Classic almost care free summer annual. Beautiful full clusters of flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds love.

Basic Facts About Impatiens October 30, 2008

   Basic Facts About Impatiens   

Richard K. Zimmerman
WVU Extension Service
Plant Sciences & Conservation Specialist Family: Balsaminaceae–Balsam family
Scientific Name: Impatiens wallerana                           
Origin: Tanzania to Mozambique
Classification: Annual, houseplant
Use: Hanging basket, bedding, pot culture, window boxes
Height: 9 to 30 inches
Spread: 9 to 30 inches
Hardiness: Indoors 50oF to 55oF (10oC to 13oC); outdoors until frost
Flowers: Early summer to fall; solitary in racemes on terminal and axillary shoots; up to 2½ inches in diameter; solid colors of white, pink, salmon, purple, orange or red, and many bicolor; single, double and semi-double; numerous
Fruit: Capsule, ¾ inch long, glabrous
Stems (Bark): Herbaceous, fleshy, green
Foliage: Alternative, upper leaves sometimes opposite; lanceolate-ovate; green or reddish green on both surfaces
Texture: Fine to medium
Growth Rate: Rapid
Form: Spreading, rounded, flat topped
Insects & Diseases: Scale, spider mites, aphids; damping off
Propagation: Seed sown indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last occurrence of frost (late February to mid-March); give bright light but not direct sun; artificial lights, such as Grow Lamps, should be used–place 6 to 12 inches above the flats for 12 to 14 hours a day; soil temperature should be 70oF (21oC) and air temperature 75oF (24oC) for good germination; seed should germinate in one to two weeks; grow plants at 58oF (14.4oC) to 60oF (15.5oC); cuttings, anytime, place in sand and mist or enclose in a polyethylene plastic bag.
Varieties: Many varieties and series introduced each year with varying colors and sizes.

Dwarf forms: 8 to 10 inches tall, compact, 12-inch spacing; many colors; series includes Elfin, Elfin Improved; Elfin Improved bloom earlier and more profusely.

Semi-dwarf forms: 10 to 12 inches tall, flowers 1 to 2 inches across; spacing 14 inches, solid and bicolored blooms; series includes Duet, Fantasia, Futura, Minette, Novette, Ripple (star pattern in blooms), Rosette (blooms like a miniature rose), and Twinkle.

Tall forms: 12 to 14 inches tall, flowers 1½ to 2 inches across; solid and bicolors; spacing 18 inches; series includes Grande, Blitz, Stars and Stripes, Tangelow and Treasure; New Guinea-Indonesian hybrids have leaves with red or yellow markings and variegations, to 24 inches tall; good for pot culture.

Related Species: Impatiens balsamina–Garden Balsam or Rose Balsam; annual to 2½ feet; flowers axillary, close to stem, 2 inches across, many colors, some spotted.
Remarks: May be called Balsam, Sultana, Touch-Me-Not, Snap Weed, Jewel Weed, Busy Lizzy, Patient Lucy, Patience Plant or Zanzibar Balsam; may be listed as Impatiens sultana or Impatiens holstii; stems and leaves reported to be toxic.

Indoor Culture

Soil Requirement: All-purpose soil composed of two parts garden loam, one part leaf mold or peatmoss and one part coarse sand; soil must be well drained.
Maintenance: Keep moist but not wet, barely moist in winter, use water that is room temperature, it is best to let water stand overnight before using; fertilize every two weeks with a houseplant fertilizer at one-half recommended rate, reduce fertilization in winter; ideal temperatures are 50oF to 55oF (10oC to 13oC) at night and 65oF to 70oF (18oC to 21oC) during the day; repot anytime as necessary.
Situation: Bright light, 4000 to 8000 foot-candles (southern or western window), will tolerate 500 to 2000 foot-candles (northern or eastern window).

Outdoor Culture

Soil Requirements: Slightly acid to neutral, good garden loam rich in organic matter such as leaf mold or compost with liberal amounts of coarse sand for good drainage.
Maintenance: Keep moist but not wet; fertilize every two weeks with a general fertilizer; plant out-of-doors after danger of frost has passed.
Situation: Sun or partial shade