The best selling of all the shade flowers are Impatiens. There is a myriad of colours to suit your style, to grow the best there are a few tips to bear in mind. Best in semi-shade or afternoon shade, they spread to cover the ground in a blaze of colour. Impatiens need to be kept well watered through summer and especially in the heat. Our favourite are Divine Impatiens for their opulent texture and compact growth habit.
Nothing 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 love water and need to be kept well watered through summer. If one plants them in a spot that gets too much sun one will have to water them way too much. Be #WaterWise and plant them in the best suited position where you only need to water them once a day or every second day. Best in semi-shade or morning sun 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 BioGanic 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.
Our first 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.
Incredibly popular the disease resistant Impatiens are simply amazing. They do not grow in full sun unless you live in the tropical areas of the KZN Coast. They are best in afternoon shade and need a bit more water because of that than most impatiens. Make sure they are watered daily. Growing over 1 metre tall they are striking in mass plantings or in large containers.
New Guinea Impatiens:
The disease resistant, bushy and compact 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.
For years the Common Impatiens were 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 such as BioGanic. 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.