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.
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.
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.
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.