Propagating new guinea impatiens

Propagate Impatiens: Rooting Impatiens Cuttings

(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

A common mainstay in many gardens either in containers or as bedding plants, impatiens are one of the easiest flowering plants to grow. These attractive flowers can be easily propagated as well. So if you’re looking for an easy way to add more of these flowers to the garden, impatiens rooting takes little time or effort.

Rooting Impatiens Cuttings in Soil

Most of impatiens plants are propagated by cuttings. Choose a non-flowering stem on the impatiens with at least two leaf nodes and make a cut just below a node. Generally, impatiens stem cuttings are anywhere from 3 to 6 inches in length. Although it’s not required, the ends may be dipped in rooting hormone if desired.

Insert each impatiens cutting in planting trays or pots filled with potting soil or a damp mix of vermiculite or perlite. Holes can be made beforehand using a pencil or even your finger. Be sure to pinch off any lower leaves on the impatiens cutting and then gently insert the cuttings into the soil. Water these generously and set them in bright, indirect light.

Impatiens cuttings can also be placed directly in the garden. Just poke them right into the ground, preferably in a semi-shady location. It usually takes anywhere from a couple weeks to a month for impatiens rooting to take place. Once rooted, the plants can be transferred to their desired location.

How to Root Impatiens in Water

Impatiens rooting can also be achieved with water. In fact, impatiens cuttings root easily using this method. Simply remove any lower leaves and place the cuttings in a glass or vase of water, up to the first couple of nodes. Place it in a bright location out of direct sunlight, such as a well-lit windowsill.

Replace the water daily or at least every other day to keep it fresh and clean. Once suitable impatiens rooting has taken place, the rooted impatiens cuttings can be transferred to another permanent location.

Impatiens Propagation with Seeds

While many people simply purchase new impatiens plants each year, it can be just as cost effective to propagate impatiens from seeds. Growing impatiens from seeds is easy. As opposed to buying impatiens seeds, use the seeds taken from the previous season. Seeds should be sown indoors at least six to eight weeks prior to the last expected frost in your area.

Before planting, however, it’s helpful to harden off, or acclimate, the young plants to outdoor conditions. To accomplish this, simply place them in a protected area outdoors, preferably in light shade, and then gradually increase the amount of light they receive over a period of several days.

Impatiens Flowers

impatiens image by palms from

How to Prune Impatiens

Impatiens bloom profusely from late spring until the fall frost, providing bright color to window boxes and containers. When grown as a bedding plant, they create mounds of rich green foliage covered with abundant blooms, making them the top selling bedding plant in the United States, according to the University of Vermont. Routine care includes providing deep weekly watering, adequate nutrients and occasional pruning.

Pinch or prune impatiens when they are 4 to 6 inches high by pinching off new growth on the ends of branches. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze out center leaves. This forces new growth to sprout along the branch and creates a compact plant with dense foliage capable of supporting abundant blooms.

Repeat the procedure in three weeks, pinching out the center leaves on new growth to encourage further branching. Pinching delays blooming but increases the number of branches that later produce blooms. Overall, pinching increases the abundance of blooms.

Trim or prune overgrown branches as impatiens mature. Cut back to the overall shape of the plant to improve appearance and promote healthy growth. If impatiens become leggy or cease blooming in midsummer, prune back to a height of 4 inches. A new flush of growth appears quickly and produces new blooms.

Prune impatiens back to the soil level in late fall to move the plant inside for the winter. Place in indirect sun and keep soil moist. New growth appears within a few weeks creating an attractive houseplant that can be planted in the garden in spring.

How to Deadhead Impatiens

Look through your impatiens to identify flowers in need of deadheading. Blooms that are wilted, faded, withered or damaged can be removed.

Pinch or pull off the flowers you have identified for deadheading. In the case of impatiens, you will not need any tools. A gentle tug or pull with your hand will be enough to remove the bloom from the plant.

Discard the deadheaded blooms with your yard waste or in a compost pile or bin.

Check your impatiens regularly throughout the growing season to see if additional blooms need to be deadheaded. Because they are self-cleaning, some of the plant’s blooms should fall off throughout the season, but you can remove any unattractive or withering flowers as necessary to reshape the plant or keep it looking healthy.

Are Impatiens Deer Resistant?

The most popular annual bedding plant in the United States, impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) receive high marks for nonstop blooms from June to frost. Rated on deer resistance, however, impatiens don’t fare as well. Deer occasionally damage these plants severely. Repellents or fencing can help keep animals away from impatiens.

