Bidens

Add a splash of bright color to your container gardens and hanging baskets with this easy-to-grow annual.

Colorful Combinations

An annual, the bidens plant started with simple yellow blooms, but it's now available in various colors. Most commonly grown as a trailing or groundcover plant, bidens are also available in more upright types that work wonderfully as a bedding plant in the ground. Their loose, rambling habit helps bidens wind through the garden, covering any bare spots. The many patterns and colors make bidens great combination plants with other annuals, especially when used in hanging baskets and window boxes. Try planting them with petunias for a stunning display of color.

Bidens Care Must-Knows

This tough annual can keep blooming through some genuinely rough conditions. Once they're established, bidens plants are quite drought tolerant. Plant them in well-drained soils with a good amount of organic matter, as they are heavy feeders. Give them a monthly dose of fertilizer at a minimum to keep them producing cheery flowers or at least a dose of slow-release fertilizer. While they can tolerate drought well, they appreciate regular watering when possible. A too-long period of drought can affect their blooming potential.

For the best blooms, plant bidens in full sun. While they can tolerate part sun, it's not advisable as they won't bloom as well, and the overall plant habit can become leggy and unappealing.

Because these plants can be a little rangy at times, it's a good idea to give bidens plants a good pinching or shearing early on to encourage dense plants with lots of branching. If plants become leggy during the season, they can handle a hard cutback to encourage a new flush of foliage and flowers. Bidens don't require deadheading; because of their rapid growth and numerous flowers, they "bury their dead." When the old blooms drop their petals, there is already a flush of new growth to cover it up.

Some older varieties of bidens can produce burr-like seeds that can be bothersome, as they stick to anything and everything. Bidens hitch rides on animals and other passersby to spread their seeds. In a garden setting, this can be aggravating, especially with pets. Fortunately, many new varieties are sterile, with no sticky seeds to worry about.

New Innovations

There has been a recent influx of new bidens varieties featuring new colors, patterns, and habits. Bidens plants used to be mainly oranges and yellows but now include pinks and whites. Another improvement for bidens has been plant habits. Some older types can get leggy and loose, so many new varieties have improved branching with tighter internodes, which means denser plants and more blooms. Most new types are also sterile, so the plants don't waste energy on seed production and produce more blooms for extended periods. There has also been an increase in flower patterns. Bidens used to primarily feature solid-color blooms, but now you can find petals with brushstrokes, rings of colors, and different-color petal tips.

More Varieties of Bidens

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Bidens Overview

Description Tumbling over the edges of containers and spilling down the sides of hanging baskets, bidens looks like a colorful floral waterfall. With prolific blooms of gold, pink, white, red, or orange, these annuals put on quite the show with very little effort. Their fine foliage adds a light, airy texture and acts as an unobtrusive backdrop to let the dramatic floral display shine.
Genus Name Bidens
Common Name Bidens
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 1 to 3 feet
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 8, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Drought Tolerant, Groundcover
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Bidens ferulifolia Goldilocks Rocks®

bidens ferulifolia goldilocks rocks
Denny Schrock

Large semi-double golden blooms on vigorous drought-tolerant plants perfect for containers. Zones 9-11

Bidens Companion Plants

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Angelonia

angelonia summer snapdragon
David Speer

Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and you'll know why once you get a good look at it. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can keep it flowering all winter.

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Geranium

pink geranium
Andrew Drake

Geraniums have been a gardener's favorite for well over a century. The old-fashioned standard for beds, borders, and containers, geranium is still one of the most popular plants today. Traditional bedding types love hot weather and hold up well to dry conditions; many offer colorful foliage. Regal, also called Martha Washington, geraniums are more delicate-looking and do better in the cool conditions of spring and fall. Though most geraniums are grown as annuals, they are perennials in Zones 10-11. If you like, bring them indoors to overwinter, then replant outdoors in spring. Or they can bloom indoors all year long if they get enough light.

Garden Plans for Bidens

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Deckside Container-Garden Plan

illustration of garden plan with wall and outdoor seating
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Dress up your deck with this low-maintenance, high-color container-garden plan.

Download this garden plan!

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