Impatiens are one of the most common annuals grown across the United States. In any climate there are impatiens that will grow well, thrive and flower with little to no care. They grow best in shade to partial shade, and prefer morning sun to the hot afternoon sun. When planning out your impatiens garden, mix it up with varieties that contrast in size and colored blooms.
Decide if you want to buy impatiens as seeds or as established plants. Seeds are the more economical option, but will require more of your time to grow thriving plants.
Buy your impatiens after the last frost of the season. Buy impatiens seeds six to 10 weeks prior to the last anticipated frost of the spring, which varies from climate to climate. Start the seeds indoors in planting trays to be transplanted outdoors after the last frost. Note that if your climate does not experience frosts, you can buy and plant your impatiens anytime.
Determine how many plants you will need. Smaller varieties, such as "accent" impatiens, are spaced about 8 to 10 inches apart, while taller varieties, such as "New Guineas," are spaced about 18 inches apart. Plant about three times more seeds than your desired number of plants, because not all of them will sprout and you will be able to choose the healthiest and strongest seedlings to transplant outdoors.
Purchase your impatiens locally. Almost every nursery and store with a live plant selection, such as Walmart or Lowes, sells impatiens. Choose plants that are blooming, look fresh and do not appear to have any defects--such as wilting or browning leaves. If desired, seeds can be bought in packets with only one variety, or in packets with multiple varieties. Alternatively, you can purchase your impatiens online and look to see if the online nursery's established plants come with a warranty.