Impatiens (Impatiens spp.), also known as Touch-me-not or Busy Lizzy, are herbaceous flowers valued for their ease of cultivation and abundant, ornamental blossoms. The plants flower during summer and fall, producing multiple blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, white, violet and lavender, depending on the variety. The flowers eventually form pods, which burst open upon the slightest touch, as if the seeds were impatient to escape, hence the name. Native to subtropical regions throughout the world, impatiens cannot survive cold weather and are commonly grown as annuals throughout most of the United States.
Plant impatiens during early spring in a location that receives partial shade throughout the day, especially during mid-afternoon, and consists of well-drained, fertile soil. Space impatiens at least 10 to 16 inches apart to allow adequate room for growth.
Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch over the ground around impatiens to retain moisture, stunt weeds and insulate the soil. Allow at least 3 inches between the plant's crown and the mulch layer to reduce vulnerability to fungal disease caused by poor air circulation.
Water impatiens once per week to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Apply water directly to the soil, as overhead watering will moisten the foliage and increase disease susceptibility. Soak the soil to a depth of at least 2 inches at each watering.
Feed the plants once per month using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK water-soluble fertilizer. Apply according to the instructions on the packaging for the best results. Water lightly before and after applying to prevent root burn and ensure the plants absorb the nutrients.
Remove diseased and damaged foliage whenever possible to improve aesthetic appeal and overall health of your impatiens. Pinch off the marred leaves at their point of origin to reduce shock and damage to the plants. Impatiens do not require deadheading unless flowers become damaged.