Bidens aurea 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' (Tickseed)

Bidens aurea 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' (Tickseed)
 Bidens aurea 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' (Tickseed)Bidens aurea 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' (Tickseed) 
Price:  £5.95

Plant type:  Herbaceous
Flower colour:  Yellow
Aspect:  Prefers full sun
Size:  Large
Season:  Summer
Delivery:  Mail order or collection: see opening times
Soil:  Well-drained
Image:  WTGN
Common name:  Tickseed



In stock

This very extensive article was written by Val Bourne and published in the Daily Telegraph in 2008

This tall, wiry-stemmed daisy shimmers from August until October, producing a haze of lemon yellow just when strident purples, pinks and oranges dominate. Each simple, five-petalled daisy is two-toned, with paler, white-tipped petals set round a darker middle. The ferny foliage creeps up among the cloud of delicate flowers adding even more ethereal charm, and by late summer this Bidens is a border star that bears hundreds of neat flowers reminiscent of a small-flowered cosmos.

Yet few gardeners know or grow Bidens aurea. Indeed, I had to be persuaded to grow it myself because this 3ft-high daisy doesn't look exactly seductive in a small pot on a nursery bench. The stems tend to become ragged and the pot constantly topples over. It also forces itself through the bottom and sides of a small square pot, which rings alarm bells with most gardeners. Yet it isn't a thug: it makes a good-sized clump and likes to travel a little. In the border one is never sure whether newly appearing shoots are seedlings or an escapee runner seeking better ground.

Nomenclature is confused and many nurseries sell this tall, pallid yellow daisy under its previous, long held name B. heterophylla. Until recently, B. aurea was usually applied to a low-growing creeping plant. So ask to see both if you visit a nursery and check the heights.

'Hannay's Lemon Drop', a superior form, was selected by the famous Bath nursery that sadly closed, leaving a legacy of splendid 'Hannay' named plants.

In the wild B. aurea is very variable and 'Hannay's Lemon Drop' may have occurred as a worthy seedling in the nursery, or the seeds may have been collected in the wild and propagated by Hannay's.

One of 200 bidens species, B. aurea is found naturally in the southern states of the USA and Central America. Members of the Asteraceae family, their closest relatives are cosmos and coreopsis.

Bidens' hardiness is often questioned. But mine have come through three extremely wet and bleak winters here, high up in the Midlands. However, cold springs hamper its exuberance. Last year's exceptionally warm April produced precocious July flowers, but this year it is lagging. Typically, B. aurea will flower from August to October continually without deadheading.

This plant will grow on clay and heavier soil as well as lighter soils, but it's more likely to run on lighter ground. It pops up some distance away, weaving itself in among other plants rather than smothering them. And, like many plants that bloom profusely over a long period, B. aurea can flower itself into the ground after two or three years. This is probably why it runs away from the main clump, which can measure a yard in width, in a bid to rejuvenate itself. I know I would hate to be without its cloud of flower on a mellow late-summer or autumn day.

How to grow
Give this plant a sunny position and treat it like a penstemon: don't cut it down at the back end of the year. Leave the top growth as a protective layer until the following spring. If its height offends in winter, reduce the stems by a third. Cut it back hard in April after the worst of the weather is over.

It does not need to be cosseted and can be grown in a windy, airy position; the stiff, wiry stems are self-supporting so there is no staking. The divided foliage allows strong winds to pass through so branches don't snap off.

Always propagate. The easiest way is to collect seeds and these have come true to type for me. Collect them in late autumn (when they are at the thistledown stage) and store for planting the following spring. Germination is straightforward and rapid, around 20 days; each seedling can be potted up, then placed outside by late May.

Alternatively, take cuttings in late spring and early summer by trimming new shoots below a node. Plunge them into gritty compost or damp horticultural sand. Individual cuttings can then be potted up in August. But they are best kept in a pot until the next spring. Over-wintering in a cold frame is ideal, or place in the lea of a north-facing wall as this provides shade, shelter and protection from excessive winter wet. Keep any plants, cuttings or potted cuttings on the dry side all through winter.

B. aurea is also excellent hovering above purple dahlias. These include the purple cactus 'Orfeo', the decorative 'Arabian Night' and the elderberry-purple cactus 'Nuit d'Eté'. It works well close to any tall, dark-leaved dahlia. Or grow it close to the airy Verbena bonariensis - lemon and purple are always sensational together.