Meaning of Impatiens

Impatiens are symbolic of motherly love, according to Kathleen Karlsen from Living Arts Originals. Although impatiens come in a variety of colors, Ms. Karlsen writes that there are no specific meanings associated with each color.


In medieval times, impatiens were used in gardens devoted to the Virgin Mary, the mother symbol of the christian world. Impatiens became popular in the United States in the 1950s, after “the father of impatiens” Claude Hope began mass-producing seeds for the American market, according to The New York Times Magazine.


Impatiens can be used in flower beds, window boxes, as bedding or in hanging plants. Colors often include red, orange and white. Striped impatiens and double-headed impatiens are also easy to find. Impatiens are annuals that bloom throughout the summer growing season.

Plant Care

Annual plants in general require more watering than perennials with a deeper root system. When planting impatiens, consider more shaded areas because the blooms will wilt or burn more easily in full sun. Impatiens need daily watering, but can tolerate less water if planted in the shade. Pinch off dead blooms often to encourage new blossoms to form.


According to an article in The New York Times Magazine written by Michael Pollan, impatiens are now used too often in gardens across the United States. Although many gardeners love this easy to grow plant, to create a more unique garden, use impatiens sparingly.

Are Impatiens Safe for a Cat to Be Around?

Impatiens are one of the majority of plants that are safe for cats and other animals. It is a nontoxic plant that can survive in shady spots as well as in containers.

How to Care for Double Impatiens Flowers

Choose a location with good drainage. Double impatiens love shade but will tolerate filtered light for a stretch of up to four hours in the morning, if it is not direct. Harsh, direct sunlight and heat are the enemy of these tender plants.

Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil and work until well incorporated. Fertilizer applied before planting will gradually feed plants over a longer period of time, promoting annual blooms throughout the season.

Allow double impatiens starts to harden, or acclimate, to the outdoor location you choose before planting. Set starts in the shade and then into filtered sunlight for short visits over a period of several days.

Plant double impatiens 8 to 10 inches apart to allow for mature growth. Taller species might require up to 18 inches between plants to reduce a leggy or spindly tendency because of crowding.

Water well after planting. Double impatiens often require weekly watering in dry or hot weather.

Pinch off double impatiens plants that are growing tall and spindly looking. This will create a bunchier plant with more blooms.

How to Cut Back Impatiens for Flowering

Monitor the growth of your impatiens after you place the plants in the soil. They can start to look shaggy after a few weeks of rapid growth.

Use a pruning shears to cut back the stems of the plants. Cut them to about 3 inches above the base of the plants.

Watch for the impatiens to respond within one or two weeks. They will produce vigorous, bushy shoots. This happens because plants have buds all along the stems. When you cut back the stems severely, the remaining buds will shoot forth with growth.

Remove any leaves or blossoms that do not fall by themselves to keep the impatiens looking neat and attractive.

Impatiens Fast Facts

Impatiens are native to Eastern Africa and prolific throughout North America. The name is derived from Latin in reference to the way they shoot out seeds when the seed pods open.


There are between 850-1,000 varieties of Impatiens that are grown all over North America. Most are annuals, producing flowers from early June until the first frost. In milder climates, there are also perennial varieties that flower all year long.


Impatiens can grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall. They are usually bought as transplants, but if seeds are used, start indoors 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost.


Impatiens thrive in partial to full shade with moist, well-drained soil. They are ideal plants to use in shade gardens, pots, and borders.

Cuttings from existing impatiens can be rooted in water or soil if placed in a warm, sunny spot to overwinter. In warmer climates, impatiens can grow tall and spindly so take care to choose varieties that are more compact.

Fun Fact

Impatiens played a starring role in Epcot’s 16th Annual Flower and Garden Festival. Their multicolored hues were showcased in 100 floating mini gardens in Epcot’s ponds.

How to Grow Impatiens Under Pine Trees

Dig a hole under the pine tree using a garden shovel or trowel. Make the hole as deep as the root ball of the impatiens plant.

Spread 3 inches of a slow-release fertilizer evenly across the bottom of the hole.

Remove the impatiens from the container and place it in the hole.

Fill the spaces around the impatiens’ roots with garden soil. Add 2 inches of water, or water until the soil is moist throughout. Space the next impatiens 18 inches away for tall-growing impatiens and 8 inches away for compact impatiens.

Fertilize impatiens every month with a water-soluble fertilizer, as the impatiens’ roots compete with the pine trees’ roots for nutrients.

Continue to add 2 inches of water to the impatiens each week. Check the soil after rainfall to ensure enough water reached the impatiens through the pine tree branches.

How to Fertilize New Guinea Impatiens

Fertilize the New Guinea impatien for the first time three weeks after planting, and use the fertilizer solution in place of water every third watering.

Water the New Guinea impatien bed until moist if the soil is dry. Allow the water to drain completely. The soil should be moist, but not saturated when you fertilize, so you may need to allow three to four hours for the soil to drain.

Fill the garden sprayer with a mixture of water and 10-20-10 fertilizer with minor elements at the lowest rate recommended on the fertilizer package.

Spray the soil around the New Guinea impatiens until saturated, as well as the plant’s foliage.

Are Balsam Impatiens Perennial Flowers?

Balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina), commonly called balsam or touch-me-not, is an annual plant, not a perennial. It grows in full sun to shade, with plants in USDA zones 8 and above needing more shade.

Propagating New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea impatiens are the perfect flowers to choose for shaded areas of your landscaping. They will add an explosion of color in these areas from early summer to fall. One of the many wonderful things about new guinea impatiens is that they are very easy to care for and do not require a lot of maintenance. They will thrive as a potted plant and directly sown into the soil. However, they will not tolerate frost very well as they are very sensitive to any type of cold weather. Propagating new guinea impatiens is a good way to keep new flowers growing throughout the winter for spring sowing. There are a few different ways to propagate your new guinea impatiens.


Taking a cutting of the impatiens in the fall will keep the flower growing throughout the winter inside your home. They will do quite well in the home where it is warm as long as they can receive some sunlight during the day.

Cut the stem of the new guinea impatiens about 4 to 6 inches below the bloom. You can use regular scissors for this as the stem is not stiff or hard. It is quite soft and can even be broken by hand. The need for a clean cut is not necessary with your impatiens. Remove all the leaves on the bottom of the cutting and any buds or blooms. By doing so, you are helping the plant conserve its energy and put it towards making roots.

Place cutting in a jar of water and do not let any leaves touch the water. Place it on a windowsill that will receive some sunlight during the day. Keep watch on the jar each day until you see roots forming. It will take a few days for this to happen. Once the roots have formed, place the new guinea impatiens in a pot full of potting soil. Place it on the windowsill and water regularly.


If you do not take any cuttings of the flower in the fall, you can propagate through seed in the winter. Start the seed about 6 weeks before the frost leaves the ground.

Place the seed in a small plastic container with about ¼ inch of water. Place a thin plastic cover over the container and place in a warm area that has some sun. Watch until the seed begins to sprout.

As the seed sprouts, move the seedling to a small pot with soil in it. Form a small hole with your finger in the middle of the pot and place the seedling in it. Cover over lightly and mist with water. Place the pot where it will receive filtered sunlight. After a few weeks, you should see a small impatiens forming. When the frost leaves the ground, you can sow the flower into the soil in your garden. If you want to keep the flower inside, just transplant to a new pot or window planter. Your impatiens will grow quite nicely and supply you with great looking blooms throughout the season.

Growing from Cuttings

  • Preferably take cuttings in the early morning while it’s cool. Select tip pieces that are at least 10cm long and with a minimum of two sets of leaves. If you can’t treat them straight away, wrap them in paper and put into the refrigerator until you’re ready to start.
  • Remove bottom leaves and cut just below the node (the spot where the bottom leaf or leaves were attached to the stem).
    If the leaves are large it may be better to reduce their size by cutting them in half. The bigger the leaf, the more water it will allow to escape from the plant.
  • Use the knife or blade to scrape down the side at the base of the stem for about the last centimetre. This will form a ‘wounded’ area where roots are more likely to develop.
  • Dip the base of the cutting into water and then into a small amount of Yates Cutting Powder. Shake off the excess. If preferred, use Clonex Hormone Gel. With the pencil, dibble a small hole into the top of the Yates Seed Raising Mix in the pot.
  • Insert the cutting into the hole and gently firm the mix to hold it upright.
  • Put a number of cuttings into the one pot.
  • Water with a gentle spray.
  • Label with the plant name and date.
  • Next spray over the cuttings with Yates Waterwise DroughtShield. This will coat the plant material in a clear polymer film that will cut down on water loss.
  • Place the pot into a Yates Mini Greenhouse or, at the very least, cover it with a plastic bag to retain moisture.
  • Put the greenhouse into a bright shaded spot and check regularly to see that the mix is still moist. Water gently if necessary.
  • After about 6-8 weeks ease out one of the cuttings to see if roots have formed on the base. After they have, each cutting can be transplanted into an individual pot and fed with some Yates Thrive soluble Plant Food.

