Known best for their power to bloom in the garden’s shady spots, garden impatiens are part of a clan that contains hundreds of species. Most of the ones listed here are annuals or tender perennials treated as annuals, and most bloom all summer. When lightly touched, ripe seed capsules burst open and scatter seeds.
Perennial from Africa. Dense, bushy plant grows to 1 1/2 ft. high and wide, with glossy, bright green leaves that are oval, pointed, and up to 6 in. long; leaf margins are serrated and toothed. Intricate orchidlike blooms to 1 in. long are rich golden, throats marked in red. Give shade and regular applications of balanced fertilizer for a profuse bloom over a long period in summer. Superb in containers.
A varied group of striking perennials usually grown as annuals; they were developed from a number of species native to New Guinea, especially I. hawkeri (I. schlechteri). Plants can be upright to spreading; most are 1–2 ft. tall and as wide or wider. Leaves are typically large, often variegated with cream or red. Flowers are usually large (3 in. wide) though not profuse, and held well above the foliage; colors include lavender, purple, pink, red, orange, and white. Once considered primarily pot plants, they may also be grown in the open ground; provide ample fertilizer and give somewhat more sun than you would common impatiens (I. walleriana).
Usually grown as an annual evereywhere, this is one of the best bedding plants for shade. Rapid, vigorous growth; tall types to about 2 ft. high, dwarf kinds 6–12 in. high. Narrow, glossy dark green, 1–3-in.-long leaves grow from juicy, pale green stems. Flowers are 1–2 in.wide, come in all colors but yellow and true blue. All types are useful for many months of bright color in partial or full shade. Grow plants from seed or cuttings; or buy them in cell-packs or pots.
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