Impatiens flowers are versatile with many gardeners growing impatiens in hanging baskets, containers and borders. Sometimes known as busy lizzies, these helpful plants will give you summer-long color, even in the shade.
Although some varieties are tender perennials, most are grown as annuals.
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Sow your impatiens seeds in early spring. Fill a seed tray with your own sieved compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Water lightly before sowing the seeds. Sprinkle seeds lightly on the compost then cover with another fine layer.
Place in a cold frame or on a windowsill. Once true leaves emerge, prick out into modules to allow each plant to grow its own root system. Harden plants off as the temperature warms up towards the end of spring.
Impatiens can also be grown from softwood cuttings. Take these in spring or summer to overwinter. Cut off shoots about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Remove all the leaves apart from those at the tip. Push the shoot into compost so that just the leaves are left resting on the top. Keep them moist while the roots develop.
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Standard flower watering guidelines apply. Feed impatiens weekly with an organic seaweed liquid fertilizer and add organic matter to the soil as a mulch in early summer to improve the soil throughout the season.
Pinching out the tips when the plant is beginning to grow helps to increase the number of blooms. Deadhead flowers throughout the season for a long show of color.
It is possible to bring impatiens plants indoors to overwinter if they are planted in pots. Before overwintering, pinch stems out to a third of their original height.
For cut flowers, choose stems from impatiens that will still leave you with a good overall plant shape. Cut with sharp secateurs and remove lower leaves before putting in water.
Watch out for molds if conditions are damp or plants get overcrowded. Pinch out any leaves that look affected. And don’t worry… these should soon be replaced with fresh growth.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Impatiens (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
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