Show off the lemon daisies by floating them in front of dark foliage, such as spoon-leaved Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. The damson purple cotinus highlights the lemon daisies and picks up their form. Or surround it with a tall, dark penstemon such as 'Blackbird', or use the dark beaded awns of a tall, gossamer grass, Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea 'Transparent'.

Here's a link to the original article:

We are a small and very busy working nursery and we do not have the capacity to continually update pot size information on our web shop as we are continually propagating and potting plants up.  Therefore any one plant type may be in different pot sizes at different times of year.  However, we hope the following notes will be useful

1.  We do not sell any plants in 'plug' sizes - all our plants are of a size that is appropriate for planting out in the garden.

2.  Early in the year herbaceous perennials may be in 9cm (1/2 litre) or one litre pots.  As we enter summer a lot of herbaceous perennials move on to 2 litre, 3 litre and occasionally 4 or even 5 litre pots.

3.  Shrubs are generally in 2 litre pots at minimum, moving up to 3, 4 and 5 litres as appropriate, occasionally 7.5 litres or even 10 litres

4. Our smallest trees may be in 3 litre pots but are generally in 7.5 to 10 litre pots, some moving on to 15 litres and occasionally 20 litres

If you want to know the specific pots size of a plant please use the 'contact us' feature on the web shop, or call us on 01953 488163, although as we spend so much time on the guessed it... propagating and potting up plants you may need to leave a message which we will endeavour to answer the same day.

Our minimum charge for sending plants by overnight courier is £9.95 which will cover the cost of up to 10 small plants, for example herbaceous perennials.  This is an overnight service from when your plants leave the nursery which is normally Thursday, to arrive Friday - all ready for a great weekend in the garden.

Adding additional plants to your order will progressively, but moderately,  increase the shipping charge, but this is made entirely explicit in your shopping basket, where you can add or remove items and watch how the shipping charge alters accordingly. 

The maximum charge for delivery is £18.95 which would cover an unlimited number of plants.

Due to the fact that, including the cost of the boxes and so on, we pay considerably more than £9.95 for each shipment, our delivery charges are in effect subsidised by us.  For that reason we have to ask for a minimum purchase of £25 before delivery in order minimise our losses.

For shipping to remoter addresses, for example the  Highlands and Islands, please contact  us and we will be able to provide you with a quotation.  Following Brexit we no longer ship to the EU or northern Ireland

We try to run Walnut Tree Garden Nursery in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.  These are some of the steps we have taken:

1. We only use peat free compost although occasionally young plants and propagation stock arrives in peat-based composts.  The balance of composts on the nursery is at least 90% peat free compared to peat.

2. We clean and re-use long life plastic pots where possible.

3. Customers can return the pots that came from us for re-use.

4. No single-use pots or trays (e.g. polystyrene bedding trays) are ever used.

5. We always hand water and do not use overhead sprinklers in order to minimise water waste.

6. We use biological control of pests where possible (e.g. parasitic nematodes against vine weevil)

7. We only use the bare minimum use of pesticides and fungicides – strictly on an 'as needed’ basis –after dusk and only on foliage to protect pollen and nectar seeking insects.

8. Mains electricity is 100% renewable, purchased from Bulb

9. Electricity is also supplied by on-site photovoltaic panels during daylight hours

10. Since May 2020 we donate to carbon-offset projects in order to compensate for carbon emissions relating to all aspect of our business (pot and compost production, deliveries, mail order couriers, leaflet printing and so on) .  As of November 2020 we have purchased 28 tonnes of carbon offsets.

11. We propagate as much of our stock on-site as possible, which reduces carbon miles.  Propagation material that we buy in is at as small a growth stage as possible to minimise carbon miles.  We often propagate from seeds: for example, a batch of seeds arriving by post might weight no more than 50-100 grams but which we will grow on to produce to 2-3,000 plants, in peat free compost, often in pre-used pots.

12.  In addition to all the herbaceous perennials and woody shrubs that we sell, we also sell approximately 500 trees annually.  Therefore, since we started the business in 1998  we have sold some 21,000 trees, hopefully leading to a cascade of environmental benefits in our customer's gardens.