Nothing brings more interest to the shadier portions of your yard than gorgeous blooming impatiens – especially when you can keep them blooming strong from spring til fall!
Impatiens have long been a favorite annual choice for growing in the shade. Whether planted in baskets and containers on a porch or patio, or in shaded flowerbeds around the home, they add a burst of color that is hard to beat.
Although there are other perennials and annuals that perform well in the shade, most provide more greenery than full-on color. And unfortunately, those that do bloom tend to have smaller flowers with muted colors.
But that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to growing impatiens. With hundreds of soft flowering petals in a multitude of colors, they can light up the shadiest of areas.
And when we say a multitude of colors, we mean every every color under the rainbow and then some! Impatiens really are the rock star of shade. And it’s easy to find a style or color to go with nearly any theme or setting.
How To Keep Your Impatiens Blooming Like Crazy
Impatiens are actually a fairly low-maintenance, easy-care annual plant. In fact, there are really just 3 key factors to growing and maintaining healthy, thriving plants. And it all starts with selecting the right space for them to grow!
#1 ) Providing The Right Light For Impatiens
Growing beautiful impatiens all begins with selecting a location that protects them from too much sun, while still allowing enough light to the plants for them to flourish. This applies to both bedding plants, and to baskets, pots and containers.
One of the most common reasons impatiens fail is that they are placed in a location that they simply cannot handle. It’s either too hot and sunny, or way too dark and shady. (This does not apply to New Guinea Impatiens or Sunpatiens, which can handle full sun)
So what is the ideal lighting for impatiens? For best results, select a location that receives no more than 1 to 2 hours of full-on, direct sunlight each day. In addition, make sure that sunlight is never middle-of-the-day sun.
Afternoon sunlight is simply too hot for standard impatiens to handle on a daily basis. It dries out too much moisture from within the stems, and leads to unhealthy and struggling plants. Instead, select locations that receive full sun early in the morning, or late in the evening as the sun sets.
#2) Fertilizing For Success
Healthy, thriving impatiens will produce hundreds of blooms per plant. And all of those blooms require and use a lot of nutrients from the soil. Nutrients that need to be replaced on a regular basis to keep plants flowering all season long.
Without giving plants an additional source of power, they will simply run out of steam before the end of the growing season. But how you give that power also plays an important role in their bloom cycles.
As with all annuals, liquid fertilizers really are the best choice for the job. Liquid fertilizers absorb quickly into the plants via the roots and foliage. This allows the plant to send plenty of resources to fire up new blooms and flowers.
Impatiens respond much better to a lighter dose of fertilizer given at regular intervals. By giving the plants a reduced amount of fertilizer but supplying it more often, it will keep them on a steady growing pace.
Unfortunately, too much power all at once can create more foliage and root growth than blooms. For impatiens growing in containers, pots and baskets, this can lead to plants outgrowing their space and becoming root bound quickly.
What To Use For Fertilizing – How To Keep Impatiens Blooming
Homemade compost tea and worm casting tea are excellent choices for fertilizing impatiens. They can be watered down and diluted to half strength to give a low but steady stream of nutrients. (See : How To Make Compost Tea)
There are also many excellent commercial organic liquid fertilizers on the market that perform well too. Products like Natures Care All Purpose Plant Food can be mixed at half strength to work well.
For best results, fertilize impatiens every 7 to 14 days with a half-strength mix.
And the final big key for keeping your impatiens blooming strong? Proper watering! Impatiens require a fair amount of water to perform at their peak. With that said though, you have to be careful not to over-water.
If impatiens roots become water logged, it will quickly result in plant failure. If your finger can be placed down in the soil to a depth of about an inch and come up dry, it’s time to water. On the other hand, if it is wet and holds moisture, hold off with the water.
It is important to never let plants dry out for too long between watering. When allowed to dry out, it damages the cell walls of plants and will result in weaker plants over time.
Don’t Forget That Soil! How To Keep Impatiens Blooming Strong
Beyond the three tips above, it is important to note that the soil your plants grow in is an important factor in their success.
The better the soil, the better you impatiens will perform. Impatiens love rich, fertile and most importantly, well-draining soil. This can really become important as the plants grow and mature through the summer months.
Impatiens love to have consistent water, but if the soil becomes overly damp or cannot drain away excess moisture, that is when trouble can begin.
For containers and baskets, always use a high quality potting mix that allows the plant’s roots easily absorb nutrients, and still drain away excess water. Potting soils that contain large amounts of humus, perlite and pulverized compost are all excellent choices.
When planting in flowerbeds, work in generous amount of compost to keep the soil light and full of nutrients. The better the soil, the more your plants will thrive. For bedded plants, mulch is a must.
Mulch helps conserve soil moisture and keeps the soil temperatures regulated. In the case of impatiens, that is extremely important to their overall health. They are not a lover of heat, sun or hot soil, and the mulch keeps that soil from getting too hot.
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