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.
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This annual started out with just simple yellow blooms, but it is available now in a wide variety of 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 wide variety of patterns and colors also makes 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 truly rough conditions. Once they are established, bidens are quite drought tolerant. Plant them in well-drained soils with a good amount of organic matter, as they are heavy feeders. Try to give them at least a monthly dose of fertilizer to keep them producing cheery flowers, or at least a dose of slow-release fertilizer. While they can tolerate drought well, they do 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 is not advisable as they do not 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 a good pinching or shearing early on to encourage dense plants with lots of branching. If your plants become leggy at any point during the season, they can handle a hard cutback to encourage a new flush of foliage and flowers. Bidens don't require any deadheading; because of their quick growth and numerous flowers, they "bury their dead." By the time 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. This is how these plants evolved their dispersal method in order to spread: hitching rides on animals and other passersby. In a garden setting, this can be aggravating, especially with pets. Many new varieties are sterile, with no sticky seeds to worry about.
There has been a recent influx of new bidens varieties, featuring new colors, patterns, and habits. What used to be mostly only oranges and yellows now includes pinks and whites as well. A constant improvement on 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 of the new types are also sterile, so the plants don't waste energy on seed production and as a result produce more blooms for longer 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 and rings of colors, and different-color petal tips.
More Varieties of Bidens
Bidens Companion Plants
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, but they're 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.
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. Bring them indoors to overwinter, if you like, then replant outdoors in spring. Or they can bloom indoors all year long if they get enough light.
Garden Plans for Bidens
Deckside Container-Garden Plan
Dress up your deck with this low-maintenance, high-color container-garden plan.