Impatiens is one of the most popular plants for its prolific flowers and ease in growing. The diversity in these plants can be seen from its bright green leaves to enormous number of colours, from nearly blue to deepest red, pink white, orange, striped, speckled.
- Botanical names: Impatiens balsamina, Impatiens balfourii, Impatiens denisonii
- Varieties: pink, red, mauve, lilac, or white
- Design Ideas: They can be decorated in flower beds, plant containers and also looks great in hanging containers.
Impatiens is a genus of about 850 to 1000 species of flowering plants widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is a beautiful annual or perennial that makes an excellent houseplant or summer bedding plant. The annual species produce flowers from early summer while perennial species, found in milder climates can flower all year.
- Life-Cycle: They are generally annuals, a few perennial varieties do exist.
- Height: 6 inches to 2 feet
- Width/Spread: 12 to 18 inches
- Flowering season: spring
- Flower: The flowersare pink, red, mauve or white, 2-5 cm in diameter, with five petals. They are present in variety of colours in single or double blooms.
- Foliage: Alternative, upper leaves sometimes opposite; green or reddish green on both surfaces.
- Sunlight: full sun- around 6-8 hours of direct exposure to sunlight.
It can be grown indoors and requires moderate light, well-drained potting soiland good air circulation for germination and growth.
- Water: regularly- whenever top-soil turns dry. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, to avoid rot and fungal-diseases due to over-watering.
- Sowing season: early summer to frost
- Sowing method: Impatiens are mostly of annual types that are fairly easy to grow from seeds. They are always best to grow by seeds than by cuttings as it is a little difficult to root. The soil temperature should be 70 F (21 C) and air temperature 75 F (24 C) for good germination.
Care: Impatiens are best grown in rich soil with good drainage. Water the plants regularly to keep the soil moist but be careful not to overwater them. Also a layer of mulch over the soil is good to maintain optimum moisture levels. Perennial impatiens will require an application of compost or other fertilizer as compared to the annual varieties.
Pests: The pests that are harmful for impatiens are mites, thrips, aphids and white files. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of infestations by these pests and keep them under control. They are found on the undersides of leaves and are most prevalent in warm, dry conditions.
Harvest: Impatiens spread their seeds as their pods burst open seeds. These seeds can be collected but requires beforehand preparation to ensure the seeds aren’t lost in the garden bed. The seeds can be acquired at any time when the plants are flowering and the seed pods are forming.
• By seeds: The seeds should be sowed in a well-drained soil.The compost should be moist but not wet. The soil should be firmed over seed and mist sprayed occasionally to moisten it. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks and requires a warm soil and light to germinate. The soil temperature needs to be maintained in order to protect the seeds from rotting during the germination period.
• By cuttings: The cuttings taken from the terminal growth can also be used to propagate Impatiens. Impatiens cuttings can be inserted in planting trays or pots filled with potting soil. Water the cuttings generously and set them in bright, indirect light. The rootings can take from a couple weeks to a month to appear. Once rooted, the plants can be transferred to their desired location.