Viette’s Little Suzy Black-Eyed Susan

Viette’s Little Suzy Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia speciosa ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’

Description & Overview

With endless blooms from July through September, great disease resistance, and bright yellow, daisy-like flowers, Viette’s Little Suzy is a dependable perennial that brings a dose of happiness wherever it’s planted. This dwarf cultivar blooms all season long and attracts tons of pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 12-18 inches
Mature Spread: .75-1 inch
Growth Rate: Perennial
Growth Form: Compact, upright, clump forming
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Site Requirements: Organically rich to average
Flower: Yellow with dark chocolate center
Bloom Period: July to September
Foliage: Medium-green
Fall Color: Leaves turn mahogany in fall
Fruit Notes: Black, spherical fruiting heads

Suggested Uses:

Viette’s Little Suzy, a more compact plant than Goldsturm, is stunning when planted in number, creating a bright drift of gold. They are also fantastic along borders, walkways, patios, and terraces to soften edges. With long-lasting blooms and bold texture, they complement many garden styles including cottage, meadow, rain, pollinator, and native plant gardens.

While stems are on the shorter side, Viette’s Little Suzy makes excellent and long-lasting cut flowers. With their petite bloom size, they can be tucked into arrangements and used as filler flowers.

Wildlife Value:

A variety of bees, butterflies, and pollinators visit the Rudbeckia genus for nectar and pollen. Of note, they are a larval host plant to the Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata) and Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) moths, often found throughout Wisconsin. American goldfinches eat the seeds in the fall.

Maintenance Tips:

Viette’s Little Suzy, and the genus Rudbeckia in general, thrive in full sun – the more sun the better. While somewhat tolerant of drought conditions, Viette’s Little Suzy prefers consistent moisture until they are established. A layer of mulch (not touching the base of the plant) will help keep the soil moist and cool. Deadheading spent flowers will promote additional blooms, often lasting well into September. Plants spread slowly by rhizomes and can be divided or thinned every two to three years in the springtime if desired.


With excellent disease resistance, Viette’s Little Suzy has no serious problems and has shown better disease resistance to Septoria leaf spot and powdery mildew, both fungal diseases that survive in plant debris or on infected plants. The easiest way to prevent Septoria leaf spot is to increase spacing between plants to allow for better airflow and decrease humidity and time to dry. The pubescent hairs on the foliage discourage any moisture from remaining that would create fungal issues.

Leaf Lore:

The genus name Rudbeckia honors Olof Rudbeck Sr. and Jr., Swedish botanists, and professors at the University of Upsala in Sweden. Mentors of Carl Linnaeus, the Rudbecks took him under their wing, providing him with housing and a tutoring job. Linnaeus would then go on to develop the binomial system still used today to name all forms of life by genus and species. For reasons that are unknown, Linneaus decided to name the entire genus after his mentors. The epithet speciosa means “shining” or “glistening”.

Mark Andre Viette, of Viette’s Nursery, discovered and introduced this cultivar, after finding it growing in a cultivated area in Fishersville, Virginia, hence the name ‘Viette’s Little Suzy.’ The flowers are a bit smaller than most of the larger Rudbeckia varieties, but numerous blooms make up for the size difference.

Companion Plants:

Viette’s Little Suzy stand out on their own when planted en masse, but look even more wonderful when backed by taller perennials such as Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum), Blue Fortune Agastache (Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’), Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa), and ornamental grasses like Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) or Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).


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