Why You Should Add Bidens Flower To Your Hanging Baskets If You Love Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds live throughout North and South America, and chances are they're in your region; however, they're easy to miss due to their small size and rapid movements. If you'd like to bring more of these pollinating birds to your yard, one of the best things to do is to plant flowers. Specifically, there are hummingbird-friendly plants that will make your garden a destination. Choose flowers native to the Americas, preferably in bright colors such as red, orange, and yellow. While hummingbirds are known for enjoying tubular-shaped blooms, that's not their only food source. Bidens flower, available in bright yellow tones, is one such outlier. 

Also called Spanish needles, bidens has a semi-trailing habit, which makes it an attractive choice for hanging baskets. It also looks good when planted near a wall or in pots, where its flowers can cascade over the edge. A perennial in warmer zones, bidens is a member of the aster family. Like other asters, it's a magnet for pollinators. In addition to hummingbirds, it will attract bees, butterflies, and moths. Remember to keep food sources in hanging baskets several feet away from your windows. By placing bidens flowers in a safe area, you can help prevent birds from colliding with the glass.

Caring for low-maintenance bidens

Once you've planted bidens, it's quite easy to care for. Choose a location where the plant can receive at least 6 hours of full sun, and ensure your hanging planter has good drainage. Bidens flowers are considered self-cleaning. This means the petals fall on their own and do not need to be deadheaded; however, even after petals fall, seed heads can remain. These can be pinched for a tidier display. Whether you pinch the seed heads or not, bidens will continue to bloom.

To keep bidens blooming throughout the season, choose a nutrient-rich potting soil. For low-maintenance gardening, you could simply leave it there. Just be sure to water regularly. Alternatively, if you want to take things to the next level, consider fertilizing. Treat bidens with a slow-release fertilizer, like Osmocote, at the time of planting. Or, if you prefer, you can apply plant fertilizer monthly to help them thrive. Always follow the instructions listed on the package when applying fertilizer because showering your plants with too many nutrients can lead to nutrient burn.

Beautiful companion plants for bidens

Bidens is beautiful enough to display on its own, but it's even more visually impactful when paired with other flowers. When it comes to creating container gardens, including flowers that thrive in hanging baskets, follow the adage of "thriller, filler, spiller." Thrillers are plants that add height to an arrangement. Typically, these should be placed in the center of the pot. Then comes the filler. These plants should be placed around the thriller. While they don't add height, they do fill in much of the pot. The spiller comes next. This refers to plants that can be placed near the edge of the container to cascade over. 

For a hummingbird-friendly spin on this classic combo, consider using salvia for the thriller while bidens serves as the filler. Then, add verbena or lobelia to stand in for the spiller. Bidens is versatile enough that it could work as a spiller, as well. When using bidens in that placement, consider opting for lantana as the filler. These plants have a common love of full sun. When choosing plants for a container garden, make sure you've curated a selection that can thrive in the same light and watering conditions. Placed in the proper location, and watered according to its needs, your arrangement can attract hummingbirds and other pollinators throughout the season.