Gardeners have long loved impatiens for their ability to provide colorful flowers in shady places. In the 1970s, New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) were introduced to U.S. gardeners, and while early varieties weren’t initially beloved, this plant has become a staple in many gardens now. They’re usually grown as annuals, planted in the spring in northern areas and year-round in frost-free zones. Their colors include reds, pinks, oranges, and white. The foliage of New Guinea Impatiens is dark green and nearly purple on the undersides, making it attractive on its own. They blooms constantly and require little maintenance. Here’s what you need to know to grow them.
Growing New Guinea Impatiens
Light. Like other impatiens, New Guineas don’t enjoy too much sun. They’re more sun-tolerant than other varieties, but they prefer bright light to direct sun. If anything, give them full sun in the morning (no more than 4 – 6 hours) and then shade in the afternoon. Any more and the leaves will burn and flowering will all but cease.
Water. New Guinea Impatiens need regular watering. They like moist soil, though not soggy roots. Ensure their soil, whether in the ground or in a pot, drains freely. These are plants that will wilt quickly when they don’t receive enough water, though they’ll usually recover if watered soon. Drip irrigation is a good way to keep these plants consistently moist without over-watering.
Temperature. Daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s F are ideal for these bloomers. Cooler nights are fine, but if temperatures drop below 45 F, they will start to suffer.
Problems. In the past few years, impatiens downy mildew has caused problems in the United States, and New Guinea Impatiens are susceptible to this disease, although some note they are more resistant. They may also be troubled by root rot, fungal disease, and aphids. However, most gardeners find these plants to be easy-care and trouble-free.
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