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How to Grow Impatiens

May 19, 2022



Impatiens flowers are bright and cheerful annuals that can light up any dark and shady part of your yard. Growing impatiens is quite easy, but there are a few things to know about impatiens care.

Standard Vs New Guinea

Standard impatiens are easy to grow and are generally smaller than New Guineas. They prefer shady areas and become carpeted mounds of color. They can become leggy over the summer, so it is good to pinch or scissor them back and they will flush back up again in a week or two. 

New Guinea Impatiens and standard Impatiens will give you an amazing show all summer long in a huge array of colors from partial to full shade. They both love water so keep them moist but not soggy. Use well-drained soil and mulch the top of the soil around the plants to retain moisture. Fertilize often or use a slow-release fertilizer.

New Duinea Impatiens Paradise Jaco

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens are a hybrid and they have been called “sun impatiens” because they tolerate more sun than the standard variety. However, they still do not like full sun all day. New Guineas are generally grown from cuttings and have larger leaves and larger blooms, up to 3 inches across. Their long, narrow leaves come in different shades of green, bronze, and purple, and some have variegated foliage. New Guineas branch well, are sturdy and grow taller than standard impatiens. Most are 1 to 2 feet tall.

2022 Impatiens

Planting Tips

When you are planting impatiens, give them rich, well-drained soils. In containers, any general-purpose potting mix will do. In the ground, if you have heavy clay, add some organic matter like compost to loosen it up and add nutrients. Impatiens are not very tolerant of drought, and during long dry spells, the plants will quickly wilt. Luckily, they are very quick to bounce back once watered. 

Pink Impatiens
Double Impatiens Fiesta Sunrise Red


Closer spacing will encourage taller growth, while more distance between plants encourages them to spread out and fill in the gaps. Plant further apart if used as a ground cover.


Apply compost or a slow-release granular fertilizer at planting time. Container-grown plants may need more frequent feedings with a liquid fertilizer.

Double Impatiens Fiesta Sparkler Cherry


Use as bedding plants and container fillers, or wherever you want continuous color with minimal effort.

Plant in window boxes or hanging baskets, at the front of a border, or as a groundcover under trees and shrubs.

Varieties with flowers in softer pastel tones are wonderful accent plants in English or cottage gardens.

Use sun-tolerant varieties with flowers in vibrant shades of salmon, coral, or orange to add a bright pop of color to a tropical garden.

Double-flowered forms are showy additions to container plantings or even for use as flowering houseplants.

Accent Lavender Blue Impatiens

Downy Mildew

What to look for:
The tell-tale signs of infection include yellowing leaves, wilting, and white spores on the undersides of the leaves.

How to prevent downy mildew:
The best preventive measures include keeping the leaves dry when watering and providing enough air circulation between plants. If you do find impatiens downy mildew, it’s almost impossible to get rid of, and it is best to remove and dispose of the affected plants.

To prevent reinfection, don’t plant new impatiens in the same garden bed. While the new plants may not have the disease (even types bred to be resistant are not completely immune), they could still fall, victim, if planted where spores still linger in the soil.

If you haven’t grown them for a few years or you plan to put them in containers, there is less to worry about. Or, plant New Guinea impatiens instead, which are naturally mildew-resistant.

Find more tips at Garden Design