Top 10 Questions About Impatiens

By Tonya Barnett | August 11, 2019
Image by Coast-to-Coast
by Tonya Barnett
August 11, 2019

Here at Gardening Know How we get lots of questions, and our goal is to provide answers to those inquiries to the best of our knowledge. Impatiens are vibrant and versatile plants which thrive in a variety of conditions. The following information includes the 10 most commonly asked questions about impatiens plants.

1. When is the best time to water outdoor impatiens plants?

The water needs of impatiens plants is very similar to that of other plants. However, these shade lovers may require frequent watering throughout the hottest parts of the growing season. Without proper irrigation,impatiens plants will begin to droop. In fact, they are often used as indicator plants for this reason, letting you know when it’s time to water plants nearby. While in-ground plantings may only need water once or twice a week (depending upon weather), impatiens planted in containers may dry much more quickly. Many gardeners choose to water impatiens containers once everyone or two days as needed. Checking the first couple inches of soil for moisture can help to determine this.

2. Why are my impatiens all leaves and no blooms?

Lack of blooms in impatiens is a very common issue among many flowering plants. Traditionally, impatiens plants are known for their ability to bloom reliably, so many growers are left to wonder what the cause may be. Unfortunately, there are several causes for this issue. Impatiens should be planted in a location which receives part shade and part sun. Full sun and deep shade locations may negatively impact the plants’ bloom. Additionally, lack of water may impact the bloom production of the plant. Last, but not least, the use of a high nitrogen fertilizer may also cause this issue. Since nitrogen promotes the growth of lush foliage, this may be causing the plants not to bloom.

3. Can you keep impatiens over winter?

Impatiens are very versatile plants. With that in mind, growers have many different options when it comes to overwintering plants. Established plants can be lightly pruned and transplanted into a pot. Once transplanted, the container can be taken indoors to over winter in a warm and sunny location. If overwintering the entire plant is not an option, consider taking cuttings from the plant. Cuttings will produce flowers that are the same as the parent plant. After taking a cutting, root it in moist growing medium indoors. Grow the smaller plant throughout the winter and transplant into the garden next spring when all chance of frost has passed. The last option is to grow impatiens through the winter from seed. Due to their low light requirements, the plants can be grown throughout winter indoors.

4. How do you regrow impatiens?

Unfortunately, impatiens are frost tender plants. That means, for many, impatiens are grown as an annual flower. Though there is noway to “regrow” the plant, there are several ways in which to propagate existing plants to ensure that you have impatiens throughout the winter and subsequent growing seasons. These options include overwintering the original plant indoors, taking cuttings from the original plant, and starting impatiens seeds.

5. Can you grow impatiens from seed?

Yes, it is definitely possible to grow impatiens from seed. Both hybrid and open pollinated varieties are available online and in many garden centers. Since the plant is very slow growing, the process of growing from seed is somewhat time consuming. Seeds can be started much like any other plant. First, prepare a seed starting tray by filling it with a soilless seed starting mixture. Carefully sow the seeds into the tray. This may be somewhat difficult, since the seeds are so small. Place the tray in a warm sunny location at about 70 F. (21 C.). Germination should occur within about 14-21 days. Grow the seedlings indoors until the last chance of frost has passed. Harden off the seedlings and transplant into the garden.

6. Should impatiens plants be cut back?

As impatiens plants grow, it is fairly common that plants become tall and leggy. Cutting the plants back, or more specifically, lightly pruning the plant, can be a vital part of routine plant care. Simply, trim several inches from leggy plants to maintain the desired plant shape. The process of pruning will allow for plants to begin the branching process, becoming more compact and bushy, as well as promote overall health and longer sustained bloom period.

7. Why are my impatiens plants turning yellow?

There are several reasons in which impatiens turn yellow. While some more serious issues may cause the yellowing of plants, watering should be examined. Impatiens plants may begin to yellow when they receive either too much or not enough water. Establish a consistent watering schedule and make certain to note whether the issue continues. If it has been determined that frequency of watering is not the issue, yellowing maybe caused other issues such as mildew or blight. To properly begin the process of trying to deduce whether or not the impatiens have an issue with disease, look carefully for other signs such as wilting leaves and black spots on foliage.

8. What is eating my impatiens?

It is always frustrating when flowering plants are plagued by problems with various insects and pests. Impatiens are no exception to this rule, as these flowers are often targeted by insects such as aphids, thrips, and mealybugs. Signs and symptoms of these bugs may be seen in the appearance of discolored or curled leaves. Damage to young impatiens plants may be caused by common garden pests like slugs and snails.

9. Can impatiens grow indoors?

It is definitely possible to grow impatiens indoors. Though impatiens appreciate shade when grown outdoors, they will require a grow light or a prominent position in a sunny windowsill when grown indoors. Plants from the garden can be brought inside, or new seed can be started. Make certain to use containers that are well draining, as excess moisture may cause fungal issues or the possibility of root rot. When grown in the proper conditions, it is possible that impatiens may continue to bloom indoors in late winter.

10. Where to plant impatiens?

Impatiens have long been an extremely popular bedding plant. Available at garden centers and home improvement stores, these beauties are highly adaptable to wide range of growing conditions. However, in order to make sure that plants grow to their full potential and flourish, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, impatiens require a well-draining and weed-free flower bed. Impatiens will thrive in locations that receive part shade and part sun. Ideally, plants should receive shade throughout the hottest portions of the afternoon. Early morning and evening sunlight will help promote growth of foliage, as well as improve bloom.

We all have questions now and then, whether long-time gardeners or those just starting out. So if you have a gardening question, get a gardening answer. We’re always here to help.

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