AUBURN, Alabama —Impatiens is one of the top bedding plants used by Alabama gardeners.They are great for filling shady parts of the yard with color.
Good for Shady Spots
Impatiens is a good selection for shady spots for a number of reasons. The plants thrive in both beds and containers. They come in many bloom colors and there are types with variegated foliage. With proper care, these plants will fill flowerbeds with color until frost.
Soil Test Before Planting
“To ensure impatiens flourish, you need to do several things,” says Mike McQueen, a regional home grounds agent. “First, plant impatiens in the right soil. The plants prefer well-drained soils with a pH of 6.0 or 6.5. Before planting, test the soil. If the test indicates a low pH, amend the soil with lime to raise the level,” he added..
After preparing the soil, you are ready to plant. Choose healthy transplants, free of disease and pests, from a local nursery or garden center. The more common impatiens — the balsam type — actually prefers shade. The New Guinea impatiens with a variegated foliage, will tolerate morning sun. Take this into consideration when you select plants.
Watering Is Important
Once plants are in their containers or beds, provide them with ample water, McQueen say. Impatiens need plenty of water during the hottest parts of the summer. Check plants regularly. You may need to water daily during extremely hot weather.
Plants under stress from insufficient water will not bloom as heavily as healthy plants. Use soaker or drip hoses in flower beds. These hoses put the water where it’s needed and are more economical than overhead sprinkling.
Impatiens respond well to fertilizing. Applying a water soluble fertilizer when you water encourages foliage and flower development. You can apply fertilizer every six to eight weeks. Apply 3 pounds of 13-13-13 fertilizer per 100 square feet. If phosphorus level is high, apply (15-0-15) fertilizer per 100 square feet.
When the summer really begins to bake the garden, impatiens may look spindly and leggy with only tufts of foliage at the top of long stems, McQueen says pinching or cutting back stems to within three inches of the plant’s base are an easy solution. Impatiens have suppressed leaf buds along their stems. When you remove the upper growth, the plant responds by opening the suppressed buds. This pruning will encourage a new flush of growth and blooming for you to enjoy the rest of the season.