Impatiens are as a mainstay in many gardens, due to both their low maintenance and long blooming period. These brightly colored flowers come in a variety of colors and bloom from early summer until fall. Many impatiens are tender perennials, but because of their susceptibility to frost are often grown as annuals. Taking a cutting from your bedding plants allows you to grow the cutting into a new plant. Plant the rooted cuttings outside the following spring and save the cost of replacing the impatiens in your garden each year.
Cut off a healthy growing stem from an impatiens plant. Choose a stem that has a crown of leaves on the tip and cut it off with a small pair of shears 3 inches down the stem.
Mix 1 part vermiculite with 1 part peat moss. Water this mixture until it evenly moist throughout and fill a seedling flat with it.
Pinch off any leaves on the lower half of the cutting. Push the cut end of the stem cutting into the soil just deep enough so that it stands up on its own—usually planting it to a 1-inch depth is sufficient. Repeat for any other cuttings you take, spacing them in the flat so they are 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.
Break two bamboo skewers in half. Push a half-skewer into the potting medium at each corner of the seedling flat. Place plastic wrap over the flat so that it is held above the plants by the skewers. Leave the wrap vented on one side to allow airflow. The wrap helps maintain humidity while the plants are rooting.
Set the flat in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight, or direct morning sun with diffused afternoon light. Too much light burns cuttings, while too little inhibits rooting.
Water as necessary to keep the potting mixture moist but not not soggy. Generally, irrigate the cuttings when the top of the soil begins to feel dry, usually about once a week.
Check the cuttings after one month to see if they have rooted. Gently tug on each cutting. If you feel resistance, it has rooted and can be transplanted to its own pot until you are ready to place them in the garden. If there's no resistance, recover the flat with the plastic and wait an additional two weeks to one month.
Things You Will Need
- Peat moss
- Seedling flat
- Plastic wrap
- New Guinea impatiens are one variety that grows particularly well from cuttings.
- Purchase a rooting hormone form a garden center and dip the cuttings in this before planting. Rooting hormones encourage the impatiens to root quickly.
- Peat mixes do not absorb water readily. The mix must be watered until it is moist prior to planting the cuttings, otherwise the peat will quickly dry out.