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Impatiens Planting Combinations

By Kate Carpenter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Impatiens plants are one of the most popular annual plants in a garden because of their easy maintenance, bright colors and long-lasting blooming period. Adding companion plants in with your impatiens, though, will add interest and variety and enhance the striking, vibrant display of the impatiens' color.

In the Shade

One of the most challenging things for a gardener is planting an area that is in shade or mostly shade so that the area appears interesting. This is why impatiens are such a popular plant. Impatiens thrive in shade and partial shade and reward you with bright, vibrant colors throughout the summer. But having only impatiens--even mixing a variety of colored impatiens--in your garden can be boring. Fortunately, there are many complementary plants you can plant along with impatiens that will liven up the area. Including texture and colored foliage using shade-loving plants such as coleus and caladiums can add depth and interest to your impatiens and allow them to stand out.

Other-shade loving plants that complement your impatiens wonderfully are ferns, wax begonias, petunias, purple or pink-leafed rex begonias, ornamental grass and perennial purple leaf Ajuga. Because impatiens only come in shades of pink, red, orange and white, adding blue tones with lobelia, forget-me-nots or deep purple petunias adds not only more variety of color but also a striking and dramatic element to your garden.

In the Sun

There is a relatively new variety of impatiens called New Guinea impatiens that grows well with more sun, is taller and produce larger leaves and flowers, sometimes up to 3 inches. The New Guinea impatiens varieties can have more interesting foliage with leaves of green, purple, bronze or variegated. Many of the companion plants for shade-loving impatiens can be added to your garden that has New Guinea impatiens. Lobelia not only adds blue tones but grows lower and has smaller, delicate flowers and foliage that will add visual interest to your area. Vinca, commonly called periwinkle, can also be used to give blue tones and as a filler around the impatiens. The addition of ferns and ornamental grasses among your impatiens creates interest and will set off the vibrant display of your impatiens colors.

In Containers

Whether your container is a hanging pot, window box or patio pot, using impatiens in your container planting creates an easy-care, long-lasting colorful display. Impatiens in containers tend to overflow the pot, trailing over and down. Therefore, adding companion plants that grow upright complement your impatiens. The dark green, upright spikes of perennial dracena planted in the center of your container with impatiens surrounding it make for a striking display. Coleus, ferns such as asparagus, ivy and silvery dusty miller are all excellent additions to your container of impatiens.