New Guinea Impatiens--Thoroughbreds of the Annuals Group

For many gardeners, especially in the mild parts of the year, Impatiens are a staple item of the garden color palette. With the recent gardening trend toward smaller-statured plants, modern Impatiens are being bred for compact plant size, bright colors, and even growth habit. This trend makes for an interesting conundrum: if the plants are smaller and smaller, you'll need to plant more and more of them to attain the "wow" quotient you hope for your garden's color display. 

My question is: why not use larger Impatiens ? New Guinea Impatiens grow taller and broader than their smaller cousins, and put on quite a show of color. This group of Impatiens often shows off larger flowers ( up to 3 inches across) as well as taller plants ( up to 2 feet and even more).     

One of the down-sides to this group is the plant cost; about double the price of the "regular" Impatiens. While the New Guinea group grows taller and broader than the garden-type varieties, they require about the same care regarding watering and fertilizing--plenty of both. New Guineas will need more shade from the hot sun, and enjoy cooler temperatures than the garden-variety types, but the extra show of of flowers is worth all the extra efforts. 

Pink Frost
Courtesy of Proven Winners
plant grown in a 12 inch bowl,



This is a premium plant, which deserves a little extra effort to make it really show off. Grown in decorative containers or in hanging baskets, these plants can be quite a show-stopper. Fertilize them every week with a liquid fertilizer suitable for orchids, and make sure the plants are well hydrated. Pinch off old flowers to promote new ones. There are always options for new and interesting plants in the garden world. Try something new on occasion, and don't be discouraged if you fail !

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens

Infinity Orange
courtesy of Sobkowich Greenhouses

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