- How to Help Impatiens That Are Not Blooming
- Impatiens Won’t Bloom: Reasons For No Flowers On Impatiens Plant
- Why Won’t My Impatiens Bloom?
- 7 Ways to Improve Impatiens Blooms
- Impatiens Are Easy to Grow and Fast Blooming Flowers
- Impatiens in Containers
- Shade Friendly Flowers
- Hybrid Impatiens Can Tolerate Sunny Gardens
- How to Care for Impatiens
- Impatiens Problems: Common Impatiens Diseases And Pests
- Environmental and Cultural Impatiens Problems
- Pest on Impatiens
- Impatiens Flowers Disease
How to Help Impatiens That Are Not Blooming
You purchased a flat of gorgeous, carefree impatiens for your early spring garden in hopes of bushy, colorful blooms throughout the spring and early summer. However, your dreams are dashed when you start your watering rounds one morning and realize your impatiens have stopped blooming. Don’t despair or throw out those temperamental beauties just yet. Impatiens, fortunately, are America’s premier annual bedding plant due to their ability to continuously bloom with little care. Chances are that a quick care adjustment will set those pretty plants back to rights in no time.
Provide adequate shade for impatiens plants. Some new hybrids are being sold as full-sun compatible, but for most impatiens species part to full shade will provide best blooming results. In direct, harsh sunlight, your impatiens will likely reduce or cease blooming, and possibly drop flowers and leaves altogether. Try moving your sparsely flowered plant to a more protected location.
Avoid over watering, which causes stress and ultimately decreases blooms. Severely water-logged soil may provide ideal conditions for root rot or other water-friendly diseases. One cue that the plant is taking in too much moisture is a red tinge to the foliage. Alternately, check to ensure that soil is moist and never allowed to completely dry out. Lack of water may also cause bloom reduction.
Fertilize every two weeks to provide food for blooms. Without regular fertilization, annual plants like impatiens will likely produce a smaller bloom count than desired. Balanced liquid or slow-release fertilizers are both good options. Take care to follow manufacturer recommendations. Over fertilization may burn or damage a plant.
Check the plant for disease or insect infestations. Bugs, such as aphids and thrips, or fungal disease may attack any annual species. A steady spray of water to the foliage may loosen the bugs and larvae from the pant. Occasionally, a fungicide may be advisable for serious fungal outbreak, but follow manufacturer instructions carefully and use on annuals as a last resort.
Prune to encourage new growth if blooms remain elusive. Although impatiens are popular specifically for their ability to bloom and re-bloom without deadheading old flowers, cutting a bushy plant back may encourage a flush of new blooms in subsequent weeks. Pruning dead or diseased foliage also will encourage healthy growth and blooms. Just be sure to sterilize tools in a solution of equal parts bleach and water to avoid spreading contamination.
Ask local garden experts, at garden centers or university extension offices, for regional and cultivar specific information. Climate, blights or infestations, and local weather trends may be the cause of bloom cessation. Experts who live in your area may provide specific suggestions based on what other gardeners in your area are experiencing with similar plants or problems.
Impatiens Won’t Bloom: Reasons For No Flowers On Impatiens Plant
Impatiens plants are great bedding and container flowers that ought to bloom reliably all summer long. They’re an old standby for bright, full color. That’s why it can be especially frustrating if your plants stop blooming or never even start. Keep reading to learn more about why impatiens won’t bloom.
Why Won’t My Impatiens Bloom?
Of all the possible reasons impatiens are not blooming, one of the most common is improper sun exposure. Impatiens plants bloom best with some shade, a requirement that often leads to misunderstanding. While some impatiens bloom well in full shade, for the most part they’ll perform better with at least some sun. On the other hand, too much sun will cut down on blooming, too. Avoid planting your impatiens in full sun. If you have them in full shade and they’re not blooming well, try moving them to a spot that gets a few hours of good afternoon sun exposure.
Another common cause of no flowers on impatiens is improper watering. If the roots of impatiens plants get waterlogged, the flowers will tend to drop off and the foliage will take on a red tinge. If you see this, cut back on your watering. Don’t cut back too far, though. You never want your soil to dry out completely.
