Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) are a member of the Balsaminaceae-Balsam family and originated from the Usambara Mountains. Impatiens are annual flowers (flowers that grow for one growing season) that produce single and double blooms. Bloom colors include purple, orange, red, pink, white and salmon.
Impatiens are planted both indoors or outdoors. Most impatiens thrive in shade, with the exception of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens x hawkeri), which prefer partial or full sun.
Flower pots, hanging baskets and garden beds are all welcome homes for impatiens. Impatiens planted under a tree will require more watering and fertilizing than those planted by themselves. This is a result of the tree's roots and the impatiens's roots competing for nutrients.
All types of impatiens prefer soil that is well drained. Impatiens grown indoors should be planted in soil with a mixture of peatmoss, course sand and garden loam. Impatiens grown outdoors should be planted in an organic rich soil. Add mulch to outdoor impatiens to assist with drainage.
Impatiens prefer moist soil but do not respond well to overwatering. Overwatering may cause leaves to wilt and drop from the stems. Impatiens planted in small containers require more water than impatiens planted in large containers.
Fertilize containers once a month with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer designed for annual flowers. Fertilizers are available in powder and liquid form to be added to your watering can or attached to your hose. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer container for the correct amount of fertilizer to use.
Seeds vs. Transplants
Growing impatiens from seed is a budget-friendly way to create a beautiful garden. Impatiens grown from seed should be started indoors 10 weeks prior to the last danger of frost.
Impatiens grown from established transplants may be planted indoors anytime but should not be planted outside until the danger of frost has passed. Select transplants that have strong roots and color. Avoid transplants that have extremely dry soil.
Two common viruses that can damage impatiens are Impatiens Necrotic Spot virus and Tomato Spotted Wilt virus. The symptoms differ depending on what type of impatiens the disease attacks. New Guinea impatiens display black stems, slow leaf growth and wilted flowers. All other types of impatiens show brown and black spots and ring spots on their leaves. There are no symptoms of the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on any type of impatiens.