Impatiens, Impatiens walleriana, are often used as a bedding plant for shady spaces. Impatiens may also be known as busy Lizzie or touch-me-not. Shady areas have always been a problem for gardeners but impatiens turn problems areas into beautiful mounds of color. Get facts and information on growing gorgeous impatiens.
Facts and Information on Growing Impatiens walleriana
Impatiens will grown in many different USDA Zones, so do not be afraid to try them out. They are annuals that are grown for their flowers and often used as border plants. There is a wide array of color choices to choose from. Some shades are soft pinks and white, while others are vibrant reds, oranges, hot pinks, mauve, and fushsia tones.
Impatiens will grow 6-24”h x 12-24” wide and will make beautiful mounds of color if they are planted close together. They prefer partial shade and fertile, well-drained soil with pH of 5.5-7.0. You will have flowers in summer on irregular shapes stems. The foliage is light to bright green and sometimes has red-stained leaves and stems.
Impatiens as Container Plants
Impatiens are well suited as bedding plants for shade, and for planting in containers. A container of impatiens is a great way to brighten up any shady area you may have. This may be under a tree or on a shady patio or deck. Good container companions include heart-leaf begenia, ‘Husker Red’ beardtongue, and ‘Carpet of Snow’ sweet alyssum.
Tip: If container plants get pot-bound, slice the roots vertically through them and fan root ends out and repot.
Planting and Caring for Impatiens
Plant impatiens 12-24” apart in late spring. You can begin using water soluble plant food 3 weeks after planting in spring. Water deeply when the soil is dry. Apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer to retain moisture and add organic matter to the soil as it decomposes. Remove plants either just before the first frost or right afterward.
Propagation of Impatiens is done by spreading seeds over the soil mix and covering them lightly. Thoroughly moisten and keep moist, not soggy, until seeds germinate. Germination occurs in 10-20 days at 75-78 degrees. Transplanting can be done in 14-21 days after sowing. Reduce the temperature to 60 degrees after transplanting.
Tip: Pinching off stems will help give you a full plant. This is a good way to keep your plants from become straggely and leggy.
Pests and Diseases: Diseases include impatien necrotic spot virus, fungal leaf spots, and verticillium wilt.
The cultivar ‘Starbright’ has a white star in the center of pink, red, violet, and orange flowers. Swirl Series has hues of pink and orange flowers rimmed with deep pink, and Super Elfin Series reaches only 10” tall and come in pastels and traditional tones.