Bidens are Biding Their Time No Longer!

I remember first using Bidens, also called beggar ticks and burr marigolds, over 25 yeas ago and appreciated it’s drought tolerance and heavy flower production (good for pollinators) despite its pretty rangy and billowing habit.  The common names refer to the seed architecture and it’s tendency to stick or cling to fur or clothing, thereby assuring dispersal to a new habitat.  I only knew this plant as having typical composite, yellow blooms at the time and was impressed with it’s utilitarian use in the border, container and hanging basket.  The tumbling nature of this plant gave it value as a “filler” in many compositions but the plant was primarily just a solid performer with nothing too flashy about it.  Closely related to Coreopsis (tickseed), this genus has a wide native range with many species although the most commonly utilized species is ferulifolia and associated hybrids.  The typical height for this plant is around 12″ although the spread could be substantial and ultimately reach close to 36″ with older selections.  All that has changed over the last five years and most significantly in the past year or two.  Note the selection Pretty In Pink™ above and you get a hint of the excitement that surrounds recent breeding efforts with Bidens for a broader color range, interesting patterns, double forms and more compact form.

I just returned from a trip to the 2019 California Pack Trials (CAST) where I noted many new selections of Bidens that I hadn’t seen yet.  About five years ago I started seeing some selections with hints of orange and red but what I saw recently blew my mind!  I knew there were some white and red selections out there but I’ve been most impressed with some of the bicolor selections and the breeding for more compact plants (shorter internodes) has greatly expanded the potential of this plant from being a simple role player to a high performing focal point!  I think these new colors go beyond making Bidens just a novelty as the intensity of coloration is quite amazing with some selections having the additional attributes of extremely large flowers, heavier bud count and those with multiple colors, again, really stand out.  Simply scan through these selections in this blog.  These are just the varieties I photographed at CAST although I have some nice photos of other selections over the last couple of years.  Bidens seems to have solidified it’s future in our gardens with exciting new opportunities for gardeners.

‘White Delight’ (above)

Cupcake™  Strawberry (above)

Golden Empire™ (above and below)

Blazing™ Embers (above)

Yellow Splash™ (above)

Mexican Gold™ Jumbo (above)

Goldilocks Rocks® Improved (above and below)

Campfire® Flame

Taka Tuka® ‘White Yellow Center’ (above)

Taka Tuka® ‘Red Yellow Center’ (above)

Taka Tuka® ‘Orange Yellow Center’ (above)

‘Port Royal Double’ (above)

‘Sir Francis’ (above)

Taka Tuka® ‘Red Glow’ (above and below)

Bidens galore ( two above and below) – Taka Tuka® Series

‘Bellamy White’ (above)

Bee Happy™ Red Improved (‘Baleehedi’) – above

Bee Happy™ Orange (‘Baleenan’) – above

Namid™ Compact Yellow – above

Namid™ Early Yellow (‘KLEBF11764’) – above

‘Sweety’ (above)

‘Popstar Red’ (above and below)

‘Bee White’ (above)

‘Bidy Boom Bonfire’ (above)