How to Prune & Care for Impatiens


Homeowners with shady gardens love impatiens, as very few other flower plants thrive in such low-sun conditions, according to Clemson University. The plants produce a profusion of blossoms in a wide range of colors, including white, red and purple, quickly lighting up a dark garden corner. Provide your impatiens with the care they need to keep them lush, green and producing lots of flowers.

Step 1

Choose a gardening site. Impatiens must be grown out of direct sunlight, or they will quickly wilt and die. The plants thrive best in partial shade, according to Clemson University.

Step 2

Amend the soil with 3 to 4 inches of compost. This conditions the soil and helps improve the dirt's ability to retain moisture, thus keeping the thirsty impatiens hydrated longer.

Step 3

Plant the impatiens. Sow the seeds directly in the ground, 1/2 inch below the soil surface. Space dwarf impatiens (Elfin or Elfin Improved) apart by 12 inches, semi-dwarfs (Duet or Ripples) by 14 inches, and tall varieties (Grande or Treasure) by 18 inches, according to West Virginia University.

Step 4

Water the planting area twice daily so that the soil is consistently moist. The seeds will usually germinate within 14 days, according to West Virginia University.

Step 5

Fertilize the impatiens once a month, according to Clemson University. Use any general water-soluble garden fertilizer. Options include a 6-6-6 or a 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer.

Step 6

Prune the impatiens. Cut back the branches of the impatiens in August to encourage fall blossoms, according to the University of Mississippi. Also trim the plants anytime they get leggy and thin, as pruning encourages fuller and lusher growth. Make a cut at the end of the impatiens' branches just beyond a leaf node (the bump on the stem where leaves sprout). Up to a third of the branch's total length can be cut at a time, according to Iowa State University.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Impatiens seeds
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • "Impatiens: The Vibrant World of Busy Lizzies, Balsams, and Touch-me-nots"; Raymond Morgan; 2007
  • Clemson University: Impatiens
  • West Virginia University: Impatiens
  • University of Mississippi: Landscaping
  • Iowa State University: Annual Plants
Keywords: growing impatiens, caring for impatiens, impatiens pruning

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.