Impatiens are classified as herbs, with a wide range of different species native to Asia, North America and South Africa. Impatiens have thick stems with light-green leaves and flowers ranging in color from red, pink, purple, white and shades in between. Although they are hardy to only 55 degrees F, impatiens grow well as annuals in most parts of the world. With the right temperatures and moisture levels, you can have a colorful display of impatiens.
Sow your impatiens seeds indoors in a pot of sandy soil in March or April, approximately eight to 10 weeks before the last expected frost. Be sure to sterilize your pots before sowing the seeds by washing them in water, detergent and a capful of bleach. Keep the seeds moist but not waterlogged. Cover the pots with plastic wrap.
Place the pots in bright indirect light and maintain a soil temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap after one to two weeks when the seeds begin to sprout. Transplant the seedlings to five- or six-inch pots after they've grown several new leaves, or plant them directly into the soil outdoors when the weather is warm, not dipping below 55 degrees F.
If you will be growing your impatiens in pots, fill your pots with a soil mixture of two parts fibrous loam, one part leaf mold or peat moss and plenty of coarse sand. Make sure you limit the number of impatiens per pot to one plant per 5- to 6-inch pot or three plants per 7- to 8-inch pot. Re-pot as needed, adding decayed manure or compost to your soil mixture in the new pot.
Space your impatiens approximately 10 inches apart if you plant them outdoors in the ground instead of in pots. Impatiens are work well for beds, borders, edging or ground covers and enjoy partial shade.
Water your impatiens generously. Soak the soil well three times per week, or more often during dry spells.