The most popular summer colourful annuals are all the Impatiens. They last well into autumn and are the easiest way to add colour to your home. Best in semi-shade or afternoon shade, they spread to cover the ground in a blaze of colour. There is a myriad of colours to suit your style, to grow the best there are a few tips to bear in mind. Impatiens need to be kept well watered through summer and especially in the heat.
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.
There are two more sun loving Impatiens, the popular Sunpatiens and the taller Sun Harmony impatiens. 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.
With the same growth habit as the common impatiens the Beacon impatiens will cascade and hang over the edge of hanging baskets and containers. Plant them in areas where they can have their watering monitored and kept well fed with high nitrogen fertiliser such as BioGanic. They grow to a height of 25-30cm and when planted in the garden they create a mounded colour ball and will flower from October right through to April/May the following year, making them incredible value for money.