ‘Blue Boa‘, Aster frikartii ‘Monch‘, Aster oblongifolius, Aster novae-angliae – bluish cultivars, Delphinium (with second re-blooms), Echinops, Eryngium planum, Geranium ‘Rozanne‘ and it’s descentants, Lobelia siphilitica (on moist soils), Monarda ‘Blue Stoking‘, Nepeta x faasenii (it it was cut back previously), Perovskia, Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise‘, Salvia farinacea, Verbena bonariensis, Verbena hastata ‘Blue Spires‘ or with blue flowering shrubs of Hydrangea macrophylla at the background.
Other great combos are with Coreopsis, Echinacea purpurea, Eupatorium, Gaura, Helenium, reblooming Hemerocallis, Monarda, Persicaria amplexicaulis, Physostegia, Sedum telephium and grasses like Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus heterolepis, Stipa or species of Hydrangea.
Great in any landscaping – private and public spaces, cottage gardens, woodland edges, butterfly gardens, pollinator gardens, plantings supporting birds.
In spaces that are not aired enough, some leaf fungi diseases (septoria leaf spot) or powdery mildew can occur. If ‘Goldsturm‘ really suffer in some localities, you can replace it with new variety Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush‘ that is fungus diseases free!
Blooming time : June to September
Size : usually 2-2.5’ tall x 18-24” wide (spacing about 12-15 “), it slowly spread on the soil surface by shorter rhizomes, the leaves are somewhat groundcovering
USDA zones : 4 to 8
Culture: full sun, half sun, half shade (will flower less there), average garden soil, moist, well-drained soils, loamy soils, clayish soils. Adaptable to sandy or rocky soil, if they are not too dry.
Moisture Needs : medium-dry, medium, medium-moist, moist, quite drought tolerant after established
Origin: garden origin, seed line. Wild form of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii is native in areas from New York to West Virginia west to Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. Can be found in swamps, shorelines, fens and sedge meadows Wild form is not commonly sold, because of the extreme popularity of its ornamentaly upscale cultivar ‘Goldsturm’.
Deer/rabbit resistant : yes / yes, but still some mammal can browse the leaves
Attracts Butterflies or Pollinators : flower offer nectar and pollen to butterflies, native bees, honey bees, pollinating flies, skippers and beetles. Caterpillars of several moths feed on the foliage and flowers. Songbirds feed on the seeds.
Attracts Hummingbirds : no
Pot Size : 3.5" perennial pot (1.22 pt/580 ml)