How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Impatiens

July 15, 2013 – 10:19 am

Botanical name: Impatiens

Plant type: Flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10, 11

Sun exposure: Part Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral

Flower color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Purple, White

Bloom time: Summer, Fall

Impatiens is a beautiful annual that makes an excellent houseplant or summer bedding plant. It is also known as "Busy Lizzie" and its name is a Latin word that describes the way its seeds shoot out of its pods when ripe (the slightest touch can make a ripe impatiens seed pod burst open and scatter its seeds). Impatiens like shade and moisture.


  • Plant impatiens transplants after the last spring frost in humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil. Make sure the plants have some shelter from the wind.
  • The closer impatiens plants are, the taller they will grow, so space accordingly (impatiens plants can grown anywhere between 6 and 30 inches tall). For flower beds, plant 8 to 12 inches apart so the plants will stay low to the ground.
  • You can mix in compost or a slow-release fertilizer before transplanting to help the plants.
  • If you have impatiens plants in containers, use a sterile or soil-less growing mixture to ensure better drainage for the plants.


  • The most important thing to remember about impatiens plants is to water them regularly. Keep them moist, but not too wet. If the plants dry out, they will lose their leaves. If you over-water the plants, this could encourage fungal diseases.
  • Remember container plants will need more water.


  • Spider mites
  • Impatiens Downey Mildew (IDM)
  • Flower thrips
  • Root knot nematode
  • Caterpillars
  • Fungal leaf spot

Recommended Varieties

  • Tom Thumb Series (Impatiens balsamina), which is a dwarf variety with large, double, brightly colored flowers.
  • Super Elfin Series (Impatiens walleriana), which is a spreading plant with a wide variety of pastel colors.
  • Swirl Series (Impatiens walleriana), which have pretty pink and orange flowers whose petals are outlined in r


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I usually forget to pinch

Sometimes I'll pinch them to speed up bushyfication, but even when I forget to pinch, they spread out on their own. One of the many things I like about impatiens.
Mine are really starting to flower now, too. Each plant has had a few flowers at a time up to this point, but with the warming weather and the fact that they've apparently developed their root systems, they're getting to the point where they're covered with flowers.
The ones I have in the ground, the ones I have in planters, and the ones I have in containers, all looking good.
Another great thing about them is that they'll keep on flowering profusely right up until the first frost in the fall

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