Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Impatiens
White and orange impatiensAngela Altomare
Impatiens is a beautiful annual that makes an excellent houseplant or summer bedding and container plant. Here’s how to grow impatiens in your garden!
Impatiens is also known as “Busy Lizzie,” and its name is a Latin word that describes the way its seeds shoot out of its pods when ripe (the slightest touch can make a ripe impatiens seed pod burst open and scatter its seeds). Generally, impatiens like shade and moisture.
- Plant impatiens transplants after the last spring frost. See your local frost dates.
- Impatiens prefer humus-rich, moist, and well-drained soil. Make sure the plants have some shelter from the wind.
- The closer impatiens plants are, the taller they will grow, so space accordingly (impatiens plants can grown anywhere between 6 and 30 inches tall). For flower beds, plant 8 to 12 inches apart so the plants will stay low to the ground.
- You can mix in compost or a slow-release fertilizer before transplanting to help the plants.
- If you have impatiens plants in containers, like window boxes, use a sterile or soil-less growing mixture to ensure better drainage for the plants.
- Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
- The most important thing to remember about impatiens plants is to water them regularly. Keep them moist, but not too wet. If the plants dry out, they will lose their leaves. If you over-water the plants, this could encourage fungal diseases.
- Remember container plants will need more water.
- Tom Thumb Series (Impatiens balsamina), which is a dwarf variety with large, double, brightly colored flowers.
- Super Elfin Series (Impatiens walleriana), which is a spreading plant with a wide variety of pastel colors.
- Swirl Series (Impatiens walleriana), which have pretty pink and orange flowers whose petals are outlined in red.