Avoidable Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Impatiens In The Garden

Avoidable Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Impatiens In The Garden

Known by many names, including the Busy Lizzy or the Patient Lucy, impatiens are colorful flowers that are often grown as annuals, although they’re technically perennials in USDA growing zones 10 and 11. Impatiens are very popular and are widespread across the tropics and in the northern hemisphere. These flowers can be a great addition to any garden and can add plenty of vibrant color to shady areas around the home.

Although impatiens are often grown by homeowners and avid gardeners, things don’t always go according to plan, and mistakes are common. Planting impatiens in full sunlight, not providing the correct amount of water, and growing them in windy areas can all be detrimental to their health. To keep them growing their very best, there are some things you should know before planting them. You’ll want to ensure that growing conditions are perfect, and it can also be helpful to go the extra mile by providing adequate fertilizer and maintenance.

Provide adequate water and shade for your impatiens

Woman with watering can

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As with most flowers and plants, you’ll want to pay the most attention to three core areas to make sure your impatiens grow well: water, soil, and sun. However, impatiens are pretty finicky compared to many other plants so you’ll want to ensure that the conditions are just right for them to grow their best.

Providing the right amount of water is essential for keeping your impatiens happy. Water your impatiens often enough or they’ll quickly begin to droop and shrivel up. Generally, aim to provide at least two inches of water a week to keep your impatiens growing strong. Mulching the soil can help keep the soil moist and reduce the chance that the plant will wilt. On the other hand, ensure the soil can drain adequately since you’ll need to water your impatiens often.

Also essential to pay attention to is the amount of sun that your impatiens are getting. If you plant them in full sunlight, don’t be surprised if they wilt quickly. Impatiens need to be grown in light to medium shade and should be in an area with some shelter from the wind. Things won’t end well if you make the mistake of planting your impatiens in direct sunlight.

Fertilize your impatiens and prevent disease

Hands with soil and impatiens

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If you’ve met their basic needs by providing adequate water and shade, your impatiens are likely to grow well. However, there are some other things you can do to give them an even better chance of success. Preparing the soil well, fertilizing the plant, and taking steps to protect your impatiens from disease will be worth the extra effort.

Consider mixing slow-releasing fertilizer or compost into the soil before planting your impatiens in the garden. You can also use a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks following this to foster better growth. Avoid overdoing it since too much fertilizer can cause more harm than good.

Another important thing to remember is that impatiens are susceptible to root rot disease, a condition that you can identify through general decay of the plant, wilting, stunted growth, and white fuzz beneath the leaves. Other than with mildew-resistant New Guinea impatiens, downy mildew is also a possibility. Be sure that you know what downy mildew on impatiens looks like and reduce the chances of it developing by watering the soil directly. Avoid splashing water onto the leaves. Spacing impatiens fairly far apart will also provide adequate airflow and reduce the chances of downy mildew developing as well.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.