Impatiens Bounce and SunPatiens

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How To Grow Impatiens

Impatiens walleriana

Impatiens are one of the easiest flowers to grow, only coming in second to Petunias. They are often referred to as “Touch Me Nots” because when you touch the seed pods they explode spreading seeds in every direction. There are approximately 1,000 different species of Impatiens. But, there are only two varieties that are widely available, Impatiens balsamina and Impatiens walleriana.

Impatiens can be planted in almost any area in the garden which makes them a very popular flower. Depending on the variety you choose, Impatiens can thrive in either sun or shade. They are an excellent choice for hanging baskets. And, are often used as an edging around porches, decks, sidewalks and trees. While they are easy to care for, they do still need some basic care.

There are several different varieties available that grow from 8 inches in height up to two feet tall. They come in a wide selection of colors including pink, red, white, orange and violet. They are also available in a combination of two colors, such as pink and white. Impatiens are classified into three types, solo, partially doubled and doubled. Some varieties have flowers that are flat, while others very closely resemble roses.

Impatiens balsamina

One of the most important factors in growing beautiful lush Impatiens is water. Too much water and too little water are both deadly to the plant. The key is to keep the soil moist without allowing the plants roots to stand in water. These flowers have soft stems which will wilt very quickly if they don’t get enough water. However, make sure the soil has good drainage to keep the roots from rotting and black fungus from developing.

If you plant your Impatiens in the shade, they will require less water than if they are in the sun. Because they do wilt quickly, your plant can literally tell you that it’s not getting enough water. In hot, humid conditions, they may need a moderate amount of water on a daily basis. If the plants are used as an edging for larger plants they will need more water and fertilizer to compensate for what is absorbed by the larger plants.

Impatiens can easily be grown in pots or hanging baskets, but they will need a little more attention. The soil in baskets and pots dries out rapidly especially on hot days. You can test the soil by inserting your finger into the dirt about 2 inches. Water only when the soil is dry at that depth. To be safe, you should check your basket or pot every other day until you get a good idea of how quickly the soil is drying out.

Standard potting soil isn’t a good choice for Impatiens. It’s generally very dense and won’t allow for good drainage. Choose a potting soil that is classified as a “Pro Mix” or “Nursery Mix”. These types of potting soils are light and airy and will provide better drainage. They are also disease free and can keep your flowers healthier.

Like any other plant, Impatiens need fertilizer to grow strong and lush. A high quality general purpose plant food will work fine. If your plants are in the yard, fertilize them about once each month. But, if they are in hanging baskets or pots, they will require a good fertilizer every two weeks. You can also use plant food spikes to supply fertilizer every time you water.

Although Impatiens can grow in partial shade, full shade, or in the sun, full sun for 8 hours can quickly kill these tender plants. A few hours of sun each day is much better than all day sun. If you do want to plant them in an area with full sun, they will need to be allowed to adapt gradually. You can easily do this by exposing them to longer periods of direct sun over the period of a week.

You can easily grow Impatiens from seed. You can start the seeds a few weeks before the last frost and then transplant the young seedlings outdoors, or into a container. Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt, keep them moist and warm. You can also propagate Impatiens from stem cuttings. The cuttings need to be around 3 to 4 inches long and should be potted in moist sand or peat moss until roots form.

To prevent diseases and fungus never allow the soil to be soaked for any length of time. Providing proper drainage is the best form of prevention for plant problems. Always remove any dead blooms, leaves or stems which will rot and increase the chances of diseases and fungus. Impatiens are tender plants that are very susceptible to frost. So, if you want to keep them longer, make sure you bring them indoors before it frosts.

To properly plant Impatiens dig a hole that is approximately the same size as the root ball. You want the plant to sit in the ground, or pot at the same level it was at in the pot you purchased it in. You can place the plants as close or far apart as you’d like. However, if you plant them close together they will quickly create a beautiful border.

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2010

Posted by Kevin Espiritu on Nov 18, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

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