Everything You Need To Know About Growing Impatiens

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Impatiens are mostly low-growing shrubs that can be used for a low border or as a single shrub.

Impatiens are mostly evergreen shrubs that are native to Southwest India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Madagascar, with one variety in Europe.

There are over 1,000 varieties of impatiens to choose from that are well suited for full sun or full shade that can be planted in any garden or potting container.

They are a popular plant because of the many different ways they can be used such as in a flower garden, borders, planted in mass, potting containers, and for underplanting.

Impatiens are also one of the most prolific blooming plants, even when grown in the shade they will out bloom most other plants.

They are grown as perennials in climates that don’t receive a frost and grown as an annual in climates that do receive a frost.

PLANTING IMPATIENS

Impatiens are best planted in hardiness zone 10 and 11 in well-drained soil with the pH of the soil ranging between 6.0 and 6.5.

They are best spaced 8 to 12 inches apart if they are planted in a row and have a width of 10 to 15 inches.

They prefer full sun but they can also be planted in partial shade but they will produce fewer blooms.

If your impatiens are going to be sprouted from seed then it is suggested to use a cardboard seed starting container and start them 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost.

When planting them, it is best to make the hole twice the width of the root ball.

Mix some compost in with the soil from the hole before filling it back in. This will give nutrients to the soil and help with water retention.

USES

They are often used as borders, walking paths, planted in mass, and potting containers.

FERTILIZING AND WATERING

They require a balanced slow-release fertilizer such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 or you can use a homemade liquid fertilizer.

When applying fertilizer, it is best to apply it between the base of the plant to the tips of the branches. This area of the plant is known as the drip line.

Impatiens are thirsty shrubs that require about two inches of water per week and when temperatures are staying above 80 degrees Fahrenheit they will need about four inches per week.

MULCHING

Adding mulch to your impatiens will help the soil retain water and will reduce the amount of time it takes to water them.

The thickness of the bed of mulch is best between 1 to 2 inches thick but the thickness may need to be reduced if you live in a rainy climate or if you are receiving more rain the usual.

The mulch will also help with weed control and it will need to be added or replaced yearly when the majority of it has decomposed.

BLOOMS

Impatiens are well-known for their prolific blooms that appear in late spring until the first frost.

Their blooms are available in yellow, orange, red, purple, and white which attract butterflies, moths, and bees.

The blooms appear in the spring and last until the first frost with a size of about 1 to 2 inches across.

If watered regularly, they are prolific bloomers even in the shade and they don’t need deadheading.

Deadheading is when you remove the wilted blooms to encourage the plant to rebloom, this happens because the plant wants to produce seed.

PRUNING

Impatiens are low-maintenance shrubs that will require some pruning once a year.

When the tallest branches are about four to six inches over the majority of the plant then it is time for a trim.

This will also make the plant produce more branches will make the shrub look more full and produce more blooms.

In the spring, if there is any dead or damaged growth then it should be removed.

Any stems that have wildly grown much higher than the rest of the plant which is known as leggy growth should also be removed.

PROPAGATING

Impatiens can be sprouted from seed and started indoors using cardboard seed starting containers two to three weeks before the last frost.

Another option is to use cuttings that should be removed in the spring and only new green growth should be used.

Before removing a cutting from a plant, make sure that there are at least three sets of leaves.

After removing the cutting dip the cut end into water then into root tone and plant the cutting in a container, garden, or landscaping.

After the cutting has been planted it is a good idea to sprinkle some root tone on the soil.

Another option is to use a piece of paper towel, place the cut end on the paper towel, and sprinkle some root tone on the cut end of the cutting.

Then fold the bottom of the paper towel to the top, and wrap the rest of the paper towel around the stem of the cutting.

After planting the cutting give it some water and time. If you see that the cutting is looking wilted then the cutting will not root and you will have to start over.

PESTS

Impatiens have many pests that feed on the plant which opens the shrub to plant viruses that affect nearby plants.

Therefore, dealing with the issue before the infestation reduces the amount of vegetation or kills the shrub.

DISEASES

Impatiens that are planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.

If this is the case then preventive measures may need to be taken.

To prevent this from happening make sure to plant them far enough apart to allow for proper airflow.

OVERWINTERING

Impatiens are tropical shrubs that don’t survive their first frost.

If you want them to live then you will have to dig them up, place them in a pot and keep them indoors at a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another option is to just keep them in a planter all year round and bring them indoors every late summer to early fall, depending on your hardiness zone.

VARIETIES

With over 1,000 different varieties to choose from including some hybrid varieties that can resist mold and mildew issues,

BUSY LIZZIE IMPATIENS

  • Shrub size – grows to about 5 tall and 3 feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – orange, red, purple, pink, white, and bicolored
  • Foliage – oval-shaped green leaves with serrate margins
  • Deer resistant – no

BOUNCE VIOLET IMPATIENS

Bounce violet impatiens are native to tropical Asia where they are resistant to downy mildew.

  • Shrub size – grows to 20 inches tall and 20 inches wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – orange, red, purple, pink, and white
  • Foliage – lance-shaped green leaves
  • Deer resistant – no

FLORIFIC SWEET ORANGE IMPATIENS

  • Shrub size – grows to 14 inches tall and 15 inches wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – bicolored light salmon and deep orange
  • Foliage – lance-shaped green leaves
  • Deer resistant – no

BLUE DIAMOND IMPATIENS

  • Shrub size – grows to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – blue
  • Foliage – lance-shaped green leaves with jagged edges
  • Deer resistant – no

SPREADING VARIEGATED SALMON IMPATIENS

  • Shrub size – grows to about 30 inches tall and 26 inches wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – salmon
  • Foliage – lance-shaped green leaves with yellow in the center and jagged edges
  • Deer resistant – no

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