Grow New Guinea Impatiens for Color in Shade

Updated: May 25, 2022

Bright blooms set off by distinctive foliage make New Guinea impatiens ideal for any garden. Plus they can be grown in containers!

Add New Guinea Impatiens to Shade Gardens

Bright pink impatiens hawkeri, the New Guinea impatiens, in bloomJeanne Emmel/Getty Images
New Guinea impatiens in bloom

Gardeners have long loved impatiens for their ability to provide colorful flowers in shade gardens. 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.

New Guinea ImpatiensJill Staake
These annual flowers prefer moist soil.

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 about growing New Guinea impatiens.

Check out the the best shade garden plants for your shady areas.

New Guinea Impatiens Care

New Guinea ImpatiensJill Staake
The bright blooms brighten up shady areas.
  • Sun or Shade? Like other impatiens, New Guineas don’t enjoy too much sun. They’re more sun-tolerant than other varieties, but they prefer bright light instead of direct sun. If anything, give them full sun in the morning (no more than 4 to 6 hours) and then shade in the afternoon. Any more and the leaves will burn and flowering will all but cease. You can also grow these flowers indoors.
  • 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. Learn how to get rid of powdery mildew.

Next, check out the top 10 shrubs for shade gardens.