If your impatiens won’t bloom, it may also be due to over fertilization. A lot of fertilizers are high in nitrogen, which is great for foliage growth but bad for flower production. If you’ve been fertilizing heavily with nitrogen, stop feeding and give the plant a chance to balance its nutrients back out.
Overzealous pruning may also be the cause for an impatiens with no flowers. Impatiens plants benefit from deadheading, but if you’re cutting back whole stems, you might accidentally be removing flower buds before they get a chance to open. On the other hand, if your impatiens plant is long and leggy and you don’t see lots of buds, pruning the stems back is actually a good option for encouraging new, bushier growth with new blossoms.
7 Ways to Improve Impatiens Blooms
One of the ways to quickly fill in a bare flower garden is by planting impatiens. They provide a large amount of beautiful blooms quickly and will stay that way as long as you take care of them. A wonderful flower, impatiens provide a great deal of color in shady conditions. Impatiens are also a hardy plant that can grow anywhere. They are a low-growing plant that do not typically reach more than 10 to 12 inches in height. They come in a wide variety of colors from white to purple, and even yellow. The key factor to the beauty of this species of flower is the blooms. Keeping them throughout the season is something you should be paying attention to. This can be done with a few simple steps.
1. Keep Watered
Impatiens love water. They will thrive when they are kept in a moist environment. Keeping the blooms rich, vibrant, and very bright requires moisture in the soil.
2. Impatiens Love Shade
Impatiens do very well in shady areas. They will bloom in direct sun (if watered regularly), but love to be in the shade.
3. Enrich Soil with Humus
Keeping blooms all summer takes a lot of energy. That means the impatiens need to be in soil that is rich with nutrients. While you can do this with fertilizers, using organic material such as humus will provide incredible boost in in the soil.
4. Pinch Back Blooms
The process of pinching back gives the plant more energy to focus on growing new blooms. Pinching back the plant will keep the plant shorter, thus giving it room to fill in. New blooms will sprout from new buds and give your impatiens a much fuller look.
5. Reapply Fertilizer
Using a water soluble fertilizer a few times during the summer months will also give your impatiens a boost in providing large, colorful blooms. You do not want to do this every week when you water the flowers. However, it should be done every third or fourth watering.
6. Prune Off Top Third of Plant
When you get late into the season and begin to see that the plant starts to look a little weak, or the blooms are beginning to get a little dull, it is time to prune it back. Using some shears, take off the top third of the plants that have already been in bloom. Do not worry about the loss of the plant. This is a necessary step to reinvigorate, and stimulate, new growth in the impatiens. You will notice that new blooms will spring out and be much more colorful.
7. Prepare for Next Planting Season
Once the blooming season is over for the year, tear out the old plants and put them into a compost bin. When the spring comes around, you can use this organic material mixed in with the soil. The new impatiens plants sown in the spring will get a tremendous boost in growing energy for brilliant blooms quickly.
Impatiens Are Easy to Grow and Fast Blooming Flowers
Pots of white impatiens set in a shady corner brighten it with hundreds of blooms.
To beginning gardeners, planting impatiens can be a great confidence builder. Inexpensive transplants set out in spring and early summer grow to be knee-high mounds of showy flowers in a rainbow of colors by summer’s end.
Impatiens in Containers
Just as important, impatiens make excellent container plants. Placed in pots, they can brighten an entrance, deck, or patio. Set out white impatiens around these high-traffic areas where they may be enjoyed during the day; at night, their flowers will glow like little stars. Try impatiens in window boxes and hanging baskets, where they’ll cascade over the edges in brilliant waves.
Shade Friendly Flowers
Known as shade lovers, traditional impatiens can take some sun when given enough water. Their stems are liquid-filled vessels, and plants wilt when low on water, making it easy to tell when they need a drink. Maintaining evenly moist soil at all times is key to keeping plants happy and stress free.
