Rudbekia hirta, also known as the black-eyed Susan, is a popular breed of wildflower native almost exclusively to North America. It’s yellow, sunflower-like petals and large brown center account for its many colorful names, such as the golden Jerusalem, brown betty, English bull’s eye, and yellow ox-eye daisy.
Because of their status as hardy perennials, Susans can handle being removed and transplanted if need be. This task is not that difficult, and you can usually complete the job in a couple of hours. Using this guide may even cut down on that timetable and make your job go much more smoothly.
Step 1 - Choose an Appropriate Time
It is easiest to transplant black-eyed Susans after all of the flowers and blooms die away for the season since you won't have to worry as much about damaging them and maneuvering around them. You can transplant these when they are in bloom, but be aware that the flowers will probably wither away.
As a rule of thumb, the best time to transplant black-eyed Susan flowers is in the late fall, well before the first frost.
Step 2 - Soak the Plants
Use a water hose to thoroughly saturate the plant and soil area where your black-eyed Susan is planted. Water slowly and allow it to thoroughly saturate the root system so that the plant will be hydrated and fortified for the move. Wait for about 30 to 60 minutes before digging out the plant. This will help loosen the root system and make it easier to remove.
Step 3 - Prepare the New Location
Prepare the new location for your black-eyed Susans by turning the soil with all-purpose fertilizer and adding super phosphate or animal manure. For commercial fertilizer, an even 10-10-10 preparation is ideal.
Also, be sure that the hole you dig in the new location is the same depth as the hole from the original location, typically somewhere in the one-foot range. You may be able to judge the depth by examining the root system for a visible soil line.
If you are transplanting more than one yellow daisy, position your individual holes about a foot apart to give each one adequate space.
Step 4 - Dig Out the Plant
Return to the plant that it still in its original spot. Begin at the drip line of the black-eyed Susan and carefully dig out as much of the root system as you can. If you must cut parts, make sure to create straight clean cuts that will not damage the roots too badly.
Carefully remove the plant from the hole, and then gently shake loose any dirt that clings to the root ball. Take this moment to gently remove any dead growth or woody portions off the crown or root system.
Step 5 - Replant the Black-eyed Susan
Insert the plants into the new holes and pack soil around them tightly enough to support the plant and allow it to stand on its own. Try to do your actual replanting in the evening or when the sun has set. This way the freshly transplanted wildflowers won’t have to weather the hot sunlight just as they’re acclimating to their new home.
Step 6 - Add Organic Mulch
Add two to three inches of organic mulch around the base to help retain moisture in the soil and help keep the root system protected while it reestablishes.
Step 7 - Add Fertilizer
Apply more all-purpose fertilizer to help provide much needed nutrients for the new newly transplanted flowers.
Step 8 – Water the Transplants
Thoroughly water the relocated flowers, but only do so by adding water in increments. This ensures that the root system is thoroughly watered but not saturated. You will need to frequently water the black-eyed Susan plant for approximately two months until the root system again is established; then, you can ease off a little.
Following these steps should allow for a successful transplant if you are careful and thorough. Continue with your regular care after the roots have established themselves, and your flowers should have a long, healthy life.