Impatiens are low growing, soft wooded (herbaceous) flowering shrubs, commonly called Balsam or Busy Lizzie. They belong to the family: Balsaminaceae.
One of the most popular plants, grown around the world, as garden shrubs and colourful boarders in the tropics and mild climates, or annual bedding plants or indoor plants in colder climates.
Appearance: Low shrubs and herbs. Tender, mostly succulent ornamentals.
Flowers: Wide variety of colours available, and flowering for long periods in warm conditions (summer peak).
Features: Some make excellent container, basket or border plants. Used to provide colour in shaded spots.
Requirements: Fertile, moist, but well drained soil preferred. Warm, frost free conditions required. Commonly grown in partial shade or filtered sunlight (e.g. bush house).
Culture: Propagated by seed or cuttings. Can be grown in the open if treated like annuals. Grow under glass in cooler areas/seasons.
Pest & Disease: Leaf hoppers, grasshoppers, caterpillars, mites, whitefly; fewer problems with single flowering types than double cultivars or New Guinea hybrids.
Species & Varieties:
Approximately 500 species, mostly herbs or annuals, including:
I. Balsamina (Garden Balsam) - A small, shrub, mainly grown as an annual to about 0.8m, but generally less. Many forms, often double flowered, are available. Doubles are more susceptible to pest damage.
I. Oliveri - erect perennial to 2m with lilac flowers held solitary.
I. Wallerana (I. Sultanii) (Busy Lizzy) - A succulent perennial herb to about 0.8m, but generally less, the branches usually forming a flat top. Leaves lanceolate - ovate to elliptic -oblong, and from 3-10cm long, green or reddish green on both surfaces. Flowers solitary, or in axillary or terminal clusters with a wide variety of colours available, including red, orange, pink, purple, white and carmine. There are many cultivars available, including dwarf ones. Commonly used as a bedding plant, or in containers.
New Guinea Hybrids -These are plants bred from various New Guinea species (eg. I. hawkeri and I. linearifolia), sometimes crossed with other south east Asian species. They usually have attractive foliage (sometimes variegated or very dark green), and more vibrant flower colours. They are more susceptible to attack by leaf eating insects.
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