Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ has been a top-selling perennial for ages and has won multiple awards since its introduction, including the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999. So why try something new? While ‘Goldsturm’ is a nice choice, it does have flaws. In Michigan, one of the biggest problems is its susceptibility to Rudbeckia Leaf Spot. Often by the time the plant blooms, the foliage is covered in unsightly black spots. Also, the flowers are produced on tall stems well above the foliage, giving the plant a prairie-like look.
In comparison, the new Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar,’ introduced in 2011 by Jelitto, offers a more compact and proportional habit, improved flowering performance and some measure of disease resistance.
Depending on cultural conditions, ‘Goldsturm’ grows 2 to 3 feet tall with long, strong stems topped with a dome of large, golden yellow flowers from midsummer into early fall. The new ‘Little Goldstar’ forms a short, bushy clump that becomes completely covered in smaller, but more plentiful, golden yellow flowers on well-branched stems. It measures just 14 to 16 inches tall in full bloom and a compact habit makes it better for use in containers and gives it a more refined look suitable for today’s suburban landscapes.
During hot, humid Michigan summers, ‘Goldsturm’ often becomes inflicted with the Rudbeckia Leaf Spot. Of several varieties trialed, ‘Little Goldstar’ was one of the last to contract the disease. While the search for a completely immune Rudbeckia continues, ‘Little Goldstar’ brings growers a little closer to that goal.