Plant ID – Salvia, Bidens


Hello Master Gardener!

This orange flower and the purple flower are in planters.

I brought the planters inside (I kept the same soil), to protect from them from frost. I am watering the flowers as before when they were outside, – water to keep the soil moist, every other day.

1) What is the orange flower and what is the purple flower? I think the purple is salvia.

2) Will they survive okay over winter inside near a sunny window?

3) Are they both annuals or perennials?

4) Are both safe for pets?




Thank you for your question about identifying and overwintering flowering plants and for your follow-up email with further pictures.

I think that you are correct in identifying the purple plant as a salvia (a hybrid variety which may not have a species name), and the orange one is likely Bidens pilosa (a member of the daisy family).

Although both are generally grown as annuals in southern Ontario and most parts of Canada, they are in fact tender perennials and can be overwintered in the ground in more southern climes.  In our area, they can be successfully overwintered indoors in a sunny spot that is protected from freezing temperatures and from temperature extremes (don’t place them too close to a heating vent).

However, they are likely to go dormant or semi-dormant over the winter even indoors, so at this point you should cut them back to all but a few leaves and let the soil dry out.  Continue to keep the soil on the dryish side, watering only very occasionally until you see new leaf growth appearing, at which point you can give them more frequent watering and add a small amount of compost (an inch or so) on top of the soil.  At all times, water from the bottom (i.e. place in a container of water for a couple of hours and allow the plant to draw up water from the roots).  This will avoid problems with fungus gnats, insects which like moisture and rich soil and tend to live in the top 2 inches of soil.

In the spring, if the plant is growing successfully, you can take cuttings and root them in potting soil to make new plants.

Neither plant is toxic to pets (although some plants may cause stomach upset if ingested in large quantities even if it is not toxic).  You don’t say what kind of pets but I’ve included a link to the ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) list of toxic and non-toxic plants – scroll down to click on plants specific to dogs or cats.

I’ve also included some other links you may find helpful.

Good luck with the overwintering.

How to Grow and Care for Bidens:

Growing Salvias:

Overwintering Tender Plants:

ASPCA – List of Toxic and Non-toxic Plants: