As summer rolls in it's the time of the year when Impatiens and Begonias colour our world and make the shady gardens' a mass show of colour. We recommend all of them for morning sun afternoon shade only or a dappled all day shade spot.
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 are water lovers and need to be kept well watered through summer making them a Hydrozone 3 Drop annual. Best in semi-shade or morning sun and afternoon shade they spread to cover the ground in a blaze of colour. To be successful we always recommend mulching them to help with water saving.
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.
The market keeps evolving with stronger and better flowering rate. Look out for the most popular varieties this summer at Eckards.
Beacon and Imara Impatiens:
Our choice for great summer colour, Beacon and Imara Impatiens are disease hardy and will grow in shade and semi-shade. As our most common impatiens their predominantly green leafs will handle the most shade of all the 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 a cascading grower and will get to height of easily half a meter high by midsummer.
Incredibly 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 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.
Begonias give a great long lasting show that has a touch of the tropical look to them. They will handle a lot less water than Impatiens but still do not like to dry out for too long so mulching them is very important. Begonias are a Hydrozone 2 Drop annual. Best in semi-shade or morning sun and afternoon shade they are well suited to containers and borders. They are tender and will last for a summer or two until the frost finishes them off too.
Common Wax Begonias
We love the Begonia Semperflorens which are the most popular and most common Begonias on the market. Often referred to as Wax Begonias because of the texture and waxy like leaves. It’s those waxy leaves that make them a bit tougher and are available in brown leafed as well as green leafed variants with so many flower colour options to choose from. Green leafed will happily frown in a dappled shade to half day sun spot whereas the brown leaf begonias need bright light and won’t grow well in all day shade.
Dragon Wing Begonias
The tallest of the current favourites the Dragon Wing and their sister, the Bat Wing begonias have tall graceful stems just over half a meter high and their flowers are larger and more dramatic. Best in morning sun to half shade they fill a bed or make a striking statement in a large container.
The newsiest begonia gets its name from the Hula Skirt or as our team say no... a hula Hoop! The cascading habit makes it hang over the hip of containers and hanging baskets and has masses of dainty flowers adding a softness to the look. Lasting for months on end and almost never out of flower are bound to make this Begonia a stalwart of future summer gardens.