New guinea impatiens shade

Gardeners have long loved impatiens for their ability to provide colorful flowers in shady places. In the 1970s, New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) were introduced to U.S. gardeners, and while early varieties weren’t initially beloved, this plant has become a staple in many gardens now. They’re usually grown as annuals, planted in the spring in northern areas and year-round in frost-free zones. Their colors include reds, pinks, oranges, and white. The foliage of New Guinea Impatiens is dark green and nearly purple on the undersides, making it attractive on its own. They blooms constantly and require little maintenance. Here’s what you need to know to grow them.

Growing New Guinea Impatiens

Light. Like other impatiens, New Guineas don’t enjoy too much sun. They’re more sun-tolerant than other varieties, but they prefer bright light to direct sun. If anything, give them full sun in the morning (no more than 4 – 6 hours) and then shade in the afternoon. Any more and the leaves will burn and flowering will all but cease.

Water. New Guinea Impatiens need regular watering. They like moist soil, though not soggy roots. Ensure their soil, whether in the ground or in a pot, drains freely. These are plants that will wilt quickly when they don’t receive enough water, though they’ll usually recover if watered soon. Drip irrigation is a good way to keep these plants consistently moist without over-watering.

Temperature. Daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s F are ideal for these bloomers. Cooler nights are fine, but if temperatures drop below 45 F, they will start to suffer.

Problems. In the past few years, impatiens downy mildew has caused problems in the United States, and New Guinea Impatiens are susceptible to this disease, although some note they are more resistant. They may also be troubled by root rot, fungal disease, and aphids. However, most gardeners find these plants to be easy-care and trouble-free.

Looking for more colorful shade-tolerant plants?

New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) is a fairly new type of impatiens that offers quite a few benefits over the traditional Elfin (Impatiens walleriana ) variety.

This good-looking breed sports oversized, showy flowers and variegated leaves.

It is able to thrive in many parts of the garden because it tolerates and even prefers partial sun.

It is also a vigorous grower that gains more size than the old-fashioned variety and is able to fill in more space with fewer plants.

New Guinea Impatiens in Flower – Close Up

In this article, we will discuss selection, planting impatiens, and the easy care of the New Guinea impatiens. Read on to learn more.

The best watering schedule for New Guinea is an early morning drenching. Your soil should be friable and rich with organic matter so it can hold moisture properly without waterlogging.

In the flowerbed, you should water deeply at the soil level, as opposed to sprinkling. Water container and potted plants until the water runs out the drainage holes. Overall New Guinea impatiens like moist soil.

The History Of New Guinea Impatiens

Traditional Elfin impatiens is a common landscaping plant and a good choice for adding color and beauty to a partial shade setting.

New Guinea flower does this well-established favorite one better. These plants enjoy a half-day of sun and present a far more impressive showing than their humble cousins.

This plant was discovered in the jungles of New Guinea in the early 1970s. The original plant specimens were found during an expedition conducted by the USDA and Pennsylvania’s Agriculture & Longwood Botanical Gardens.

Although the plants were rather spindly and unattractive when brought straight in from the wilderness, clever horticulturists soon developed very attractive, low maintenance, carefree hybrids.

Early varieties were available to the public very soon after the discovery of these plants.

By the late 1980s, the hybrid known as Tango with orange flower color had been developed. This continuously flowering plant produces bright orange blooms that can be as large as 2.5 inches across. It was termed an “All-American Selection” in 1989.

Continued selective breeding and development has resulted in plants that produce large, showy flowers coupled with beautiful, variegated foliage.

These attractive plants have become a favorite for landscaping, flowerbeds, or in an outdoor container garden.

In fact, few other types of bedding, landscape, and potted plants can rival these plants in terms of popularity.

These plants were initially met with enthusiasm, and in the past couple of decades their popularity has soared.

You can purchase these good looking plants as 6-pack impatiens seedlings, in small pots, in group arrangements and in hanging baskets.

They make a wonderful addition to any home, porch, patio, yard or garden. Cared for properly, they provide continuous bountiful and beautiful color from early in spring until autumn.

