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Mexican hat vs. Black-eyed Susan

or, in Latin,

Ratibida columnifera vs. Rudbeckia hirta

Ratibida:

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Rudbeckia:

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These are two not-so-distant cousins, from famous Asteraceae family. Do you guys know what are the goods and the beds of each plant when you compare them? Which can you recommend? I am interested the most in their wildlife value, but also in all other aspects of growing them. I live in zone 8a, my soil is clay, and I have all kinds of sun exposure places for them.

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I have not grown Mexican hat. I am familiar with black-eyed susan as a long-lived, thrifty wild plant and garden plant. I don't know of wildlife that eat its greens preferentially - no one I know has trouble with rabbits or deer eating their b.e.s. garden plants, for instance. I haven't seen monarch butterfly babies crawling over them (like they do with butterfly weed). As a habitat for small wildlife, that's possible because over time they grow quite thick and don't seem worried by the crowding, and would give shelter to nesting mice, for instance. Seed-eating birds (such as goldfinches here in Indiana) might like to feed on them though I have not seen this myself. Fallen dried seedheads are no doubt treasured by little four-footed critters. Things tend not to go to waste, eventually. So I'm sure there's positive value for them in gardens and in the wild. The only downside in gardens is that they do spread and over time have to be lifted and divided if you don't want them crowding your other plants.

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