If you love the look of impatiens but your flower beds get strong sunshine for part of the day, New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) will fill your yard with color. Unlike classic impatiens plants, which are shade lovers, New Guinea impatiens flowers tolerate up to half a day of sun in most parts of the country. These colorful blooms come in bright shades from lavender to orange, spanning the rainbow with a choice of bedding colors. Caring for New Guinea impatiens is no more difficult than any other flower, as long as you keep the plants well-watered throughout the hottest parts of the year.
How to Grow New Guinea Impatiens
The thing to remember about New Guinea impatiens is that, although it will tolerate moderate amounts of sunshine, it still thrives in light shade. Flower beds on the east side of a building, which get morning sunshine and afternoon shade, are ideal locations for these plants. Fill the beds with mass plantings for the best look. Each plant will grow into a rounded mound, and if planted 18 inches (46 cm.) apart, they'll grow to fill in the entire space in a matter of weeks. Keep the plants in the front of the bed 12 inches (31 cm.) away from the edging to keep the front branches from growing onto the lawn or sidewalk.
Caring for New Guinea Impatiens
The best growing tips for New Guinea impatiens have to do with paying attention to small details. None of the varieties of this plant can tolerate drought very well, so keep the soil moist with soaker hoses or other watering devices. In hot summer months, this may mean daily watering that soaks deep into the ground. This plant can be a heavy feeder, so give it monthly feedings of a low-nitrogen plant food. This will encourage the plant to grow without discouraging any of the flower production. Once you know how to grow New Guinea impatiens, you'll find that it's a useful plant for planters and hanging baskets as well as for mass bedding. Move the containers each day to keep the plants in the shade for most of the day and you'll find they thrive in almost any planting group.
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