Impatiens are a long-time favorite for adding splashes of color to shady beds. Blooming from spring until frost, impatiens can fill in the gaps between bloom times of shade perennials. Growing in little mounds no larger than one foot tall and two foot wide, impatiens can be tucked into bare areas in the shade garden. Their compact habit also makes them great for shady bedding plants or borders.
Companion Planting with Impatiens
Before getting into what to plant with impatiens, let me tell you what impatiens bring to the table as companion plants. Impatiens attract beneficial insects. As stated above, they add long lasting, vibrant color to dark shady areas, and make excellent borders.
Impatiens’ fleshy, succulent-like stems store water and make them drought resistant, so they do not compete with other plants for water and can be used in dry shade beds. As companion plants, the dense foliage of impatiens can keep the soil moist and cool for its companions.
Companion Plants for Impatiens
An old-fashioned favorite in the South is pairing impatiens with azaleas. Other shrub companion plants for impatiens are:
- Japanese pieris
- Mountain laurel
- Witch hazel
Older landscapes tend to just have yews or boxwoods planted in shady areas around the house. While it’s nice to have that evergreen effect throughout the winter, these beds can be quite boring in the summer when all others are full of blooms. Impatiens can border these monotonous evergreen beds, adding the pop of color they need.
In shade containers or flower borders, these make lovely companion plants for impatiens:
- Asparagus fern
- Sweet potato vine
- Elephant ear
- Wishbone flower
When companion planting with impatiens, their bright pink, red, orange and white flowers beautifully add contrast to plants with dark or yellow foliage. Some perennial impatiens plant companions with dark foliage are ajuga, coral bells, and cimicifuga. A few yellow foliage perennials that nicely contrast impatiens include Aureola Japanese forest grass and citronella heuchera.
Additional companion plants for impatiens are: