How often to water impatiens?

Impatiens are VERY EASY to grow and show a colorful display for 6 or more months of the year in South Florida. Here are the main problems to avoid:

Reason #1:

WATER

We know when impatiens will be less than great when we hear “oh yes, the sprinkler systems takes care of the watering.”

  1. Flowers in the sun almost always need more water. Because auto sprinklers water everything uniformly, flowers in the sun will mostly likely not receive enough water to become robust specimens
  2. Impatiens in shade or partial shade need less water. These flowers may thus become over watered by relying only upon your automatic sprinklers
  3. Sprinklers may reach and water all your (young low to the ground) impatiens. However, as your flowers grow, the stems may block the spray of sprinkler water causing some to flounder from lack of water
  4. Flowers planted under the roof line almost never receive rain water. These “captive” flowers need hand watering to survive and thrive

Reason #2:

FUNGUS

Impatiens are virtually trouble free but can contract fungus

Fungus kills impatiens in one to three days. The appearance is as if they needed watering. If your impatiens catch the fungus, they look melted

Too much water and too little water look exactly alike…limp and weak. Test for too much or too little water by poking your finger into the soil about one inch. Wet? Then your limp impatiens are about to get fungus and die. Stop watering immediately. Test daily with your finger and you may save your flowers by backing off the water

Fungus appears often with impatiens in pots and impatiens with mulch. Pots can easily be over watered. Add some rainy days and all can die. Mulch holds water. With over watering or a period of ongoing rains, mulch can kill impatiens by providing an environment for fungus. Never mulch impatiens (except in full sun conditions)

As of this writing, February 2012, there is a new, huge and probably insurmountable attack on impatiens – powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is part of the environment and had been only a minor problem, but now the infection is devastating impatiens NATIONWIDE. The reason is, seed companies have been hybridizing for years to gain desired characteristics, and in the course of time, impatiens’ previous resistance has been bred away to a large extent

Now in 2012 the problem has peaked and most Florida growers will not re-plant impatiens this fall. There is no cure because the genetic weakness of the seed stock must be corrected which will take YEARS. Consider not planting impatiens

Impatiens that are watered with DRIP irrigation do much better that overhead irrigation avoiding the powdery mildew

You can also take action by watering no sooner than about 8-9:00 AM so the sun has a chance to help dry off the moisture from overhead irrigation on the leaves. The powdery mildew appears and attacks the UNDERSIDE of leaves. By the time you see the problem from the top, it’s too late

for a Google link to many photos of powdery mildew and this one on impatiens

Reason #3:

FOOD

It is common sense to know plants need food and water

Professional flower growers always use quality fertilizers. You should too, but be careful to not over feed with strong liquid fertilizers. You can easily “burn” your flowers. Master Gardener prefers time released pellet food 90-day feeding with all essential minor elements included. Buy a FLAT formulation like 14-14-14 or similar; avoid HIGH nitrogen formulations like 25-10-10 or similar. Read the packages closely

If you don’t provide proper fertilizer, you can’t expect robust impatiens, period

Impatien color combinations, photos

More Information:

Annie Deutsch

Agriculture Educator

Door County UW-Extension

Impatiens is an annual garden plant that is quite popular because of the wide range of brightly colored flowers, shade tolerance, and ease of care. Borders along garden beds, and backyard decks are often brought to life by these flowers. Typically impatiens will bloom throughout the summer until they dieback with the first frost. However, this year, you may have noticed that your impatiens were reduced to just stalks… and this was definitely before a frost…

After your first inspection of the dying plants, you may have concluded that some animal came through and cleaned off the leaves or that a caterpillar munched off all the foliage. However, if any leaves are left, pick up one and look at the back of the leaf. If you see small white flecks that almost look like dust, then your plant likely has impatiens downy mildew, a disease that is causing problems for anyone growing impatiens worldwide.

In order for a disease to develop, three things must always happen: 1) the pathogen must be present, 2) there must be a susceptible host, and 3) the environmental conditions must be favorable for that pathogen to thrive.

The pathogen that causes impatiens downy mildew is a fungus-like water mold Plasmopara obducens. It will infect standard garden impatiens, balsam impatiens, as well as native jewelweeds. Being a water mold, the pathogen thrives in highly humid, cool conditions (59-73°F). Many parts of Wisconsin had quite a bit of rain this summer, making environmental conditions near-optimal in those regions.

The pathogen is first commonly introduced into a garden via infected impatiens transplants or seeds. Windborne spores can also introduce the disease. Once in a garden, the water mold can survive in the infected plant(s), within the soil or potting mix, or in seeds produced by the diseased plants. Early symptoms of the disease include a very slight yellow-green discoloration on leaves near the tips of the branches; damage that can often be confused with spider mite feeding. Often those diseased leaves will curl downward. During the summer, the plant may be stunted and produce less flowers. Eventually, all the leaves and flowers will fall off leaving bare stems and the plant will die. Impatiens showing any of these symptoms should immediately be removed, placed in a sealed plastic bag, and put into the garbage. Surrounding plants/roots should also be removed in about a 3 foot radius around the diseased plant. Diseased plants will not recover and will only provide additional inoculant the following year.

Once impatiens downy mildew has appeared in your garden, it is very difficult to control. If you haven’t found the disease yet, the best control is to carefully inspect all transplants and only purchase disease-free seed. Even if the plants look disease free, when you bring them home don’t plant them right away; keep them in an isolated area for up to 2 weeks and check them for symptoms that may develop over that time. In your holding area, keep the plants far apart so if one is infected there is less of a chance that the disease will spread. If the plants pass your test, you can go ahead and plant them.

It is also very important to not plant impatiens where you planted them last year. The pathogen that causes the disease can survive in the soil, so it can re-infect plants the following season. Good spacing between plants also can help leaves to dry, so environmental conditions are not as favorable for the pathogen. Likewise, do not use overhead watering so that the leaves aren’t wet and soil won’t splash onto the leaves. As a very last resort, there are some fungicides that are labeled for control of impatiens downy mildew; however fungicides will keep a plant from becoming infected but it will not help salvage an already-infected plant. As with any fungicide, make sure to read the entire label before use since the label is the law.

If your impatiens died this year, your best option is to plant something else for a few years. You could consider planting the more disease tolerant/resistant New Guinea impatiens. Also, alternanthera, begonia, coleus, iresine, and torenia are all possible alternatives to impatiens.

After reading this article, if you are starting to wonder if your impatiens died this year from a disease rather than your green thumb turning brown, as you plan for your garden next summer consider trying some other types of plants to keep your garden colorful all summer.

  • Managing impatiens downy mildew in the landscape


Growing Impatiens in the Home Garden

Annuals are indispensable additions to the home landscape because of their colorful flowers and long bloom period. Popular annuals for sunny sites include marigolds, petunias, and geraniums. Impatiens are the perfect choice for locations in partial shade.

Impatiens

Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are the most popular bedding plant in the United States. They are ideal for containers, hanging baskets, and beds.

Impatiens have glossy, medium green leaves. Flowers are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, may be single or double, and come in a wide variety of colors. Plants commonly grow 12 to 18 inches tall.

Plants can be purchased at garden centers and greenhouses in spring. Impatiens are also relatively easy to grow from seeds. Home gardeners should sow seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the anticipated outdoor plant date. Suggested impatiens include varieties in the Accent, Tempo, and Super Elfin series. Plants in these series are compact, free flowering, and available in a wide range of colors.

Impatiens perform best in moist, well-drained soils in partial shade. Sites that receive 2 to 4 hours of filtered sun during the day or morning sun and afternoon shade are usually ideal. Impatiens can also be grown in heavy shade. However, plants will be taller and bloom less profusely in heavily shaded locations.

Plant impatiens outdoors after the danger of frost is past. Plants purchased at a greenhouse or started indoors should be “hardened” or acclimated to outdoor conditions for several days prior to planting. Initially place the plants in a shady, protected location and gradually expose them to short periods of sunlight.

Impatiens growing in garden beds usually need to be watered once a week during dry weather. Plants growing in containers or hanging baskets should be checked frequently and watered when the soil surface is dry.

Impatiens require moderate fertilization. Plants in containers should be fertilized approximately every 2 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. In flower beds, incorporating a slow-release fertilizer into the soil prior to planting should be adequate.

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) are native to the island of New Guinea. They were introduced to the United States in 1970. While the initial introductions didn’t perform well, plant breeders have introduced many new, improved cultivars over the last 25 years. These newer cultivars have transformed New Guinea impatiens into popular potted and landscape plants.

New Guinea impatiens have green, bronze, or variegated leaves and large, showy flowers. Flowers can be up to 3 inches in diameter. Flower colors vary from white and pale pink to bright pink, red, violet, and orange.

Most New Guinea impatiens are propagated by cuttings. Gardeners can purchase plants at greenhouses and garden centers in spring. A few varieties, such as those in the Java series, can be grown from seeds. New Guinea impatiens seeds should be started indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the anticipated outdoor planting date.

New Guinea impatiens perform best in locations that receive morning sun and afternoon shade. Eastern exposures are often best. Plants that receive too much sun don’t bloom well (flowers are smaller and fewer in number) and may have damaged foliage.

New Guinea impatiens require moist, well-drained soils. They do not like wet or dry soils. In wet soils, plants are prone to root rots. Plants wilt badly in dry soils. While wilted plants recover quickly when watered, moisture stress results in the abortion of flower buds and fewer flowers. It may also cause browning of leaf margins and leaf drop.

New Guinea impatiens are not fond of cool night temperatures. It’s usually best to plant them outdoors about 2 weeks after the average last spring frost. When planting, set New Guinea impatiens at the same depth they are currently growing.

New Guinea impatiens in containers should be checked frequently. Water plants when the soil surface becomes dry. A deep soaking once a week should be sufficient for plants growing in landscape beds.

New Guinea impatiens require moderate fertilization. Plants growing in pots or other containers should be fertilized approximately every 2 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. Incorporation of a slow-release fertilizer into the soil prior to planting should be adequate for plants in landscape beds.

Rose Balsam

Though popular in years past, rose balsam (Impatiens balsamina) is no longer widely grown in home gardens. It is also known as touch-me-not.

Garden balsam is an erect plant that may grow 1 to 2 1/2 feet tall. Its flowers are double and resemble small camellias or roses. Flower colors include white, cream, pink, rose, purple, red, and bicolors. Though attractive, the flowers are partially hidden by foliage. As a result, rose balsam isn’t as showy as other impatiens species. After blooming, plants produce football-shaped pods (fruits). When mature, these pods burst when touched, hence the common name of touch-me-not. Varieties in the Tom Thumb series produce double flowers on 8- to 12-inch-tall plants.

While more difficult to find than other impatiens, garden balsam can be purchased at garden centers. Plants may also be started indoors. Sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the anticipated outdoor planting date. Seeds can also be sown directly outdoors after the danger of frost is past.

Garden balsam performs best in partial shade and a moist, well-drained soil. Prior to planting, lightly fertilize the area with a slow-release garden fertilizer. Plants should be watered once a week in dry weather. Garden balsam is most commonly used in beds and borders.

Care for New Guinea Impatiens

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Providing Winter Care For Impatiens

Although usually sold as an annual, impatiens is actually a tender perennial which does not tolerate frost. Some gardeners in areas where there is frost choose to grow this plant indoors, in a greenhouse or in containers. However, this doesn’t allow for the beauty of carpets of impatiens in your garden. To keep your garden-grown impatiens for more than one season, follow these steps to protect them from frost and to keep them healthy through the winter.

  • Carefully dig up impatiens plants from the garden. Make sure you dig up all the roots and keep as much soil as possible around the roots. Don’t dig them up in the heat of the day; early morning or evening is best.
  • Cut back the plant stems to 3 or 4 inches long.
  • Transplant your plants into clean, sterile containers with new commercial or homemade potting soil.
  • Fill each pot with soil, pat the soil down carefully and water thoroughly. Add more soil if it settles after watering.
  • Bring your transplanted plants indoors and place them near bright light: a window with southern exposure or a fluorescent light.
  • Continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Do not fertilize your overwintering plants.
  • When the outside air is warmer, trim back any winter growth and begin to fertilize. Transplant your plants outside after the last frost and continue their normal care.

How To Winterize Impatiens? 

Impatiens is the scientific name of famous garden flowers known as “touch-me-not”. These are also known as jewelweed and snapweed. This beautiful flower belongs to the genus Impatiens under the family Balsaminaceae. There are around one thousand species of this flower.

Most commonly found in Northern Hemisphere and in tropical regions. For the Nearctic Species, the name jewelweed is used whereas the tropical species are known as Balsam. In Britain, it is mostly called Busy Lizzie.

Impatiens are found in so many colors. These are vulnerable to very low temperatures but survive well in the tropical environment. So, if you are living in a relatively low-temperature zone, you will have to learn the art of taking care of your Impatiens. You need to winterize your impatiens so that they blossom and give you a pleasant feeling.

Here we are suggesting some useful tips on how to winterize impatiens.

Description

Some species are perennial and flower throughout the year (mostly in relatively milder climatic conditions). However, some species of this beautiful flower are annual plants, flowering mostly in summer till the beginning of frosty conditions. Whatever may be the life span of impatiens, they usually grow tall up to 3 feet, whereas the maximum height attained by them may reach up to 7 feet.

Impatiens is the Latin word which means “Impatient” in English. This name is attributed to the explosive dehiscence of matured seed capsules. These capsules suddenly burst due to which these seeds are spread over a radius of several meters, which is the mode of pollination of this plant.

Leaves of this wonderful plant give a greasy feeling, as they have a thick cuticula that is water repellent. There are tiny air bubbles trapped on the underside of these leaves, giving them a shiny silvery look. Flowers of this plant are small in size, ranging from 2-3 cm.

source: www.marksgardening.blogspot.com

In case of the majority of the species, these flowers have a horn like spurs with petals on the upper side and a prominent labellum, thus providing a landing space for pollinators. In other varieties, such as busy Lizzie, flowers are more flattened having big petals and a tiny spur. There are a few rare species where the flowers are in between these two types.

Leaves of impatiens are a source of food for some Lepidoptera species, like dot moth and Japanese beetle. Jewelweed provides nectar and pollen for some type of bees. But at the same time, these leaves are highly toxic to many other birds and animals. However, flowers of this plant are a favorite food for many types of birds. This plant is also a host of many parasitic plants such as European dodders.

Impatiens contain fungicide and anti-inflammatory agent, which are used in the preparation of various medicines. There are so many other medicinal uses of this plant both in herbal as well as allopathic treatments

Climatic Impact On Impatiens

Being primarily a tropical plant, when exported to low-temperature zones, impatiens require extraordinary care for them to survive in cold. The lowest temperature where impatiens can survive is said to be 13 degrees centigrade.

That’s why it is strongly recommended either don’t try to grow it in areas where temperature goes far less than 13, or the best option is to keep this plant indoors, under the controlled environment. Remember, impatiens cannot survive in frosty weather.

source: www.news.aces.edu

So, if you are living in cold areas and want to grow impatiens, you need to place them in your home or in the greenhouse, so that they may get the relatively higher degree of temperature. But providing warmer temperature does not mean that you provide artificial heating by using heaters or blowers.

Just keep them in the controlled environment protecting against severe cold conditions. Let them grow naturally in a cozy environment during the winter.

Cultivation – When you want to transplant impatiens from nurseries, you need to exercise a bit of extra care. Dig a wider hole around the plant, so that you don’t cut the roots. Now pull out the plant along with the soil around its roots.

Then clear it from the excessive soil gently. For transplantation into a pot, select a pot with holes on the bottom for proper drainage of water. Place the plant right in the middle of the pot and fill the pot with garden soil. Give a little water to it and your impatiens pot is ready.

Care Of Impatiens During Winter

Place this pot inside your home, preferably near a window so that it may receive plenty of sunshine for its normal growth. During the cold season, these plants do not need frequent watering. Slight watering, once a week is sufficient.

However, keep the close watch on the plant and never let the soil becoming too dry. If you feel the soil is much dried, give some water immediately. Excessive irrigation may spoil the roots of this plant.

When the temperature rises more than 16° C, the impatiens start flowering. When in this phase, impatiens may need more watering. In this stage, they also need more sunshine, so make sure that your impatiens must receive ample sunlight during this period. You may have to change the location of your pot to ensure this.

source: www.climateandfreshwater.info

During the winter or cold season, impatiens are always at the risk of an attack of red spiders. You need to take special measures to prevent your plant from this nuisance. There are many such products available in your local market or with the nurseries, which are useful in controlling and protecting against this spider attack.

It is better to consult the professionals for advising the correct remedy for your impatiens against the attack of red spiders during winter. Don’t let this attack prevail for a longer period, otherwise, you may lose the entire plant, so take remedial steps immediately.

The bottom-line for winterization of impatiens is to protect it from the direct impact of frost and extreme coldness. Provide them a relatively warmer environment so that they may grow successfully in your area, where the temperature is quite low during the winter season.

If you like my article about ‘How To Winterize Impatiens?’ and you’re interested in reading more related articles you may visit the ‘Household‘ category at TryArticles. Please leave a comment below that how much you find this article helpful. You may also hit your queries in the comment section below if any

Sunpatiens is the answer to all those who love impatiens and wish to see them bask in the sun!

Summary of key sunpatiens facts

Name – Sunpatiens ®
Scientific name – Impatiens hawkeri hybrid
Family – Balsaminaceae

Type – perennial indoors, annual outdoors
Exposure – sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary but not soggy

Height – about 16 inches (40 cm)
Flowering – May to September-October.

You’ll be able to decorate your beds, garden boxes and pots in the sun for many long months.

Planting and propagating sunpatiens

How to plant Sunpatiens from containers

The planting of Sunpatiens ® flowers purchased in nursery pots is performed in spring.

  • Favor sun or part sun.
  • The ground must drain well and have a lot of humus.
  • Plant mulch will retain water and slowly convert to humus over the season.
  • Plant several specimens together, spaced about 16 inches (40 cm) from the next to create a nice cover.

Then, mix your earth with flower plant soil mix and water often in summer to make the flower-bearing abundant.

Preparing cuttings from your sunpatiens ® plants

You can also prepare cuttings from your favorite sunpatiens ® plants if you want to keep the exact same properties. With cuttings, take care to ensure constant moisture or the blooming may be delayed or it might not bloom at all.

However, overwatering your cuttings will lead to elongated stems with less flowers. The best time to water is when the medium has dried up slightly, just enough to make the leaves sag or wilt a little bit. This shows that the plant is focusing its energy on root development which is important.

  • Note: Since Sunpatiens is a variety protected by a plant patent, you should only make cuttings for personal use and not for financial gain.

Lastly, you can let a few flowers turn to seed and collect them for sowing in the following spring.

  • Like all impatiens, Sunpatiens doesn’t produce a lot of seeds. When it does, seedlings may come out quite different from the parent plant because of cross-pollination by other impatiens.
  • Seeds produced by the Sunpatiens are never true copies of the original. As such, they might turn out to be a new hybrid! Seed offspring aren’t protected by the original patent.

How to grow Sunpatiens seeds

Sunpatiens seeds need light to germinate. Place them atop the soil mix without covering them up.

You can either sprinkle the seeds directly on the growing bed where they’ll sprout and grow, or start them as indoor seedlings 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost date in your area.

At that stage they’ll have grown enough to be transplanted without risk of dying off. For maximum success, check on how to minimize transplant shock.

  • Sunpatiens seeds have not been tested to see if all parent characteristics are transferred to children.
  • It may be that hardiness, heat resistance, and blooming are different in children than they were in parents.
  • Pay attention to how your sunpatiens seedlings develop to learn how they cope with heat, drought, or cold weather.

Caring for and pruning sunpatiens ®

Care for sunpatiens ® is child’s play and no pruning nor pinching is required.

  • Water regularly in case of heat waves.
  • Adding flower plant fertilizer will enhance the blooming but you’ll still have flowers if you don’t fertilize.

In pots or garden boxes, you can amplify the aesthetic appeal and stimulate budding of new flowers if you remove wilted flowers regularly.

Temperature range for Sunpatiens

  • Possible growing within the 32°F – 117°F (0°C to 47°C) range.
  • Thriving only within the 40°F – 95°F range, (5°C to 35°C), its comfort range.

Sunpatiens in the cold

The coldest temperature a Sunpatiens plant can survive is 32°F (0°C), and then only for a couple hours. This plant’s cells have lots of water and don’t have any coping against freezing. Cells burst when water inside them turns to ice. Even an hour at freezing temperature will result in damage to the plant.

  • Parts of the plant damaged by ice or frost will be replaced by new growth when temperatures rise.

Sunpatiens in full heat

Very hot weather, above 100°F (37°C), will almost certainly result in wilting at the hottest hours. This will even happen if you provide constant water through drip irrigation.

  • Irrigating or ensure proper moisture serves to help the plant survive in this heat.
  • Blooming is impaired and flowers wilt much faster.
  • As soon as temperatures go back to the comfort range, blooming will resume in full.

Impatiens naturally evolved as a shade plant. Although sunpatiens is derived from impatiens, it’s astounding to see this hybrid easily take on such full sun and hot temperatures!

Sunpatiens ® winter care

Don’t be surprised if your outdoor sunpatiens ® doesn’t come back from one year to the next because it fears the cold. It will survive winter only where the season is mild.

  • But you can try growing sunpatiens in pots to bring inside your home during the coldest months.
  • If the lowest temperatures in your area are just around freezing, try winterizing your sunpatiens ® in the hope of protecting them.

Uprooting your sunpatiens ® from the growing bed to containers is also possible.

  • Dig the plant out carefully with as many roots as you can.
  • Transfer to a pot with conventional soil mix.
  • Trim the stems back by about one third (leaving two-thirds on the plant).
  • Set the sunpatiens ® indoors near a window that provides a lot of sun.

When you grow the plants in pots, reduce watering to only once a fortnight or once a month during the winter dormant phase, as you would most house plants. If ever you’ve been giving your sunpatiens ® too much water, you might trigger root rot, so water only when the surface of the soil is dry.

Don’t add any fertilizer over the winter.

Diseases and enemies of sunpatiens ®

Pests on Sunpatiens

Although generally not so vulnerable to diseases and parasites, occasionally you’ll notice an invasion of red spider mites and aphids on your impatiens.

  • Here is how to fend off red spider mites
  • Here is how to fight aphids off

If holes appear on the leaves of your sunpatiens ®, be on the lookout for slugs because they love this type of plant and you must act fast. Shown here is the pumpkin beetle, which is quite harmless for sunpatiens.

If you notice leaves disappearing entirely, there might be a few caterpillars hiding below. Impatiens hawkeye moth is a caterpillar is known to favor plants of the Impatiens family. It is normally only found in SouthEast Asia, from India to the Philippines (including Australia and Indonesia).

  • Learn about natural caterpillar control

Diseases that infect sunpatiens

Unlike common Impatiens, Sunpatiens ® lineage was selected and bred to resist downy mildew.

Sunpatiens ® rotting from the roots and stems

Allthough it was bred from Impatiens varieties that were resistant to most types of diseases, the Sunpatiens ® plant may get infected by certain root rot fungus when growing conditions aren’t ideal.

  • Poor soil drainage, constantly wet leaves, and high temperatures usually cause fungal infection.

Fungus such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia may develop on the sunpatiens due to poor drainage, contaminated soil, and wounds to the roots. To ensure this doesn’t happen, try the following:

  • handle the young plant carefully when planting, especially when disentangling the roots.
  • increase drainage in the soil with sand and organic material.
  • planting in flower beds enriched with green manure has been correlated to higher resistance to Rhizoctonia.
  • when planting in pots, use fresh, new soil mix for your Sunpatiens ®.

If ever the disease has already appeared, you can still control it:

  • remove and destroy specimens with the worst symptoms.
  • amend the soil to increase drainage (sand + organic matter)
  • spray natural organic fungicides such as a garlic decoction or fermented horsetail tea, both excellent fungus repellents.

Read more on the topic of how to deal with rotting sunpatiens plants.

Learn more about sunpatiens ®

Being very ornamental thanks to its bursting colors, this perennial or annual blooms remarkably in flower beds and garden boxes.

  • Care is simple and growth is quick.
  • Resistance to warm weather is what makes this flower stand out.

There are three major types of sun impatiens

  • Sunpatiens ‘Compact‘ – grows up to 2½ feet (75 cm) tall
  • Sunpatiens ‘Spreading‘ – reaches heights of up to 3 feet (90 cm)
  • Sunpatiens ‘Vigorous‘ – makes it over 3½ feet (105 cm) high

Where Sunpatiens comes from

This Impatiens hybrid was bred from ‘New Guinea’ Impatiens, which itself was already an improvement over common Impatiens as regards heat resistance.

Indeed, traditional Impatiens varieties would only thrive in the shade but wither away when temperatures increased. Thanks to a dense, fast-growing root system, Sunpatiens ® is able to resist high temperatures. However, it isn’t drought-resistant so regular watering is needed.

Why the “®”? Sunpatiens ® was developed by the Sakata Seed Corporation, which reserved the trademark on the name for merchandising. This is the name most horticulture stores will sell the plant under, but the scientific name is Impatiens hawkeri hybrid.

This Japan-based company worked with Indonesian growers to breed the plant. They’re constantly adding new colors such as fire red, tropical rose, neon pink, magenta and more colors from the orange to purple range.

Smart tip about Sunpatiens ®

During the blooming, feel free to water your sunpatiens ® regularly but not too much to keep just the right moisture level.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Sunpatiens ‘Shell Pink’ by F. D. Richards ★ under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Potted ‘Compact White’ Sunpatiens by Serres Fortier under © CC BY 2.0
Beetle on orange sunpatiens by coniferconifer ☆ under © CC BY 2.0

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