Video: Impatiens Care & Watering

How Are New Guinea Impatiens Better Than Elfin Impatiens?

Impatiens hawkeri is a larger, sturdier, brighter version of the old-fashioned favorite, Impatiens walleriana. In addition to differences in looks, size, and hardiness, these plants also differ in propagation.

Impatiens walleriana is a seed grown plant. Hawkeri is started using vegetative cuttings. Naturally, it is possible to grow them from seed; however, this is usually so difficult that it is not worth the trouble to attempt it.

Be that as it may, continuous research and effort has resulted in some new varieties of New Guinea impatiens seed that are available to commercial growers but are not yet available to consumers as seed. You can purchase the finished plants from your local nursery.

Traditional or “Elfin” impatiens produce more flowers than New Guinea plants; however, these flowers are quite small when compared with the generously sized New Guinea impatiens flowers produced.

The elfin variety is a more common choice for mass landscape plantings. It is typically considered a more economical choice as individual plants for large plantings.

This belief is somewhat faulty, though. When planning your garden, remember that New Guinea impatiens grow bigger and taller than Elfin impatiens.

For this reason, you will need fewer plants to cover the same amount of space, so choosing New Guinea impatiens over Elfin varieties might very well end up saving you quite a bit of money.

Because of their impressive size and showy appearance, New Guinea impatiens are also quickly becoming quite popular as holiday plants. They can be kept happily as indoor plants through the winter and transplanted outdoors in the springtime.

This makes them a versatile and satisfying choice for many different settings.

In terms of growing conditions, Elfin and New Guinea impatiens have similar needs when it comes to soil. The ground they grow in should be rich and well-watered, yet it should also possess very good drainage capabilities to help prevent root rot and fungus development.

While Elfin impatiens thrives in full shade, New Guinea impatiens need half a day of sun every day to look their best and to thrive.

It’s best to provide them with full sun in the morning and sheltered part shade in the afternoon.

That’s why this variety is often referred to as “sunpatiens”. If you plant these specimens in an area that does not get half a day of sun every day, your plants’ flowers will fade. Variegation of leaves will become less dramatic and will eventually disappear.

Video: New Guinea Sunpatiens

How To Plant Impatiens & Prepare Them

Begin with carefully selected plants. When shopping look for specimens that are fully branched and well rounded. Their leaves should be smooth and shiny, and they should possess a wealth of flowers and buds. Check to be sure that the root system is healthy and intact.

Don’t purchase leggy plants or those that have dead or faded foliage. Avoid plants that seem to have damaged or rotted roots. If the plant you are considering buying has brown roots, it is an indication that it has not been well-cared-for.

Once you have made your selections, take your plants straight home. They will not enjoy riding around in the car as you run your errands. Less traveling and handling will result in less stress.

When you get them home, don’t transplant them immediately. Instead, place them in a somewhat sheltered location in their original containers. Water them if needed and keep them this way for several days before transplanting to their permanent location.

Be careful not to keep your new plants in an area that is too dark as this can also be stressful. Place them in an area that provides light shade throughout the day. If you plan to transplant them to a sunny area, gradually acclimate them to these conditions by moving them nearer and nearer to the final location over a period of a week or more.

Choosing The Location For Your Planters Or Bed

How much sun do impatiens need?

Your New Guinea impatiens will be happiest with full morning sun and light afternoon shade in most areas of the northern United States and Canada.

Just as too little sun will have a negative impact on impatiens flowers and blossoms, too much sun can cause stunted flowers and bleached, burned foliage.

When you allow your New Guinea impatiens to bask in the friendly sunshine of the morning hours and hide from the punishing rays of the afternoon sun, you will have a winning combination.

Tips For Planting And Potting Impatiens

Use Clean Implements and Equipment

Before you begin transplanting your new arrivals, make certain that all the materials and tools you plan to use are clean and free from contamination.

It’s a good idea to always keep all of your gardening supplies disinfected by cleaning them with a combination of bleach and water. One part bleach to nine parts water is a very useful mixture.

