Shiny coneflower – info, planting, care and tips

Shiny coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida)
Shiny coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida)

The shiny coneflower is the star in every bed, not only because of its bright flowers, but also because of its enormous size. Tips for planting and care.

Profile of shiny coneflower:

Scientific name: Rudbeckia nitida

Plant family: asters or daisy family (Asteraceae or Compositae)

Other names: –

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: March / April or September / October

Flowering period: July to October

Location: sunny to partially shaded

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, bouquets, single position, group planting, borders, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of shiny coneflower

Plant order, origin and occurrence of shiny coneflower

The large daisy family (Asteraceae) also includes the genus of coneflowers (Rudbeckia). It comprises around 20 species, including the shiny coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida). Like its relatives, it comes from North America, where it grows mainly in the south-west on moist meadows, on rather shady woody edges and in light pine forests. The hardy perennials were named after two Swedish scientists, father and son named Olof Rudbeck. The addition “nitida” means “shimmering” or “shiny”, which refers to the foliage. In the garden, the valuable late and permanent bloomers form lush, head-high cluster.

Characteristics of shiny coneflower


The shiny coneflower grows as a hardy perennial and, depending on the variety and location, reaches heights of one and a half to over two meters (5 to 7 ft). Using short runners, it quickly forms stable clusters with a diameter of 60 to 90 centimeters (24 to 36 in). The enormous height and the bright flowers make the flower an impressive, widely visible eye-catcher.


The upright and branched stems have oval to broadly lanceolate leaves with a slight sheen. The alternate foliage is partly stalked, partly unset, the edge smooth to roughly serrated.


The large flowers that appear between July and October are similar in color and shape to those of the other coneflowers: around a conical cone made of tubular flowers – the flower head – there are yellow ligulate- or ray flowers. Unlike other species, the flower head in Rudbeckia nitida is not brown, but green-yellow in color. The ligulate flowers hang down arched, which has given the plants the name “parachute” sun hat in some countries. The flowers are popular with bees, moths and other insects and are also suitable for cutting.

Shiny coneflower – cultivation and care


Shiny coneflowers grows in both sunny and partially shaded places.


The soil should be nutrient-rich and permeable, but still to keep moisture. A clayey subsurface is ideal. The plants do not like dryness so much, they tend to fall over and are generally less vital and resistant.


Put the shiny coneflower as a solitary or in small groups of up to three plants, keeping a distance of about 70 centimeters (28 in).

Care / Watering / Fertilization

At the right location, Rudbeckia nitida, like most perennials, is very easy to care for and long-lasting. In longer dry periods, it is advisable to water the plants. Faded or the entire cluster can be cut back in autumn or only in spring before the coneflower shoots again. It is usually not necessary to support the rather long shoots. It may be necessary to protect the cluster, at least in spring, from snails.


The easiest and most varietal way to propagate shiny coneflower is by division in March / April or in September / October. Even clusters that have become too large can be reduced in this way.

Diseases and pests

Snails are sometimes a problem, otherwise it is mainly mistakes made by care or incorrect locations that are difficult for the shiny coneflower.


Shiny coneflowers are hardy down to -40 °C / -35 °F.

Use in the garden

The enormous height makes the shiny coneflower the perfect perennial for the background of beds, for open spaces or as an eye-catcher that is based on hedges, fences or walls. It also feels comfortable near the water, but not standing wet. The long flowering period not only makes it a valuable bee pasture, it is also an advantage in plantings, as the perennials are present from the budding in spring to the bloom in autumn, and perhaps also with the seed heads in winter.

In terms of color, the yellow of the flowers can be combined in many ways. Suitable partners should at least have similar demands on the location and not be too small. Ornamental grasses such as silvergrass (Miscanthus) and switchgrass (Panicum) and flowering perennials such as hemp agrimony (Eupatorium), fennel (Foeniculum ‘Rubrum’), crimson beebalm (Monarda), sneezeweed (Helenium), false dragonhead (Physostegia), smooth aster (Aster laevis) or yarrow (Achillea) fit well.


There are few varieties of shiny coneflower; and the difference is usually hardly noticeable. The most common ones in retail are ‘Golden July’ and ‘Autum sun’. The former blooms particularly early, in July and August, the latter from August to October. Both reach heights of between 150 and 200 centimeters and show the typical yellow flowers. The ‘Gold Umbrella’, which is similar to the ‘Autumn Sun’ is barely available. ‘Sun Wheel’ is a newer cultivation with a double petal wreath. It blooms in August and September and grows to around 160 centimeters high (64 in).

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