Thursday, May 28, 2009

Impatiens

When spring arrives and I make my annual visits to local nurseries, I suffer from gotta-have-it-syndrome. After many years of killing plants, I've learned there are some I'd better avoid. But not impatiens. Every year I plant a long row of these against a wall and they're always gorgeous. I just put these in yesterday, so they're tiny. But by mid-summer, that mulch will barely be visible. They'll grow together and will be covered with pink blooms.

Impatiens are annuals, so they're killed by frost. But they're such rewarding plants, that they're worth planting each year. I don't do much more than pop them into the ground. They usually come in packages of four to six, but buy them small, because they'll grow in no time.

There are two keys to growing impatiens. They need water. Plan to water them. The other very important thing is that they love shade. Impatiens can stand some sun, so morning sun is fine, but don't plant them where they'll get constant sun. Half a day of sun is about all they can take. That doesn't mean you should plant them in a dark forest, either -- they need some sun!

New Guinea impatiens tend to cost more and have different requirements, so stick with simple impatiens. They come in an Elfin variety that grows in a more mound-like fashion. The Elfins, as the name implies, don't grow as tall. I planted the regular kind this year. The one on the right is an extra plant that was left over. I pooped it into a pot, and I think it doubled in size overnight!

Easy to grow impatiens get five cupcakes!

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