Impatiens may be one of the best flowering annuals that exist today. Most of us have probably used them in our gardens at one point or another. The reason impatiens are so great is because they are super easy to grow, and are one of the few annuals that give you a full blast of color in shady areas. People ask me all the time, “Is there anything else that will grow as well as impatiens?” My answer, “Nothing grows like impatiens!”
Unlike most shade plants, impatiens will give you a huge amount of blossoms. As long as they are watered regularly and fertilized often, they will continue to bloom from the moment you plant them in the spring, right through summer into fall. They prefer filtered shade in a location that will give you 2 or 3 hours of sun in the morning then shaded in the afternoon when the sun is strongest.
Planting & Caring for Impatiens
The most common impatiens is the ‘Accent’ series, which will grow from 12 to 18 inches high. The next most common is the ‘Super Elfin’ series, which grows under 12 inches high. When you start planting them, a spacing of 4 to 6 inches will give you quick full coverage in the garden. Impatiens will grow excellently in flower beds, but are just as happy if you put them in planters or hanging baskets. Since they like shade, it is important you give them moist WELL-DRAINED soil, which does not stay sopping wet.
If you are using them in planters, make sure you use fresh potting soil and do not use the soil from last year. This will prevent root rot. If you start seeing some yellowing leaves, that means you may be giving them too much water, and you just need to water less frequently. Towards late summer impatiens can sometimes get tall and leggy. Occasional pruning or “pinching” back during the season will prevent this from happening and keep your plants healthy and full.
Prepping Soil for Impatiens
When first planting your impatiens, incorporate into the soil some nice compost such as Bumper Crop, along with some peat moss. This will provide a perfect soil foundation for new plants that can retain water and nutrients. Also, use Espoma Bio-Tone soil conditioner with beneficial mycorrihizae. This will help establish a healthy root system. Keep them watered well. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-Tone and liquid feed them with Miracle-Gro water soluble fertilizer once a week.
Enjoy this great annual, as you won’t lose your patience with impatiens!