Alternately, a soap solution may be used. Soak pots and implements thoroughly in the solution and then rinse with copious amounts of clean water to prevent potential disease of your new plants.

Provide Lots of Room

When placing impatiens in the garden or in pots or planters like these, be sure to provide plenty of growing space.

Double the size of the original pot when determining how far apart to space your new plants directly into your garden.

If the impatiens you are planting came in a four-inch pot, it will need a good eight or nine inches on all sides for proper growth.

Plants that come in five-inch pots need ten or eleven inches of space all around. Those that come in six-inch pots need a generous foot of space on all sides.

When planting in pots or planters, the new container should be about one-and-a-half times the size of the pot in which the plant currently resides.

Transplant plants in six-inch pots into nine or ten-inch containers. You can also group three or four six-inch plants in a fourteen to sixteen-inch container.

Adjust these measurements depending upon the variety of impatiens you are working with.

Be sure to research the varieties you are planting and provide even more generous spacing for vigorous types of impatiens.

There is a real difference between the growth potential of compact varieties and vigorous varieties.

The former usually grow to be about a foot high and wide. The latter can grow to be eighteen inches high and wide, so plan accordingly.

Use the Right Kind of Soil

These plants like a rich, well-drained soil so you should only use very high quality, professionally prepared potting soil.

The very best choices are those that have a high perlite, vermiculite and/or peatmoss content.

These types of potting soil are more coarse and provide better drainage.

If you are planting directly into a flowerbed, be sure to prepare the soil thoroughly and work in a high percentage (30-50%) peat or compost for arability and drainage.

It is also a good idea to work some 20-20-20 dry, slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting. Incorporate it at a rate of a pound per 100 square feet of ground.

Use the Right Amount of Soil.

When you plant or pot your impatiens, be aware of the soil level.

It should be equal with the current level of soil in your plant’s existing pot. If you make the soil level too high, you run the risk of rotting the stem. If you make it too low, the roots will be exposed and will suffer.

Keep the Roots Cool and Protected

After you have planted or potted your plant, be sure to give it a generous watering and cover the soil with mulch to protect the roots and hold the moisture in. Outdoors, mulch also helps keep the soil cool, thus reducing stress.

Protect Your Plants From Extreme Heat & Cold

Remember that your New Guinea impatiens is sensitive to sudden extremes in temperature, so don’t plant it outdoors in the heat of the day. It’s best to do your planting and transplanting in the cool, early hours of the morning or at dusk to give the plants a little time to adjust and recover without the added stress of excessive heat and sunlight.

The climate in New Guinea is tropical, so this type of impatiens is not happy outside in cold weather. Don’t set them out until after evening temperatures are reliably above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal would be to wait until evening temperatures are reliably between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperatures are a steady 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the temperature climbs higher than 85 degrees during the day, you may wish to add shade in the form of awnings, shade netting, and the like to protect your plants. Coddling them a bit will prevent stress and result in healthier plants with more abundant blooms and more beautiful flowers and foliage.

Watering Your Impatiens

Like Impatiens walleriana, the New Guinea variety of impatiens like daily watering. In fact, this plant is generally quite thirsty. Be careful not to allow plants to dry out and wilt frequently as this will stunt flower and foliage growth. Nonetheless, if you do occasionally forget to water, don’t despair. Even if your plants appear to be dead, give them a good watering. Very often, this hardy, cheery variety will bounce right back from seemingly fatal dehydration.

You should keep the soil moist consistently but never soggy. Soggy soil promotes root rot. Dry soil causes plants to suffer and drop flowers and foliage. If you allow the soil to dry out multiple times, the health of the plants will suffer severely, and they will be more subject to disease and pest infestation.

Don’t spray your impatiens, and don’t use a sprinkler. A slow drip, ground irrigation system is best. Reduce frequency and amount of watering to suit the weather. Naturally, you will water less in cool, damp weather than in hot, dry weather. The best time to water is in the very early hours of the morning so that the plants can benefit from ample water during the sunny, warm hours of the day.

