New Guinea Impatiens Provide Color in Shade

Bright blooms set off by distinctive foliage make New Guinea Impatiens ideal for any garden. Learn if these flowers prefer sun or shade and how to care for them.

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.

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens Care

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 – 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.

New Guinea Impatiens

Psst—we found even more colorful shade-tolerant plants for your garden.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find he reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.