Hybrid Impatiens Can Tolerate Sunny Gardens
For nonstop color in a sunny garden, try the New Guinea Hybrid impatiens that tolerate bright light. Unlike the traditional kind, they’re grown more for their colorful foliage than their flowers. Large, lance-shaped leaves may be bronze, purple, or green and splashed with cream, white, yellow, or red. Their flowers are nothing to sneeze at, however. They’re larger than those of their cousins (up to 2½ inches wide) and come in many striking colors. But plants don’t bloom as heavily, especially during very hot stretches in summer.
How to Care for Impatiens
- Traditional impatiens often grow tall and leggy by midsummer. If yours do, pinch them back by 4 or 5 inches. Plants quickly respond with a new flush of growth and are more compact and covered with blooms that can take you to the first frost.
- What they like: Shade or partial shade, moist soil. Feed every two weeks with a 20-20-20 fertilizer.
“Impatiens Can‘t Wait” is from the Southern Living’s Container Gardening.
Impatiens Problems: Common Impatiens Diseases And Pests
While impatiens plants are normally trouble-free, problems do occasionally develop. Therefore, taking preventative measures beforehand by providing appropriate conditions and being aware of the most common problems with impatiens flowers is crucial.
Environmental and Cultural Impatiens Problems
One of the most common problems with impatiens flowers is wilting. This is usually due to moisture stress. These plants need to be kept consistently moist, but not soggy. Water stress can also cause leaf and flower/bud drop.
In addition to watering, wilting can be a result of heat stress, especially if the plants are in too much sun. If feasible, they should be moved or grown in a shadier location.
Other impatiens problems are due to fertilization. Although they require little in the way of fertilizer each spring, not enough may lead to mottled looking foliage. On the other hand, too much nitrogen can cause excessive growth and little to no blooms. If non-blooming is an issue, this is
usually the problem. Adding phosphorus to the soil should help correct the issue and encourage blooming.
Pest on Impatiens
There are many pests that can affect impatiens flowers. Spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and thrips are common and usually result in curled, distorted, or discolored leaves. Thrips will generally attack the flowers/buds of plants and may carry a virus that affects these annuals.
Another pest on impatiens is the tarnished plant bug, which can lead to dwarfed and deformed flowers.
When plants become wilted, begin dying, and appear to be cut at the stems, it’s likely due to cutworms.
Neem oil is a safe and effective treatment for the majority of pest problems.
Nematodes also attack these plants, which will look sickly, stunted and wilted. Foliage may also turn yellow or bronze colored and will slowly die. Plants need to be removed as well as the surrounding soil where these pests dwell. Solarizing plant beds and applying diluted fish emulsion when replanting will help keep them away.
Impatiens Flowers Disease
There are several impatiens diseases, including fungal blights and rots, viruses, and bacterial wilt. Most fungal issues are a result of wet foliage or overcrowding. Leaf spots and rotting can signal fungal problems. Avoiding wet foliage and ensuring adequate spacing can help. Neem oil can also help treat fungal issues.
Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) can be a serious impatiens flowers disease that is brought about by thrips. Also common is bacterial wilt, which is recognized by sudden wilting and collapse of plants, as well as oozing of stems when cut. Plants will eventually rot to the soil line and must be removed and discarded.
Impatiens used to be our favorite and best-selling annual flower.
They bloomed like crazy, flowered reliably even in deep shade, and were cheap, too.
Then a disease swooped in midway through the 2012 growing season – wilting and defoliating almost everyone’s impatiens in a matter of weeks.
Because the disease, known as downy mildew, overwinters in the soil, impatiens sales collapsed and sent gardeners scrambling for other shade-performing summer flowers.
This grayish coating on the leaf undersides is a tell-tale sign of downy mildew infecting impatiens.
It also sent breeders scrambling to overcome the problem, ideally with new impatiens that are naturally resistant to downy mildew.
Seven years of research and trials later, Syngenta Flowers this spring is introducing a new series of old-fashioned impatiens called Imara XDR that’s highly resistant to downy mildew.
PanAmerican Seed is right behind with its own mildew-resistant impatiens line called Beacon, which is debuting in a few parts of the country this year and being rolled out widely next spring.
