Botanical Name: Impatiens walleriana hybrids
Growing impatiens flowers in containers allows you to enjoy a profusion of bright blooms just about anywhere. Brighten up a kitchen windowsill, sunroom or patio with these constant-blooming flowers.
Impatiens flowers are typically flat, with 5 petals and a prominent eye. You'll find them in a wide range of colors: pink, red, salmon, lavender, white and bicolors. Some varieties have double flowers that look like mini roses. Soft, oval leaves are held on succulent stems.
Few flowers? 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. If you don't have space near a sunny window, you can move your plant outdoors. Just keep it shaded from hot, direct sun in summer.
Water regularly. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Flowering plants are thirsty, and they dry out quickly in containers, so check them often. Impatiens flowers will quickly wilt if they are allowed to dry out.
Deadhead spent blooms. Remove flowers as soon as they fade to keep plants looking their best and to encourage more blooms.
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 soggy soil, which can cause root rot.
Origin: South Asia, East Africa and New Guinea
Height: Up to 15 in (38 cm)
Light: Bright light; no direct sun in summer.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist, not soggy.
Humidity: Moderate humidity. 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, or any that's non-acidic.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly in spring and summer with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Too much fertilizer promotes leafy growth and few flowers.
Propagation: Take 4 inch (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. They'll root easily in water or moist soil. Sow seeds in spring or early summer.
Growing impatiens outdoors for the summer?
Before you bring them inside, check the plants for spider mites. They may invade this plant if the humidity is low.
Impatiens are sometimes called Busy Lizzy, Patient Lucy and Touch-Me-Not.
Among the most popular flowers for shade, you'll find impatiens for sale in garden centers in spring and summer. Many varieties are available. Look for the Elfin and Dwarf varieties -- they're compact, making them attractive house plants.
New Guinea impatiens (I. x hawkeri) have a shrubby habit and big flowers. Part of the attraction with New Guinea hybrids is the foliage: those bold, lance-shaped leaves are often tinged with bronze or splashed with bright green or yellow.
Check out the stylish self-watering pots available now. They not only cut back on your watering chores, these time-saving pots will prevent your impatiens from wilting.