Common Name – Impatiens (or “busy Lizzie”)

Plant Identification

Genus: Impatiens
Family: Balsaminaceae
Species: 850-1000
Plant type: Hybrids, annuals
Note: The widely grown cultivars of impatiens flowers are typically short plants. Some, such as the ‘Super Elfin’ series, stay much shorter (thus their popularity, and their name!).

Plant Images





Plant Descriptions

Fruit / flower: Flower
Colour: Impatiens flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, red, pink, violet, coral and purple. Even a yellow cultivar has recently been developed.
Flowering time: Spring through summer
Flower size: small
Fragrance: none
Height: There are some compact hybrid forms as short as 15-20cm tall, and the“dwarf type” grow to 30cm tall.
Foliage description: Foliage is smooth
Foliage colour: medium green

Plant Requirements

Light preference: Prefer shade but will tolerate some sun
Watering: keep moist, but not wet
Temperature: Prefer cool, shady environment
Soil requirements: well drained, humus enriched soil
Pruning: Not required

Other Information

Propogation: By seed

Other notes: Impatiens are among the most popular annuals because they are very colorful, dependable plants which will bloom steadily all summer. Their biggest advantage is that they absolutely flourish in light shade. So if you have a shady area in your garden which you would like to fill with an easy to grow, colourful annual, give impatiens a try. They will transform dark spaces with a profusion of lush growth and pretty colour. The most familiar type of impatiens is the common one, called Busy Lizzie. There is also a type called New Guinea Impatiens and another called Balsam Impatiens.

Impatiens are very sensitive to the cold. They thrive in warm weather, but their fleshy, succulent stems and delicate foliage cannot tolerate even the lightest frost. They will die when the first frost comes in autumn and you will need to plant new ones next year.

My Experiences with Impatiens: I planted impatiens in my garden this summer and was not really awed by their performance. They didn’t do as well as the dianthus and petunias did, but I suspect that it is due to other factors and not the actual plant. I planted them in a very shady spot in and amogst my Azaleas. They did ok for a while (nothing fantastic though) and one morning I came out and they were history. Dead and gone. What happened? I have no idea. A few have revived themselves but most are gone. I don’t know if it was a “hadeda trampling” or some “nasty” came and ate them. It could even have been my cat or my dog, but there were no digging marks or traces of either one of them being the culprit. So its a mystery to me.

Related Blog Articles:
I mentioned Impatiens in blog articles here and here.

About the author: Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

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