The Plant: The popular summer-flowering outdoor plant, Impatiens walleriana, has some bolder more vibrant cousins, the New Guinea hybrids.
These are larger, fleshier plants with sturdy stems and
bronze-green foliage. The flowers are larger than the Impatiens
walleriana, and of a more intense colour, deep red or scarlet,
shocking pink, jazzy orange, or white.
Its needs: New Guinea Busy Lizzie hybrids require strong light but avoid direct sun over summer. Plants will survive in semi-shade but will quickly become straggly with poorer flowering.
A rich potting mix should be used, with regular watering over summer, but minimal watering during winter. Warmth and humidity essential for growth. Mist spray foliage, but not flowers, in hot dry weather.
Care: Use a
season-long feed in spring to promote good flowering,
water regularly to maintain turgid appearance. Pinch back early
new growth to make a bushier plant. If an Impatiens has become
too straggly cut back to approximately 5cm from base. New growth
should appear a couple of weeks later. It is easy to grow the
New Guinea hybrids from cuttings. Watch for Botrytis, (grey mould), aphids, and
red spider mite.
Good for: The Impatiens, whether the smaller outdoor variety, which can be grown in a cool conservatory or porch, or the larger New Guinea hybrids, all make ideal gifts. The vibrancy of the flowers against the intense lush foliage of the New Guinea hybrids make these plants quite spectacular. Easy to maintain and uplifting.