07
January
2019

Bidens Levels Up

BID Golden Empire 0001'Golden Empire' is a semi-double with larger blooms and overlapping petals

Like a video game character, Bidens is leveling up its game. One of the breeding giants, Danziger from Israel, has focused its breeding efforts to move the genus more mainstream. This is a loaded phrase, but it generally means good things for us—and they are not the only ones hammering at it. Let’s unpack what all this Bidens activity really means.

BID Pretty in Pink 0002
‘Pretty in Pink’ expands Bidens into new colors

Why Bidens?

Traditionalists know Bidens grows very low with a nice carpet of creamy yellow daisy-like flowers. As a colorful groundcover it makes effective edging leading up to another landscape element. Another neat trick Bidens performs is burying its dead. Petals drop off and fall to the ground when a bloom is done so you never see any dead flowers along the top to mar a presentation. This plant is always clean.

We are fond of the genus ourselves—it finds its way into many of our Field Day displays because it is so reliable. However, some might feel it’s locked into a low yellow straight jacket. “What else can it do?” you might ask. It’s true that Bidens has had a signature power move, but very little else to offer.

BID Golden Empire 0005‘Golden Empire’ mounds, whereas most Bidens have a flat top in a container

What is Danziger Doing?

Danziger hopes to change that situation. As a major brand in the breeding world, they have the cash, the genetics, and the talent pool to innovate hard. Their focus is to lift Bidens into the mainstream by building on the plant’s latent strengths: other colors are available in closely-related cousins to the standard yellow, and taller versions can improve its height restrictions.

In their minds, Bidens will go mainstream if the plant can flex more and offer more styles of play. Danziger chose three techniques to take it up a level:

  • Expand the reach. You may remember ‘White Delight’ from last year. This year, they have released ‘Pretty in Pink’ and a semi-double form, ‘Golden Empire’. So now Bidens can flash its moves with a broader range.
  • Dress better. They buffed the basics such as a bushier habit, better heat tolerance, and solid coverage down to the ground all across the line. 
  • Sit up. Containers present a problem, where a Bidens pot lies low and flat across the top. A Danziger Bidens has the ability to mound its color, a habit strongly preferred by consumers today. This is a crucial capability if Danziger wants to take the fight into containers, a huge market unto itself.

BID Pretty in Pink 0001
Color coverage for ‘Pretty in Pink’ is strong 

Danziger wants Bidens to take on that middle filler role in combinations. Dense, fluffy texture and heavy color coverage creates a solid block at the base where the plants meet the soil and pot. Equally important is their drive for consistency. Underneath the hood, Danziger has groomed the genetics of both new and existing cultivars so they mature to the same height and shape.

You don’t see this improvement as much as you feel the difference. It is seriously important to move into the mainstream, and the hallmark of a quality series is consistent height and shape among all the players. Designers like to swap out one look for another and growers don’t like problems. All it takes is one bad experience to kill all future sales.

BID Golden Empire 0006Golden Empire’ can handle chilly April nights

Culture and Care Notes

Another Bidens strength is a fan base that is already comfortable with its style of play. Nothing much has changed in this regard, and that’s a good thing. Full sun delivers the best color; watering well establishes the plant. Bidens came out of a cooler environment so it can handle chilly April nights. As a bonus, the genetic wizards at Danziger have worked in better heat tolerance so the blooms don’t flag during summer heat raids.

Folks talk about drought-resistance with Bidens, and the plant will probably survive a long stretch of dry but this is not true drought. Here it simply means that the plant can handle irregular water times and some longer stretches between watering.

BID Sunbeam 0002We’ve also added an improved yellow from Ball FloraPlant—‘Sunbeam’

As in many a video game we have the presence of a hulking 800-pound gorilla, and that would be Ball FloraPlant. They’ve released their competitors into the market—namely the bicolors ‘Bee Alive’ and ‘Bee Bold’—along with an improved yellow ‘Sunbeam’. So the fight is genuinely on, and we have both sets of characters in contention.

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