Rudbeckia triloba, or Brown-Eyed Susan, is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial that grows easily in average, moist, well-drained soils. It is a rugged plant, somewhat weedy, that tolerates heat, drought, deer predation, and a wide range of soils. It will also grow in light shade, although too much shade may cause it to need support.
The plant's typical height is 3 to 5 feet with 2 to 4-inch leaves and 2 to 3-inch yellow flowers with dark purple-brown center disks. The leaves often have 3 lobes and a rosette of leaves that originate at the base of the stem persists through the winter, creating an attractive winter ground cover.
Flowers bloom in late summer through fall and make an excellent cut flower. This plant differs from black-eyed Susan (R. hirta), which has a bloom of smaller, but more numerous, flowers.
You can deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional blooms, which also prevents any unwanted self-seeding. Because the plant self-seeds, it can re-emerge in the spring garden regardless of the survival of the original plant through the winter.