How To Grow New Guinea Impatiens
Colour your summer with this versatile Impatiens; in the garden or indoors
The New Guinea impatiens are a great value bedding plant, they flower all summer into autumn and they make quite a large plant so you don’t need as many to have a good show. They have become a lot more popular in the last few years as they don’t get the highly contagious downy mildew that has plagued Busy Lizzies. Unfortunately Busy Lizzies are one of the few summer bedding plants that will thrive and give you some colour in a shady spot. The New Guineas won’t thrive in the shade but do need to be out of the midday sun. The flowers are much larger than Busy Lizzies and come in shades of orange, red and lavender, and also pure white. As their name suggests they are a tropical plant native to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Pick a spot out of the midday sun but where they receive morning and late afternoon sun. If planting in the garden you need good moisture retentive, but not soggy, fertile soil. If you are growing it as a houseplant don’t place it in a south facing window, it will last a lot longer if shaded from the midday sun and kept on the cool side.
If planting in containers use good quality peat-free compost with slow release fertiliser and water retention gel added. When planting in the garden add some balanced fertiliser such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone. They make a thick mound about 30cm (12”) in diameter so don’t plant them too close together.
They won’t thrive if they become dry so make sure they are kept well-watered, especially in a drought. Feed every week with a high potash fertiliser, such as Tomorite, if you feed with a nitrogen based fertiliser you will end up with a big plant but not many flowers. Deadhead regularly to encourage it to go on producing more flowers. Treat the houseplant just the same as you would in the garden.
Pests and diseases
They will suffer from slugs and snails so take the usual precautions.
Mildew can also be a problem so make sure you don’t let them dry out and ensure there is a good airflow around them.