How to Start Impatiens Seeds


A no-fuss plant that prefers shady areas, impatiens offer bright punches of color in garden spots where many flowers won't do well due to lack of sunlight. There are more than 500 species of impatiens and they can be grown all over the world, according to a report from Union County College in New Jersey. Impatiens grow slowly, so it is best to start seeds indoors in late winter to have flowers by late spring of early summer.

Step 1

Start impatiens seeds indoors in mid-February.

Step 2

Put your commercial seed starter potting soil mix in a large bowl or bucket and moisten it with just enough water to dampen it.

Step 3

Fill the seed pots up to 1/2 inch from the top and then gently tap down the soil to firm it.

Step 4

Place the filled seed pot in a shallow pan of water; the water should not reach the top of the pots. Water will soak up through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot to wet the soil. When the soil on top of the pot feels wet, remove the pot from the pan and set it in the plastic seed tray to drain for three to four hours. Repeat this process until all of the seed pots have been partially submerged in the water.

Step 5

Put your impatiens seeds in a wide bowl.

Step 6

Wet the end of the toothpick and touch it to an impatiens seed. The seed will stick to the dampness of the toothpick.

Step 7

Press the seed gently into the potting soil and lightly cover. Place two seeds in each pot. You can separate the seedlings when they are moved to a larger container.

Step 8

Place the pot once again in the shallow pan of water. When the top once again feels wet, remove the container from the pan and put it back in the plastic tray.

Step 9

Cover the tray with clear plastic wrap and place in a bright, warm area where the temperature remains steady at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep soil moist, but not wet.

Step 10

Remove the plastic wrap when seeds germinate. Move the tray to a bright, south-facing window upon germination. Water the seedlings when the soil starts to feel dry.

Step 11

Transplant to their permanent outdoor location after all danger of frost has passed. If planting in containers, transplant when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not try to germinate the seeds in a window with direct sunlight, as the University of Iowa Extension explains that such high temperatures can actually hinder germination.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed starter potting soil mix
  • Large bowl or bucket
  • Plastic seed pots
  • Plastic seed tray
  • Toothpick
  • Plastic wrap


  • Union County College: Impatiens
  • Iowa State University Extension: Starting Impatiens from Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Organic Gardening: Simple Seed Starting
Keywords: starting impatiens seeds, impatiens seed starting, growing impatiens

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.