One of the advantages of being a garden communicator is that you have the opportunity to learn about new plants before they are introduced to the retail market. Often wholesale nurseries will send plants to garden communicators which in my mind is a good thing because if they had not sent me the plant, I might not have otherwise paid attention to it or even known about it.
This year, Proven Winners sent me an annual, Bidens ‘Campfire Fireburst’. I had not grown or even heard of Bidens before. This is partly my fault. I tend not to purchase annuals especially plants (as oppose to seeds) because they are short-lived. Usually by October’s frost, they die so I find it hard to spend money on a plant that will only last a few months.
However, Bidens seems to be lasting even longer than a summer annual which increases its value tremendously. When I received it in the beginning of the growing season, I placed it in the garden in front of the house, which is on the southern side in full sun. Throughout the summer it bloomed and survived our mid Atlantic heat and humidity. I only watered a few times to get it established, I did not fertilize nor did I deadhead, trim, or stake.
Bidens was left to fend for itself but it thrived all summer long, blooming continuously. In the fall, its orange yellow flowers blended well with the mums and other Halloween decorations and now that it is December it is the only thing left blooming that I can cut and bring in to the office. I am amazed that it is still blooming in December. According to the Proven Winners web site, Bidens is hardy to zone 9 but we have had 30 degree nights where I have had to scrape the ice off the car in the morning.
Bidens ‘Campfire Fireburst’ will be available at retail garden centers in 2016. Recently there has been an increase in breeding efforts with this species so you may see a wider range of color combinations from yellow, gold, orange, and red, including bicolor and white and even lavender. The flowers are a small, simple, and daisy-shape on wiry stems. The foliage also is small, fern like and pretty in a parsley kind of way. Although I had placed mine in the garden bed next to a blue fescue, I think they are best used in a window box or hanging basket to be able to see the flowers up close. Bidens are heat and drought tolerant and provide an unusually long stretch of color, well into winter in my Virginia garden.