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Types Of Impatiens | How To Grow And Care Impatiens Plants

    The tiny plants are widely distributed throughout the tropics and the northern hemisphere. They are commonly called as jewelweed, touch-me-not, patience and snapweed. 

    The plants depending on the species can range from 5 cm to 2.5 metres. Impatiens are annual and perennial mostly, very few of its species are woody in nature. The species can have thin or succulent leaves as well.

    Impatiens have anti-inflammatory and fungicide properties. It has been used as herbal medicine for the treatment of bee stings, stinging nettle (rashes) and insect bites. They are used after poison ivy contact for stopping the development of the growth of any rash on skin.

    The mash of the plant was seen to be much more effective than the extract of the flower of the jewelweeds. Therefore, extreme research and vast knowledge is required for one to use it as a foolproof method to reduce the rashes after poison ivy contact.

    The impatiens flowers all taste bitter and are toxic to the stomach which might result in vomiting and diarrhea. 

    Types Of Impatiens

    1. Annual Impatiens

    Annual Impatiens

    They have made their way into the hearts and into our gardens since long with their colorful tiny flowers. Some of the species are perennial but are grown as annuals due to their intolerance to frosty areas.

    The naturally annual Impatiens is the Garden Balsam also known as Rose Balsam,  found typically in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. These species are typically smaller than most of the perennials, growing up to 8 inches tall.

    The Garden Balsam is a true annual, finishing off its life cycle within one year. This plant can self-seed and grow vigorously, especially in tropical areas where it regrows throughout the year.

    2. Perennial Impatiens

    Perennial Impatiens

    The concept of overwintering perennial plants isn’t new for us and that is why most of the impatiens plants are perennials. The most commonly grown is the impatiens walleriana and New Guinea Impatiens.

    It can grow up to 3 feet tall depending on the species and the conditions. They grow in shady or semi-shady areas.  

    Impatiens plants can be widely identified and put into four types of garden flowers that grow in the yard. These species are the most generally growing garden impatiens plants.

    3. Jewelweed Impatiens

    Jewelweed Impatiens

    These are basically touch-me-nots that grow in the wild. They are closely related to annuals and perennials but don’t exactly have either of their typical characteristics. They prefer shady locations and are comparatively taller, growing up to 6 feet.

    These plants prefer moist soils. Jewelweed grows near beds of stinging nettles. The sappy stems of these plants help soothe the stinging irritation of the nettles. Pale touch-me-not are less common than jewelweed. 

    4. Balsamina Impatiens

    Balsamina Impatiens

    These are the Garden Balsam or Rose Balsam species that are grouped under naturally occurring annuals. They grow up to 20 inches in height and were once commonly sought after.

    5. Bedding Impatiens

    Bedding Impatiens

    The mass flower producing plants can be used as bedding plants. These are typically mass producing species. The Super Elfin species mass beautifully and fast. They grow so fast that they actually stifle weed on their growth path. They prefer partial shade and plenty of water.

    6. New Guinea or Sun Impatiens

    New Guinea or Sun Impatiens

    The plant produces bigger, better and brighter flowers with variegated leaves. They also have the ability to tolerate more sunlight. However, the plant is leggy and it flowers inconsistently.   

    The strong colored flowers grow best in containers and prefer a few hours of full sunlight daily.

    How To Grow Impatiens Plants

    Normally people just buy deep rooted plants from a nursery. When propagated like this, make sure they are watered well until you get them in the ground. Some gardeners grow it in hanging baskets and even window boxes. Nevertheless, seed and cutting propagation is easy too. 

    BASIC ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS

    Many growers prefer the impatiens hawker species then the impatiens walleriana species citing showier flowers as the reason.  Although New guinea plants take a little more sunshine than the other species. 

    PLANTING SEASON

    In the areas with cold weathers, the traditional time for planting is around memorial day with the fear of frost completely gone. They have basic soil requirements like well-draining soil as the plant needs a good amount of water.

    The soil needs to be rich in humus as well. SO, moist soil in deeply shaded places would do the trick. 

    WATER REQUIREMENTS

    The inexpensive, readily available plants put a great display even when grown in full shade. Once planted, the plants will need two inches of water every week. 

    TEMPERATURE CONDITIONS

    The plants are sensitive to heat, it’s the water levels that help regulate the growth. If the temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they will need at least four inches of water in the soil every week.

    If there has been a dry spell, then the plants will look wilted. Fortunately, the plants get back up healthy-looking in no time given that enough water is provided.   

    To sum it all up, the annuals grow in shade and need rich, well-draining soil. The soil also needs a pH 6 to 6.5. Their bloom time is from spring to summer.

    PROPAGATION FROM SEEDS

    Impatiens are known to be slow growers. The germination takes about 21 days with most of the growth taking place in the first two weeks. 

    • The first step in growing the seeds would be germinating the seeds and then making it ready for the seedlings. So, the really simple process begins by filling each cell with a seed-starting mix that is moistened beforehand. Now, the best practice would be to just leave the cells on a tray filled with water and let the mix soak it up until the top of the soil gets moist. Throw rest of the water out. 
    • Now, put two seeds on top of the soil in each cell. Sprinkle a layer of mix. Now cover the cells with plastic and place them in the sun or a bright spot to sprout. 
    • Once they sprout and produce leaves, remove the plastic and place the tray in a sunny spot. If there is no sunny window available in the vicinity, place the pot in fluorescent lights for 16 hours daily. Even though they grow in shade, they need an initial burst of sunshine to wake the seeds up. Hence the heavy exposure to light for healthier plants is needed. 
    • To brief on the fertilizer needs of the plant, it is best to do it on a regular basis. In spring and summer, fertilize every two weeks. Another way to do it right is to slow release fertilizer used at the on-start of spring and to do it again during halfway through summer.  If the plants start looking leggy use a scissor to trim off the top third of the plant. 

    BASIC CARE OF IMPATIENS PLANTS

    • Once the plants are in the ground, make sure to give them 2 inches of water a week. These plants in containers need watering every day and if above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it needs watering twice daily. 
    • Remember to fertilize them regularly. Use soluble fertilizers on the plants every once a week in spring and summer.  An alternative method is to slowly release the fertilizer.
    • Best thing about the plant is, it does not need deadheading. It self-cleans its spent blooms.