The super showy double-flowered impatiens is back after an absence of 20 years, thanks to the breeding of the highly downy mildew resistant Impatiens Glimmer.
When Impatiens walleriana Beacon arrived on the garden scene as the first bedding impatiens to beat downy mildew, it felt as if we were getting back to normal. This bestie for shade once again promised masses of colour all season long.
But there was a gap. There was still no double-flowered impatiens with its miniature rose-like blooms which gardeners loved for its soft beauty.
That gap has been filled by Impatiens walleriana Glimmer, which is also a fast growing, long flowering impatiens that is highly downy mildew resistant. Its double flowers come in shades of soft apple-blossom pink, burgundy, hot pink, dark red, salmon and white.
Plants are compact and rounded, growing 25 to 35cm high and wide, making them showy plans for containers and hanging baskets as well as for gardens.
Like the single -flowered Beacon, Glimmer grows in semi-shade and flowers continually from spring through to autumn, with no need to dead-head.
Since the introduction of Impatiens Beacon new colours have been introduced each year. This year the new colour is the vibrant vermillion ‘Lipstick’ just what we need to usher in spring.
Beacon is a great choice for people who want their garden to pop with vivid, cheerful colours. Other shades include bright red, salmon, white, violet, orange, and coral.
Plants are also compact, 25 to 30cm high and wide, and the large, single flowers cover the plant, almost obscuring its leaves.
Tips for growing bedding impatiens
- Plant in fertile soil that drains well and space plants 15 to 20cm apart.
- Water regularly, so that soil stays moist, not drying out completely or staying too wet. The more sunshine the plants get, the more water they need, with less in shadier areas.
- Feed with a liquid fertiliser like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger after planting and once a month thereafter for good flowers.
Check out these other impatiens
Sunpatiens was one of the first interspecific impatiens and is known as the “all weather impatiens” as plants are robust enough to grow in full sun or partial shade.
The compact series grows up to 35cm high and wide, making it a good alternative for containers or gardens that receive a bit more sun. They are forgiving plants because if they flop because of lack of water, they bounce right back after watering.
Two new releases in the Sunpatiens range are ‘Red Candy’ and Purple Candy, both with bicolour blooms. ‘Red Candy’ has bright pink flowers with red highlights, that are accentuated by the glossy dark-bronze leaves. ‘Purple Candy’ also has red highlights. These worry-free, low maintenance plants have the same long flowering period as the bedding Impatiens walleriana.
New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) stood in for bedding impatiens during the lean years, because of its natural resistance to downy mildew. They are excellent container plants because of the larger flowers and colourful leaves.
‘Clockwork’ is a New Guinea pot impatiens and plants have the ideal compact growth (25cm high and 30cm wide) for pots and a wide colour range. This includes the two-tone Pink Star and Orange Stripe.
Plant in a good quality potting mix, with a controlled release fertiliser. The best position is morning sun and afternoon shade or good, dappled light. Water pots once a day in midsummer and feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month. This Impatiens is suited for patio containers and planters but performs equally well in ground.
For more information visit www.ballstraathof.co.za
TEXT: Alice Coetzee