Reliable watering is of the utmost importance, so use of an automatic irrigation system is ideal. This should be set up in such a way that the ground is thoroughly soaked but the leaves are left dry. This method will help prevent fungal growth.

If your area is receiving only light rain, continue your daily watering schedule. This is especially important immediately after planting. Your impatiens will need lots of water at first to become well established in their new home.

Feed Frequently

These plants are not heavy feeders, but they do need regular fertilization. Use of a long term, slow-release fertilizer mixed into the soil at the time of planting and applied as a top dressing twice a month should keep your plants happy and thriving. Some good choices in fertilizer include:

  • Polyon
  • Osmocote
  • Nutricote

Use these products at a low-to-medium rate for best results. Excessive use can result in a rapid release of nutrients during the hottest months of the summer.

If you do not wish to use these types of products, you can use a liquid soluble plant fertilizer applied every third time you water.

However, this will add significantly to the time and effort you invest in maintenance of your plants outdoors. It might be very workable for a few indoor or container plants, though.

As a caveat, if your plants have been without water for a while don’t fertilize initially. Instead, get the water needs thoroughly met and give your plants a chance to recover before gradually introducing fertilizer. Fertilizing parched plants can result in burned roots.

How To Encourage More Blossoms And Fuller Growth

Generally speaking, you don’t have to deadhead these plants. They tend to drop their spent blossoms naturally to make room for fresh blossoms.

The downside of this is that they don’t tend to drop them in a symmetrical manner, so plants left to their own devices can begin looking rather unkempt. Additionally, fallen flowers can cause the development of fungal gray mold, which could kill your plants in fairly short order.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to trim back and collect old blossoms occasionally. If your plants are in pots or containers, you can just pick them up and gently shake off the old blossoms in an area where it will be easy for you to sweep them up and dispose of them.

New Guinea impatiens care requires little pruning. However, you may want to trim occasionally to shape and guide the plant. Additionally, if the stems of your plants are getting leggy and overgrown, which happens in partial shade, you will naturally want to correct this flaw.

Remember to always make your pruning cut just above a leaf node to promote strong, bushy growth. This will also help encourage more abundant flowering.

New Guinea Impatiens Problems: Pests And Weeds

Check your plants, planters, and flowerbed regularly for pest and weed infestation. Here are some common pests and problems you may encounter:

Various types of caterpillars may attack your impatiens. If you see big, chewed-up holes in your plants, your problem is probably caterpillars.

Deal with them by picking them off and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water.

If the infestation is heavy, apply Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) according to packaging instructions. Take care to identify the type of caterpillars you want to control before taking action.

Avoid killing butterfly caterpillars as butterflies are valuable pollinators. Instead, relocate them to another area. You may wish to establish a separate butterfly garden to provide an appropriate setting.

You may see small, green aphids in clusters on the tips of branches. These tiny insects secrete a sugary substance made of the sap of the plants they eat. This can form a black, sooty mold.

If you see a sticky, black substance on your plants, suspect aphids.

If caught early, simply knock aphids off plants with a strong spray from the garden hose or a natural aphid spray. If spraying with water be sure to do this on a warm, dry day to avoid encouraging fungal growth.

Take steps to encourage friendly fauna in your garden (e.g. ladybugs) to help you control your aphid problem.

You can purchase ladybugs online or possibly at a local garden center.

If you see webbing and what looks like cayenne pepper powder on the undersides of your plant leaves, you have a spider mite infestation.

Spider mites usually attack during hot, dry spells.

They leave tiny little holes in the leaves of your plants.

Lady bugs can also help you get spider mites under control as can specialized predatory mites. These can also be purchased online or at a garden center.

Unexplained wilt may be caused by fungal root rot. Fungal infestation of the roots occurs when roots do not get enough air.

If your soil is not high quality and well-drained and/or if you do not have adequate drainage holes in planters, this will be the result.

The best way to deal with fungus is to avoid it. This is why it is so important to position your plants correctly, prepare your soil well and water with care.

Video: Impatiens Dying From Downy Mildew

Enjoy Versatile, Beautiful New Guinea Impatiens Year-Round

Although it is not as frequently used as a landscaping bedding plant in mass plantings, New Guinea impatiens is actually better suited for this purpose than Elfin impatiens, which is the usual choice. This plant can thrive in a wider variety of settings than its Elfin cousin.

In containers, New Guinea impatiens makes an excellent porch or deck plant. They are especially attractive when creatively combined with other colorful annual and perennial plants.

It also makes a nice houseplant if you have a sunny south-facing window with lots of bright sunlight. Bringing your impatiens indoors during the wintertime is a great way to protect them, brighten up your home through the dreary winter months.

Information About New Guinea Impatiens: Caring For New Guinea Impatiens Flowers

If you love the look of impatiens but your flower beds get strong sunshine for part of the day, New Guinea impatiens will fill your yard with color. Unlike classic impatiens plants, which are shade lovers, New Guinea impatiens flowers tolerate up to half a day of sun in most parts of the country.

These colorful blooms come in bright shades from lavender to orange, spanning the rainbow with a choice of bedding colors. Caring for New Guinea impatiens is no more difficult than any other flower, as long as you keep the plants well-watered throughout the hottest parts of the year.

How to Grow New Guinea Impatiens

The thing to remember about New Guinea impatiens is that rdeningalthough it will tolerate moderate amounts of sunshine, it still thrives in light shade. Flower beds on the east side of a building, which get morning sunshine and afternoon shade, are ideal locations for these plants.

Fill the beds with mass plantings for the best look. Each plant will grow into a rounded mound, and if planted 18 inches apart, they’ll grow to fill in the entire space in a matter of weeks. Keep the plants in the front of the bed 12 inches away from the edging to keep the front branches from growing onto the lawn or sidewalk.

Caring for New Guinea Impatiens

The best growing tips for New Guinea impatiens have to do with paying attention to small details. None of the varieties of this plant can tolerate drought very well, so keep the soil moist with soaker hoses or other watering devices. In hot summer months, this may mean daily watering that soaks deep into the ground.

This plant can be a heavy feeder, so give it monthly feedings of a low-nitrogen plant food. This will encourage the plant to grow without discouraging any of the flower production.

Once you know how to grow New Guinea impatiens, you’ll find that it’s a useful plant for planters and hanging baskets as well as for mass bedding. Move the containers each day to keep the plants in the shade for most of the day and you’ll find they thrive in almost any planting group.

New Guinea Impatiens

Botanical Name: Impatiens x hawkeri hybrids

Growing New Guinea impatiens in containers allows you to enjoy a big show of bright blooms just about anywhere. Brighten up a kitchen windowsill, sunroom or patio with these non-stop flowering plants.

New Guinea impatiens are among the easiest flowering plants to grow indoors.

These New Guinea hybrids feature a shrubby habit and large flowers. Impatiens flowers are typically single, with 5 flat petals. New varieties offer more choices than ever before. You’ll find them in shades of pink, red, mauve, purple, orange and white.

Part of the attraction with New Guinea impatiens hybrids is the foliage: lush, lance-shaped leaves are bold and often tinged with red-bronze, or splashed with bright green or yellow.

Impatiens are sometimes called “Busy Lizzies” for their ability to bloom for months on end. Among the most popular flowers for shade, you’ll find impatiens for sale in garden centers in spring and summer. Don’t be afraid to buy small plants or grow impatiens from seed. Impatiens are fast-growing — you won’t wait long for those beautiful flowers.

Brighten any room with an abundance of beautiful blooms.

How to Care for New Guinea Impatiens

Deadhead spent blooms. Cut off spent flowers to keep plants looking their best and to encourage a long season of blooming.

Repot plants. You’ll get the most blooms by keeping your impatiens slightly pot-bound, so move up to a bigger pot only when the roots fill the pot. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent overwatering, which can cause root rot.

Growing impatiens outdoors? Extend their bloom time by bringing them indoors when the temperatures drops in fall. Before you bring them inside, check the plants for spider mites. They may invade this plant if the humidity is low.

New Guinea Impatiens Growing Tips

Origin: New Guinea

Height: Up to 15 in (38 cm)

Light: Bright light; no direct sun in summer. Impatiens won’t bloom if they don’t get enough light. When growing impatiens indoors, it can be challenging to find a spot where they’ll get at least 4 hours of bright, indirect sun each day. Don’t have a spot near a sunny window? Move your potted impatiens outdoors — just keep it shaded from hot, direct midday sun.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Flowering plants are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers, so check them often. Impatiens will quickly wilt if they are allowed to dry out. They can be quickly revived though with a thorough watering.

Humidity: Aim for 40% relative humidity or higher. Place pot on a tray of wet pebbles to raise the humidity around it.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C

Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix with added perlite and/or vermiculite for faster drainage. African violet potting mix is ideal for impatiens.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks from spring through fall with a high-phosphorus water-soluble fertilizer at half the recommended amount.

Propagation: Take 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. They’ll root easily in water or moist soil. Sow impatiens seeds in spring or early summer.

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New Guinea impatiens hawkerii ‘Sonic Orange’

” Previous Plant | Next Plant ”

Gorgeous tangerine blooms embellish the fresh green foliage of Sonic Orange. With a spread of 12-14 inches, requiring a space of 9-15 inches to properly grow, and an optimal height of 12-14 inches, this New Guinea will add a burst of vibrant color to any garden or potted arrangement.

  • Extremely Versatile for All Container Sizes
  • Immense Flower Size
  • Strong, Well-Branched Habit
  • Award Winning Landscape Performance
  • Full Color Range, Including Bi-Colors
  • Breeder: Syngenta Flowers
  • Bloom Color: Orange
  • Height: 12-14 Inches
  • Spread: 12-14 Inches
  • Spacing: 9-15 Inches
  • Zone: Zones 10 – 12
  • RC 102 Tray

New Guinea Impatiens are upright, warm weather annuals and tender perennials. These seasonal favorites offer a full spectrum of vibrant colors on bold blossoms and rich lance-shaped leaves. Impatiens are shade tolerant with a well-branching nature and compact growth habit. These beautiful plants offer large, round, vibrant flowers, appearing early in the season and forming a canopy of color which continues in warm weather conditions. The lush green or red foliage grows to form upright, rounded mounds covered by five-pedaled, flattened flowers. This suite of tropical perennials was collected from the island of Papa New Guinea, which is northeast of Australia and thrives in similar warm climates, seasonal or geographical.

New Guinea Harmony is a series bred by Danziger, the Paradise and Pure Beauty collection comes from the Dummen Group, while the New Guinea Sonic and Super Sonic series are bred by Syngenta. New Guineas are commonly used as a border plant around the garden, in hanging baskets, or for mass planting in the landscape. The taller and fuller varieties go nicely as mixed fillers in the garden. New Guineas grow best in moist, fertile, well-drained soil, and is a full shade to partial sun exposure flower. New Guineas also have a long bloom life. Key features include shade tolerance and no deadheading required.

Category: Annuals. Tags: Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Compact, Great Foliage, No Deadheading, Shade Tolerant, Border, Container, Edging, Filler, Focal Point, Ground Cover, Hanging Baskets, Mass Planting, Shade Gardens, Tropical, Versatile, Window Boxes, Woodland Edge, Full Shade, Part Sun, Dark Green, Upright Mounding, Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer, Average, Moist, Well Drained, Compact Medium,

Impatiens New Guinea Impatiens hawkerii Paradise ‘Electric Orange’

New Guinea Impatiens

Rich orange blooms against the beautiful, lush green leaves of The New Guinea Paradise Electric Orange makes for a bold statement in color and contrast. The mounding growth habit and brilliant blooms makes this a fantastic choice for baskets and containers! The blooms are approximately 2-3” wide amongst the foliage on thick stems that bloom right up until the frost. These New Guinea Paradise Impatiens are desired most for their wide selection of bright, ever-blooming colors, shade tolerance and mounding growth habit for baskets and containers. This is a great annual for Spring, Mother’s Day, Summer, and Fall. They mature to about 18-36” tall and about 12-36” wide.


