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IMPATIENS

Image of Impatiens

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Balsaminaceae

Botanical Name

IMPATIENS

Plant Common Name

Impatiens

General Description

This diverse genus of herbaceous plants holds some of the most popular bedding ornamentals on the market. Most impatiens are evergreen and of tropical and subtropical origin, with a few woodland species extending into north temperate regions. It is a huge genus with nearly 1000 species to its name and thousands of cultivated varieties. These may be annual or perennial, with many tropical perennial species grown as “annuals” in temperate zones.

The leaves and stems of impatiens are often fleshy and succulent and vary widely in color. There are two floral forms in this genus; the common garden form being a large flat-faced flower with five colorful, luminescent petals and the other being a tubular flower with a distinctive spurred nectary. Blooms come in a wide range of colors to include red, yellow, orange, pink, burgundy, salmon, white and purple-red, and all are followed by a bulbous green seedpod that explodes when squeezed.

The two most commonly grown impatiens are common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) and the New Guinea hybrids (Impatiens hawkeri, I. schlechteri and I. platypetala crosses). The suite of species that comprise the New Guinea hybrids are known to have particularly colorful foliage of bronze, purple and various shades of green and large, colorful, flat-faced flowers. Common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are grown primarily for their beautiful flat-faced flowers. Both common and New Guinea impatiens will bloom continuously, if growing conditions are favorable, and do not require deadheading.

Overall, Impatiens prefer partial sun to shade and fertile, evenly moist soil with adequate drainage. They are ideal for shaded borders, containers and hanging baskets.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6"-36" / 15.2cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    8"-36" / 20.3cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic, Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange, Pink, Salmon, Burgundy, Orange Red

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green, Burgundy, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green, Burgundy, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green, Burgundy, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green, Burgundy, Bronze

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes