Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) originates from East Africa, from Tanzania to Mozambique, and growing nicely in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. This frost-intolerant perennial is commonly grown as a yearly throughout the United States. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, impatiens are the most common yearly bedding plant at the U.S., where it acts as a shade-loving ground cover. These flowers can also be utilized in woodland gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets.
Impatiens can be found in many distinct sizes from dwarf sorts only 6 inches tall to tall kinds reaching 24 inches high. This bushy plant produces succulent stems and elliptical leaves 3 inches long. The leaves vary in colour from light to dark green with some varieties growing bronze-red tinted leaves.
These crops have a long blooming period stretching from spring until the first autumn frost. The five-petaled flowers grow 1 to 2 1/4 inches across in blue, orange, purple, purple, crimson, white, white, rose, lilac and bicolor. The single-bloom sorts have a flattened appearance, while the double-bloom varieties look ruffled.
Impatiens possess an unusual curved spur protruding from the back of the blossom. This spur, or nectar tube, is filled with a sweet sugar alternative designed to pull in the blossoms’ pollinators like moths and butterflies. These insects use their tube-like mouthparts to get to the nectar. Hummingbirds also take advantage of this nectar spur.
These blooms are named after their seeds, which appear to be impatient to escape their pods. The pods contain cells under high pressure, which cause the pods to burst when touched following the pods ripen. The seeds take out away from the parent plant up to 24 inches. This seed dispersal system prevents over crowding around the parent plant.
Slugs and snails are a large issue for impatiens feeding on the stems and leaves. Surrounding the plants using slug bait or copper wire helps discourage feeding slugs and snails. Spider mites and aphids can infest impatiens. Spray the leaves with a strong stream of water to thwart those pests.