Impatiens are a very popular flowering plant that can do well indoors or outdoors. Because of its beautiful blooms, it is a popular plant for hanging baskets. Some gardeners like to put these out on the porch or patio during the warmer months and then bring them inside during the winter. One of the most important things to keep in mind about impatiens, however, is they do not like too much harsh sunlight. Wherever you place this plant, indoors or out, you should make sure that it is shaded during the hotter parts of the day.
Purchase several (two to three) impatiens starter plants from your local garden store or start impatiens from seed at home. If starting from seed, plant impatiens seed shallowly (barely covered with soil) in small pots or flats filled with regular potting soil. The seeds are pretty small and it is fine to plant many at once in case some don’t produce. Keep seeds warm (do not store them in a cold room or they will not germinate) and moist. When plants are at least two to three inches tall, you can pot them in larger pots.
Fill a plant pot or hanging basket three quarters of the way full with rich potting soil. Look for potting soil for indoor flowering plants from your garden suppliers--this soil is usually rich loam, and therefore suitable for these plants.
Gently remove small impatiens plants from their starter pots or flats. You can do this by first tapping on the bottom and sides to loosen the dirt from the pot’s sides. Gently lift the plant, soil and all, out of the pot. If the roots appear tightly clumped together, or dirt is packed tightly around them, squish it slightly to loosen the roots.
Use a spoon to dig a hole in the pot or hanging basket’s potting soil--make the hole deep and wide enough for the impatiens root ball. Nestle the plant into the hole, just a little deeper (1/4 inch) than it was in the starter pot and loosely push the fresh potting soil around the plant. If you are using a large pot or basket, you can plant two or more small plants in the container at once--allow at least four to six inches between them for growing room.
Water the plants in well with a watering can--until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom. Place the pot or basket in an area that gets partial shade. Impatiens don’t care for a lot of direct sunlight. After the plants have begun to adjust to the new pot, give them some fertilizer for flowering plants (it can be in any form).
Check soil dampness daily. Impatiens don’t like to dry out too much, but if they are constantly soggy the stems may rot. How often they need watering will depend on the temperature and humidity. If soil in the pot feels bone dry more than an inch down, it is probably time to water again.
Pick off old blooms and cut off dead--looking areas regularly to keep the plant looking and feeling its best. The blooms you can usually snap off easily (some will fall off the moment you touch them). Avoid trying to pulls dead leaves and stems this way, however--it’s easier on the plant if you cut these off with sharp scissors.
Things You Will Need
- Impatiens starter plants or seed
- Plant pot (or hanging basket)
- Potting soil for flowering plants
- Fertilizer for flowering plants
- Watering can
- Pruning shears
- If re-using pots or hanging baskets that once housed other plants, wash them out well in case fungus or bacteria are left over. Dirty pots can infect new plants with diseases.
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