Impatiens are the most popular annual flowers for shade to partial shade. These light and bright annuals are pretty easy to care for and will flower profusely from late spring until late fall. They do have a few particulars about their growing especially when grown in the proper conditions. Considered a “Tropical” plant they tend to love the warm weather, so they are perfect for our Houston climate.
Ideal conditions and care.
These bright flowers actually prefer 3 to 5 hours of MORNING sun. They will not flower as well in deep shade. So if your impatiens are not flowering as much or are a little leggy (long stems and not many leaves) try a location with a little more sun. The “New Guinea” variety is able to take a couple hours of more sun. With all of the varieties, they do NOT like the afternoon sun especially here in the Houston area, it is just way too intense for them.
Water and Soils Conditions.
Impatiens thrive on lots of water and well drained soils. So before planting these guys make sure to add some new organic potting mix soils and work into your existing soils really well. This is a great tip for every color change out that you do! Impatiens are another plant that just loves water! They prefer drip irrigation, this will help keep pests and disease off of the leaves. Water in the morning before it gets too hot. If they are regularly wilting by the end of the day set up one more short cycle for the late afternoon when the heat breaks, around 6 or 7.
Since these plants love water, and we are known for our fungus issues, it never hurts to pre-treat the soil with a fungicide. Just check ask your nursery when purchasing your plants there are many varieties.
Impatiens also to very well in pots and hanging baskets. The easiest way to care for them in these conditions to make sure that you have a separate zone of irrigation for your pots. Then you can set it up to run for very short cycles in the morning and afternoon.
If your flowers are getting too tall and starting to separate, I would recommend that you give them a good cut back. They are not too particular on how you do this. You can even take hedge trimmers and start at the bottom of the mound. Evenly trim all of the plants back 1/3 to 1/2. It will take two to four weeks to grow back but they will come back much fuller.
To really keep these guys blooming they love to feed about every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer. If you don’t have the time you can apply a slow release granular fertilizer about once a month.
How these flowers “Stand Out”
These flowers will provide an amazing amount of blooms for almost half of the year. If you plant them about 6 to 8 inches apart they will create massive mounds of bright flowers from 6 inches tall to 30 inches depending on the variety. They come in many different shades from a watermelon red to every shade of pink, light purple colors to white. The colors all tend to be light and bright which really helps when trying to bring a little color to shadier areas of the garden.