Growers and researchers who have tried these two independently say they’re good enough to put impatiens back on the map.
Margery Daughtrey, a Cornell University plant pathologist, was convinced when she tried Imara XDR alongside older impatiens in 2017 and 2018 on Long Island, New York.
Imara impatiens, top row, kept blooming in side-by-side trials while older impatiens, lower row, died from downy mildew disease.
Both sets of plants were planted among mildew-infected impatiens and watered overhead twice a day to encourage the disease.
“The older cultivars of impatiens developed yellow leaves, and the undersurfaces of the foliage were coated with spores of downy mildew,” she says. “Disease became more and more severe until the leaves fell off, reducing the plants to mere stems.”
Meanwhile, the Imara XDR plants kept chugging along. “Growing right beside them, the Imara XDR impatiens retained their flowers, almost all of their leaves, and remained attractive for the entire trial period,” Daughtrey says.
She adds that Beacon impatiens did similarly well in Cornell trials last year.
Kathy Beam, a grower at Quality Greenhouses near Dillsburg, says Imara XDR “performed really well” in local trials. “We’re very pleased.”
She rates Imara XDR as her favorite new annual of 2019.
Quality is growing them in six-packs, which means they should be available in greenhouses and garden centers next month.
The prices might be a little higher than similar-sized annuals in an effort to recoup breeding expenses, but they should be less expensive than some of the recent shade-flower alternatives.
Up until now, growers have been offering hybrids between old-fashioned impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) and New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri).
Many gardeners switched to these hybrid SunPatiens because of their resistance to downy mildew disease.
Two of the best, SunPatiens and Bounce, are excellent performers, but they generally come in larger pots at about twice the price of old-fashioned impatiens six-packs.
Straight New Guinea impatiens – which are naturally mildew-resistant, more upright, and a bit trickier to grow than old-fashioned impatiens – also generally are sold in single-plant, four-inch pots for $3 to $4 per plant.
Seed-grown Divine impatiens are New Guinea types selling in six-packs at about the same price as other six-pack annuals.
Otherwise, gardeners have skipped impatiens altogether and opted for other shade-tolerant species, such as coleus, begonias, browallia, and torenia.
In the last two summers, though, local gardeners have reported success again with some of the old-fashioned, mildew-prone impatiens.
Daughtrey says a big reason for that is that so many people got away from mass-planting impatiens, meaning there are far fewer plants in the landscape to hand off the disease.
Growers also have been using longer-acting fungicides during production.
“The disease is certainly still a threat,” says Daughtrey. “It lingers in the soil in flower beds in a special resting spore called an oospore. Those thinking all danger is past are being overly optimistic.”
These old-fashioned impatiens grew last season without being infected… but that doesn’t mean the downy mildew disease is gone for good.
She says gardeners will be “safer” growing Imara XDR or Beacon, but she still recommends against going back to planting large masses of just those. “Plant pathologists have a real horror of any monoculture,” Daughtrey says. “Large expanses of any one plant are an invitation for an insect invasion or disease to have a significant impact on a garden. It’s better policy to use mixtures of plant species in the garden so that the landscape is not totally dependent on the success of one particular species.”
In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Sinclair Adam, director of the Penn State Trial Gardens in Lancaster County, says gardeners might have a decent shot of success with the older impatiens if they haven’t grown any in the last three years or haven’t had downy mildew since then.
“What always worries me,” he adds, “is the proximity to jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). This shows the injury less than with Impatiens walleriana, so folks may not realize the streambank behind their house has downy mildew all over it. Spores could get into the garden beds readily.”
He adds that the related old-fashioned annual called balsam, best known for its exploding seed heads, is a mildew-tolerant, impatiens-family plant that also can infect Impatiens walleriana.
Imara XDR will debut in seven versions – Orange, Orange Star, Red, Rose, Violet, and White, plus a mix. They grow about 12 inches tall and perform best in shade to part sun.
Beacon will debut next spring in six colors – Red, Violet, Salmon, Coral, Orange, and White. These grow 10 to 12 inches tall.