Meaning of Impatiens


Impatiens are an annual plant often used in window boxes and at the base of small trees as a ground cover. Impatiens come in a wide variety of colors and prosper in partial shade conditions, although they require daily watering. Most flowers have symbolic meaning and impatiens are no exception.

Symbolic Meaning

Impatiens are symbolic of motherly love, according to Kathleen Karlsen from Living Arts Originals. Although impatiens come in a variety of colors, Ms. Karlsen writes that there are no specific meanings associated with each color.


In medieval times, impatiens were used in gardens devoted to the Virgin Mary, the mother symbol of the christian world. Impatiens became popular in the United States in the 1950s, after "the father of impatiens" Claude Hope began mass-producing seeds for the American market, according to The New York Times Magazine.


Impatiens can be used in flower beds, window boxes, as bedding or in hanging plants. Colors often include red, orange and white. Striped impatiens and double-headed impatiens are also easy to find. Impatiens are annuals that bloom throughout the summer growing season.

Plant Care

Annual plants in general require more watering than perennials with a deeper root system. When planting impatiens, consider more shaded areas because the blooms will wilt or burn more easily in full sun. Impatiens need daily watering, but can tolerate less water if planted in the shade. Pinch off dead blooms often to encourage new blossoms to form.


According to an article in The New York Times Magazine written by Michael Pollan, impatiens are now used too often in gardens across the United States. Although many gardeners love this easy to grow plant, to create a more unique garden, use impatiens sparingly.

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