Rudbeckia maxima (giant coneflower, Mexican sombrero, Mexican Hats) another beautiful native wildflower that is beautiful in a sunny yard. I LOVE this plant! If you never see them blooming on the roadsides, come to our IDEA Garden and have a look at ours. Up the hill in the southern end, you will see this beauty blooming for all its worth. There are hundreds blooming along I-20 on the way to Dallas too, and they are magnificent.
Mexican hats (what I have always heard them called) is a lovely plant all year. In winter, the clump of evergreen leaves take on a bluish tint and look wonderful growing in a perennial bed. They remind me of mules’ ears, large. The clump never gets over eighteen inches or so high. Then in June, here come the tall (up to 5 ft. or more) flower stems topped by a huge yellow daisy-like flower with a large very significant black center. After the flowers fade, the ‘cones’ or centers look great on their own for a while. As years pass, the clumps will grow larger, but if you deadhead (cut off the old flower heads) before the seeds fall, they will not become invasive. Unless you have a very moist yard, they won’t be invasive anyway and you will have seedlings to share.
Many gardeners shy away from tall flowers, but Mexican hats aren’t really that tall, just when blooming are they tall. After all, with flowers like that, they want everyone to see, and I am glad. The large flowers stand tall, but airy, and you can see other plants through them, a very lovely sight.
Mexican hats are easy. Just give them plenty of sun. They will also grow in poorly drained soil or good garden soil. If you have a sunny place to give them, I suggest you get some. You won’t be sorry.