After I had graduated from horticulture training I worked for a summer practicum at a small but famous public garden in North Vancouver. There I started to get a taste of the range of plant materials I would from now on work with. During my short time there I decided the next place I would work at would be more specialized in perennials which had I had become enthralled with. Early the next year i went to work at the largest perennial grower in Canada and started to learn all there was to know about this vast group of plants. I now associate the wonderful colors of Asters, Helenium and particularly Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ’Goldsturm’(Goldstorm Rudbeckia) with this time of the year.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ is the happy discovery of Heinrich Hagemann who worked for the famous plantsman Karl Foerster in 1937. He picked it out from a crop of Rudbeckias growing at a nursery owned by Gebrueder Schuetz . He noted that Rudbeckia fugida was a better form that the other commonly grown members of the species. Heinrich Hagemann then took the plant back to the nursery he worked at and managed to convince Karl Foerster(the owner) that this plant should be propagated and introduced as a new and better Rudbeckia for gardeners to grow. The Second World war intervened and it was not until 1949 that the public had the chance to start growing it.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ’Goldsturm’ is so beloved that in 1999 it was selected the Perennial Plant of the Year. It is a reward richly deserved as selection is a vigorous competition between many excellent plants. The criteria are many and the panel who make the selection are all experts in the field. This plant is always propated from cuttings.
Rudbeckias come from the prairies whereas this one is from the east coast, ranging from New Jersey to Illinois. This may be why it is tolerant of a larger range of situations.
Since it’s introduction Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ has been one of the most popular of all perennials which are grown. It has some many things which to recommend it. Throughout the year this plant looks orderly. It’s foliage is more substantial and dark and stands up well against pests and all forms of weather. It’s glowing blossoms give a steady performance over a long period. It always look tidy even when the blooms are spent. It is also a very low maintenance plant and is easy and tolerant in all areas from near the ocean shore, windy sites, areas with summer droughts and sites with shade.
If you would like to grow some Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ’Goldsturm‘, it is easy. To get the best performance from your plants give it well drained but moist soil. Locate your plants in full sun for the best display of blooms. Clumps will expand over time and are easy to divide, so your friends will love you if you can give them some. Remember to remove spent blooms and clean all the leave debris in the fall to keep the area pest free. Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ grows 60-75cm (1.5-2ft) tall and spreads to similar width. they are quite hardy and withstand a chilly zone 4(-30c or-20f). These plants are widely used in many situations; mass planting, borders, ocean exposed sites, butterfly attractants and use as late season color are but a few ways commonly seen.
To learn more about Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ’Goldsturm’
What the Perennial Plant Association has to say; http://www.perennialplant.org/99ppy.asp
B.B.C. Plant Finder infromation; http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/800.shtml