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Nothing says summer quite like ImpatiensNothing says summer quite like Impatiens. These attractive shade annuals got their botanical name from Latin referring to their seed pod which explodes when they ripen, shooting their sticky seeds far and wide. They originate in East Africa and are indigenous to Zanzibar but the ones we see today are hybrids from many years of cross breeding to give larger flowers and in solid colours.

To grow the best impatiens there are a few tips to bear in mind. Impatiens are water lovers and need to be kept well watered through summer. Best in semi-shade or morning sun and afternoon shade they spread to cover the ground in a blaze of colour. They are tender annuals and will last until the first heavy frost finishes them off next winter making them incredible value for money as a bedding plant.

There are many different varieties on the market today which are disease resistant. When planting your impatiens give them a good start by preparing the soil with loads of compost and BounceBack fertiliser. As young plants they need a high nitrogen fertiliser to get them growing and once in flower you can feed them with Multifeed Flowergro to keep them looking great.

Divine Impatiens:

Our choice for great summer colour, Divine Impatiens are disease hardy and will grow in shade and semi-shade. The predominantly green leafed variety will handle the most shade of the new range of impatiens and flower well into May making them a very economical option for summer colour. They become covered in flowers and if well fed the flowers can form a mat hiding the leaves below. They are compact growers and will get to height of 40cm by midsummer.

Sunpatiens Impatiens:

Variegated impatiens need at least half day sunIncredibly popular the disease resistant Sunpatiens Impatiens are simply amazing. Although they do not grow in full sun they will handle more sun than most impatiens but will need to be watered daily. Growing over 1 metre tall they are striking in mass plantings or in large containers.

Paradise New Guinea Impatiens:

Impatiens in every shadeThe disease resistant, bushy and compact Paradise New Guinea Impatiens are a real treat. Often with variegated foliage they perform best in morning sun and afternoon shade. Do not let them dry out for best results so we recommend that you mulch them with compost after planting to help retain additional moisture around them. They will form a clump at around 25cm high.

 

Common Impatiens

For years the Common Impatiens have been a best seller and all time favourite but a few years ago South Africa was hit by Impatiens Downy Mildew that kills off common impatiens in cooler damp weather conditions. Common Impatiens must be planted in areas where they can have their watering monitored and kept well fed with high nitrogen fertiliser.

They also need good air circulation and must be planted further apart. Be on the lookout for the mildew under the leaves which is like a fine white dusting, if this starts up remove that plant immediately to contain the spread. If we have a cool rainy spell towards the end of November they will be dead by mid December and if we have a dry hot summer they will last all summer – that is the chance one takes with the common impatiens which is still a garden favourite.