Botanical Name: Impatiens hybrids
Origin: Impatiens hybrids originate from East Africa, New Guinea and South Asia.
Height: Cultivated Impatiens plants typically only grow to heights of approximately 38 cm (15 in).
Soil: Any non-acidic potting mixes are acceptable for Impatiens, although those based on peat moss are ideal.
Light: Impatiens plants like bright light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight during the summer.
Humidity: The required moderate levels of humidity ca be achieved by placing the pot containing Impatiens onto a wet pebble tray.
Temperatures: This house plant does best when kept in temperatures ranging between 16 and 24 degrees C (60 to 75 degrees F).
Water: The potting mix for this plant should be kept evenly moist, without allowing it to become soggy.
Fertiliser: From early spring until late summer, Impatiens needs monthly feeds of diluted (50:50) liquid fertiliser with high potassium content. Over-fertilising this house plant results in excessive leafy growth with few blooms.
Propagation: Impatiens can be grown from seeds or from stem tip cuttings, which should be approximately 10 cm (4 in) long and will root fairly easy in moistened soil or water. Both methods should be used in spring or - at the latest - early summer.
Description and Care Tips
Impatiens hybrids provide a profusion of brightly coloured, gorgeous blooms fit to brighten up any window sill, patio or sun room. With oval, soft leaves on succulent stems, these house plants typically have fairly flat flowers with five petals. In the centre, there is usually a very prominent 'eye'.
Ranging in colour from white salmon or pink to lavender, red or deep purples, some hybrids have double flowers. This gives them an appearance not dissimilar to miniature roses. Some varieties also feature bicoloured blooms.
If an Impatiens refuses to bloom or produces comparatively few flowers, it is highly likely that it is not getting enough light. It can be a little challenging to get this right, as it is often difficult to find a spot where the plant gets the four hours of bright, but indirect sun light it needs.
Impatiens can be moved outside for the summer, but needs to be shaded away from direct exposure to summer sun. When returning the plant indoors, it is necessary to check for spider mites, a pest that has a taste for Impatiens and may spread onto other plants if inadvertently introduced into the home.
This house plant needs to be watered regularly to prevent it drying out and wilting. It is, however, important not to let the soil get soggy. Deadheading spent flowers will not only keep the plant looking tidy, it will also encourage more flowers.
As Impatiens blooms most abundantly when slightly pot-bound, it should only be repotted when the roots completely fill the pot. Repotting is best done in spring and using a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot caused by soggy soil. The new pot usually needs to be only one size larger than the old container.