Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’: Garden Plant Plus Prairie Native Equals A Heavenly Daisy

A flower cluster

A plant with bold colours and daisy-style flowers effortlessly commanded my attention in the marquee at the recent Tatton Park Flower Show. Several plant nurseries had chosen to feature it prominently on their display and this is not a plant to hide its light under a bushel. Identified as Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’, it’s a relatively new hybrid and one to watch. If it seems deeply familiar, that’s perhaps because both of its parents, Rudbeckia and Echinacea, are so widely grown. 

A stall holder told me it has all the good qualities of its parents but none of their weak points. It’s early days yet and only time will tell whether it is still around in gardens ten or fifteen years from now, but if I was a betting person, I’d place a small wager on it. A composite description might be:

Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’

Large, long-lasting, daisy-style flowers in bold, velvety colours held on strong, upright, branched stems on a bushy, clump forming, relatively compact plant. It’s tolerant and easy to care for with no need to dead-head to stimulate new flowers or to stake plants to stop them tumbling over. Heat-loving and water-wise once established.

The flowers are supposed to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, (though, sadly, are not attractive enough to lure the latter across The Pond in tiny all-weather overcoats). Wearing its best of both worlds hat again, the fuzzy stems are said to be less attractive to deer though an impenetrable physical barrier between deer and plants is the only sure-fire defence.

Daisy flowers in shades of yellow, orange and brown

If you search online for a full description, you’ll find this plant and a couple of other colours listed as Echibeckia or Rudbeckia, the latter with or without Summerina™.

Slightly confusing, but it takes time for the experts to conclude what the official genus should be when a breeder develops a new type of plant from two genera that would not naturally cross. I’d vote for Echibeckia (pronounced ecky becky-a) just for the fun factor but I can see that name going the way of Boaty Mc Boatface. Sigh. The RHS are tentatively indicating Rudbeckia.

The variety names are a trip too. In the USA, Jackson & Perkins, who like to market exclusives, are listing ‘Butterscotch Biscuit’, describing it as a ‘triumph of horticultural science’, a ‘botanical breakthrough’ and ‘extremely cutworthy’ (a new one on me, but I get the point).

Allplant EU continue the baking imagery by offering ‘Pecan Pie’. Other names you may find in your area include ‘Brown Turin’, ‘Orange Turin’, ‘Patio Brown’, ‘Patio Orange’ and ‘Patio Yellow’, ‘Copper’, ‘Brown’ and ‘Yellow’. It’s tempting to conclude that some of these are the same cultivar, marketed under different names by licensees in different territories, but we’d need insider knowledge to be sure of that.

Flowers have a brown eye with a ring of yellow pollen

The sheer flower power of Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’ should make it a joy to sell. As Paddock Plants say:

‘Once they started flowering, we took some to shows and they did the old hot cakes trick.’

A plant with young and old flowers will be a lovely mix of colours. ‘Orange’ has a bit of the yellow about it when the flowers are at their freshest; ‘Yellow’ has a bit of orange about it. My guess is that all the varieties’ flowers generally start off a brighter shade then, at various speeds, deepen in colour towards copper-brown.

The flowers age to a deep, dusky orange

I can vouch for the fact that it is an eye catching variety and you can judge for yourself whether or not it is photogenic. If the Dutch breeder has managed to give us the best of both worlds, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’. I don’t suppose the breeder would be available for last-ditch Brexit negotiations? Just a thought.

Orange daisy flowers with pink achillea

41 thoughts on “Rudbeckia Summerina ‘Orange’: Garden Plant Plus Prairie Native Equals A Heavenly Daisy

  1. Marian St.Clair says:

    As you say, time will tell. Chances depend in part on which Echinacea, as some are more “perennial” than others. In any case, looks like a good plant for pollinators.

    • susurrus says:

      A fascinating wave of marketing has been unleashed, but most sellers are being coy about the exact parentage. Your comment made me dig a little deeper and I’ve found my old dancing pal, Larry Hodgson, describing it as a cross between R. hirta and E. purpurea. I hadn’t realised he was a WordPress blogger (The Laidback Gardener) so that was an extra treat.

  2. Laurie Graves says:

    It’s a beauty, that’s for sure. As you noted, only time will tell if it is still in gardens years from now.

    • susurrus says:

      There is a lot of pressure on a breeder to develop a plant that shows well at the selling stage and this certainly does, giving it a great advantage (some that go on to make good garden plants look decidedly underwhelming in the garden centre). Not really one for your shade though!

  3. Oddment says:

    What a beauty! It reminds me of the Rudbeckia I have here, though only vaguely. Alas, the rabbits hereabouts love it. So far, they have not discovered it in the pot on the deck. I do love the name Echibeckia. I think I could remember that one! (p.s. “I get the point” to “cutworthy”? Was that deliberate?)

    • susurrus says:

      It could be a newish word we’re just not familiar with yet. It must have been a blast to talk to Shakespeare if he really did make up all the amount of words he’s supposed to have done. I wonder how many were truly made up by him and how many were dialect or family words that just didn’t appear written down before.

      • Oddment says:

        I do love the image of people scratching their heads and looking perplexed as they walk away from a friendly chat with Shakespeare. Sometimes a made-up word fills a void. Suddenly we need it and we didn’t even know we needed it!

    • susurrus says:

      This is the one I’ve been promising to post about, but you probably guessed that. It’s broadly similar in effect to the helenium we were discussing: the helenium has the same type of flower power but is loose and naturally graceful, while this seems to be bolder and more compact.

  4. Vibrant Garden says:

    This new variety really looks amazing and the photos have turned out very beautiful as well. Thank you for presenting this new flower to us. I will be looking for it in the garden centers. It sounds like it can make a great addition to my perennial garden.

  5. tonytomeo says:

    As a hybrid, will it provide nutritious pollen and nectar for the insect pollinators that it attracts, or merely fill them up with inert ‘stuff’?

    • susurrus says:

      I can’t answer Tony, though I was surprised to see this one listed as being good for pollinators too. Your comment made me look up information about bees and flowers and I found to my surprise rhododendron, oleander and azalea are listed as harmful for bees on Countryfile’s article about the top ten worst plants for bees. It recommends clematis as an alternative for rhododendron, which is not an alternative that would have occurred to me! I saw a few bees grazing on an early rhododendron earlier this year which suggests it’s not just humans who like sweet stuff that is bad for them.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Wow! Rhododendrons and azaleas were our main crops since 1974, long before my time, and I have never heard of them being toxic to bees! They only make the honey toxic to people, but not to bees. The bees who live among the rhododendrons do not seem to be any less healthy or bothered by the rhododendrons. They would know what is toxic to them, and would avoid them. Incidentally, rhododendrons and azaleas are notably unpopular with bees. What I mean is that relative to the profusion of bloom in season, they do not attract large crowds of bees, and the bees that are there tend to congregate around other flowers. Bees are very abundant when the apple trees bloom!
        The problem with some modern hybrids is that bees recognize them as something that they can procure sustenance from, only to find sterile pollen and inferior nectar from sterile flowers. Sometimes they find flowers that they can not navigate.

        • susurrus says:

          I’d heard that hybrids can be less nutritious, but hadn’t heard about rhododendron toxicity either. R. ponticum is toxic to some bees (e.g. honey bees) in some areas – the species more so than some of its hybrids.

  6. calensariel says:

    They remind me of daisies (which I would have mistaken them for). But that blue center is in such contrast to the other colors. Just lovely… Do you know if they grow well in the states? As in full sun or partial shade?

    • susurrus says:

      This is the first time I can remember seeing them, so I don’t know for sure. They are listed on several US supplier’s websites under various names and colours, though I didn’t see any marked as being in stock.

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