Care for New Guinea Impatiens

Overview

New Guinea impatiens are herbaceous annual flowers that typically grow to about 24 inches in height. They bloom in summer and fall, and can be white, pink, red or orange in color. Because New Guinea impatiens are native to tropical rain forests, they require moderate care to stay healthy and flower throughout the season.

Step 1

Plant New Guinea impatiens during spring after all threat of frost has passed in a location that receives full morning sunlight and partial afternoon shade. Spread 1 inch of organic compost over the surface of the planting site and use a garden spade to incorporate it into the soil to increase drainage and fertility. Space plants 12 inches apart.

Step 2

Water New Guinea impatiens twice per week during spring, summer and fall. Do not allow the soil to dry completely, or the foliage will begin to brown at the tips. Apply the water directly to the soil to discourage fungal diseases.

Step 3

Feed New Guinea impatiens twice each year, once in early spring just before new growth begins and again in summer to increase flowering. Use a low nitrogen 0-10-10 NPK fertilizer to encourage the plant to focus on blossoms instead of foliage. Follow the directions on the package for proper application.

Step 4

Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding New Guinea impatiens. Begin the band of mulch at least 2 inches away from the base of the plants to allow plenty of room for growth. Add more mulch as needed to keep the layer at least 1 inch thick.

Step 5

Pinch off any dead or fading flowers as soon as possible to encourage New Guinea impatiens to form additional blossoms instead of seed. Cut the flowers off as close to the stem as possible to minimize damage and to keep the plants looking healthy.

Tips and Warnings

  • New Guinea impatiens are susceptible to slugs. However, they can be controlled by removing them manually or applying an organic pesticide purchased from your local lawn and garden center.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden spade
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science: Impatiens
  • New Guinea Impatiens
  • Impatiens; Raymond J. Morgan; 2007
Keywords: New Guinea impatiens, impatiens, plant New Guinea impatiens

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.