12-36 Inches


18-36 Inches

Homeowner Growing
& Maintenance Tips

The New Guinea Paradise Impatiens prefer shade but can handle some sun. They grow best in fertile, moist soil. Trimming back dead blossoms encourages new blooms. Please remember, these beauties may need a little extra TLC and more consistent watering, especially if in containers!

Interesting Notes

Looks great in beds, borders, baskets and containers

Plant in shaded areas for gorgeous conatiners

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Characteristics & Attributes


Focal Point
Great Foliage
Border or Bed
Mass Planting
Purchase Size(s):

11″ Hanging Basket
10″ Patio Pot

Partial Shade
Foliage Color

Season of Interest (Flowering)

Soil Moisture Preference


Impatiens x New Guinea Hybrids New Guinea Impatiens1

Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe2


This easily grown annual distinguishes itself from the common garden impatiens by its brilliantly marked foliage and ability to tolerate greater amounts of sun once it is well established for several weeks in the landscape (Fig. 1). Available in upright, rounded or flatter, spreading forms, from 8 inches to 2 feet in height, ‘New Guinea’ impatiens have very large leaves, often variegated with red or yellow, and large, single flowers available in shades of lavender, purple, pink, red, orange, or white.

Figure 1.

New Guinea impatiens

General Information

Scientific name: Impatiens x New Guinea Hybrids Pronunciation: im-PAY-shenz Common name(s): New Guinea impatiens Family: Balsaminaceae Plant type: annual USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 2) Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul; Aug Planting month for zone 8: Jun; Jul Planting month for zone 9: Apr; Sep; Oct; Nov Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; Oct; Nov; Dec Origin: not native to North America Uses: edging; mass planting; container or above-ground planter; attracts butterflies Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range Figure 2.

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2 feet Spread: 1 to 2 feet Plant habit: round Plant density: dense Growth rate: fast Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate Leaf type: simple Leaf margin: serrate Leaf shape: ovate Leaf venation: not applicable Leaf type and persistence: not applicable Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches Leaf color: purple or red Fall color: not applicable Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: white; red; pink; lavender; orange; purple Flower characteristic: showy


Fruit shape: no fruit Fruit length: no fruit Fruit cover: no fruit Fruit color: not applicable Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable Current year stem/twig color: reddish Current year stem/twig thickness: thick


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun Soil tolerances: acidic; sand; clay; loam Soil salt tolerances: unknown Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches


Roots: not applicable Winter interest: not applicable Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding Invasive potential: not known to be invasive Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Performing best in light shade but tolerant of nearly full sun during the winter in south Florida, ‘New Guinea’ impatiens are ideal for edgings, borders, or mass plantings. Plants should receive regular waterings and fertilizations. Daily irrigation is needed in Florida in warm weather. Sunny locations are suitable for planting in the summer only in cool climates. Plants in Florida usually stop flowering in the summer, even when located in the shade. They make a nice spring and fall color show in north and central Florida, and grow well all winter long in south Florida. Space plants about 18 to 24 inches apart for mass plantings. A mass or group of plants will form a mound of color that is higher in the middle and low and rounded along the edge of the grouping. Plant no closer than 12 inches from a walk or driveway to allow the plant to spread out. One plant will normally fill a small container in 8 to 10 weeks, forming a large, symmetrical, round head. Although previously difficult to grow from seed, recent introductions have produced a fertile seed mixture. New Guinea ‘Spectra’ hybrids offer a multitude of color forms and leaf variegations. ‘Sweet Sue’, with bronzed foliage and bright orange, 2- to 3-inch flowers, can also be grown from seed. ‘Spectra’ series and ‘Tango’ are also seed propagated.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.


This document is FPS-281, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Teresa Howe, coordinator research programs/services, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

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