Some of the most popular annual bedding plants used by gardeners are impatiens. They are ideal for growing where you want color in your yard but you have lots of shade. There are so many types and colors of traditional impatiens. The eye-catching variegated white blooming Painted Paradise White is just stunning, as are the double-bloomed varieties.
Impatiens are generally divided by size into dwarf, medium and tall. And check out all of the colors of this classic shade-lover the next time you visit your local nursery. Currently 15 solid colors and three bi-colors are available. Those that flower with a double bloom resemble a mini-rose.
Impatiens were first found in eastern Africa, and are thought to be native to the island of Zanzibar. According to Gardenguides.com, the Impatiens Sultana is an early type of impatien named in honor of the Sultan of Zanzibar. Years later, the name was changed to impatiens wallerana, after Horace Waller, a British missionary who traveled to Africa in 1861. British physician and naturalist Dr. John Kirk is credited with introducing impatiens to the western world in 1896.
The impatien will love you best if you give it an area with fertile soil, humidity and protection from the most direct sunlight. Some of the newer varieties can handle more sunshine, but even these will shrivel and cower with afternoon sun. According to Gardenguides.com, the impatien is among one of the 500 species in the Balsaminaecae family. This family includes the New Guinea impatien, which is a hybrid introduced in 1989 that tolerates more sun. Known by the nicknames “Busy Lizzy” and “Touch-me-not,” they got their name because they so easily release and scatter their seed with even the gentlest touch.
Plan on your impatiens growing between 6 inches and 2 feet tall. Keep their soil moist yet well drained. Propagate easily by clipping a bit of stem and flower and planting into fertile soil. Water well. If your flowers are growing under trees, they may need plant food. The only difficult part of growing impatiens is choosing the ones you like the best.
Joette is an avid gardener and prides herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.