How to Grow Impatiens Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Busy Lizzie, Snapweed, Jewelweed, Touch-me-not

Impatiens are a large genus of half hardy annuals or perennials. These are often grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.

Impatiens plants range in height from 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet). In bloom, they carry flat open flowers of vibrant pink, orange, red, white, or purple colors.

Impatiens glandulifera
Impatiens glandulifera – Himalayan Balsam, Kiss me on the mountain by Blumenbiene.

They bloom from the end of spring until the first frost of the winter.

Impatiens walleriana
Impatiens walleriana Busy Lizzie by Wm Jas.

Some of the common names for Impatiens include Busy Lizzie, Touch me not, Balsam, Patient Lucy, Snapweed, and Lady's slipper. Latin names include Impatiens parviflora, Impatiens balfouri, Impatiens auricoma and Impatiens walleriana.

Commonly Grown Impatiens Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Impatiens walleriana

Impatiens walleriana
Impatiens walleriana (Busy Lizzie / Balsam / Impatiens), photograph by manuel m. v.; CC.

Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina
Impatiens balsamina (Garden Balsam / Rose Balsam / Touch-me-not / Spotted Snapweed), photograph by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

Impatiens capensis

Impatiens capensis
Impatiens capensis (Common Jewelweed / Orange Jewelweed / Orange Balsam), picture by Judy Gallagher; CC.

How to Grow Impatiens

Impatiens Growing Guide and Facts

Common Names: Impatiens, Busy Lizzie, Jewelweed, Balsam, Snapweed, Touch-me-not.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual. Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 20 to 78 inches (50 to 200 cm).
Native: Northern Hemisphere and tropical regions.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zone 10.

Flowers: Spring until first frost.
Flower Details: Most colours: common ones include pink, red, orange, white and purple. Shoe shaped spur. Some species have flattened flowers similar to violets.
Foliage: Shiny leaves. Greasy feel on the adaxial side of the leaf. Variegated.

Sow Outside: Surface. Following last frost. Spacing 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm).
Sow Inside: Use vermiculite. Water from below. Keep humid. Germination time: one week to one month. Temperature 75°F (24°C). Two to three months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors three or four weeks after the last frost; minimum temperature should not drop below 50°F (10°C).

Requirements: Shade for best results; partial shade is fine in cool areas. Prepare soil first by mixing in manure. Soil pH 6 to 7. Rich soil. Moist soil. Supply a couple of feeds. Regular watering. Pinch tips of young plants. Propagate: spring or autumn cuttings.
Family: Balsaminaceae.
Miscellaneous: Impatiens means impatient. The genus gets this name for the way that it disperses their seeds explosively if they are touched.

How to Grow Impatiens

When planting Busy Lizzie and other Impatiens plant members in the garden, the seed should be sown on the surface following the last frost of spring.

Busy Lizzies like to grow in a shaded area of the garden, though they are tolerant of sun.

Impatiens plants prefer a rich, well manured soil of pH 6 to 7.

If you first plan to grow Busy Lizzie and other Impatiens species indoors, then the process should be started about 9 or 10 weeks in advance. Plan to transplant out a few weeks after the last frost of spring.

For gemination indoors, sow the seeds in vermiculite, and supply high humidity and a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees (about 50°F).

As plants are partial to leaf rot, it is important to only water the seedlings from below. The germination time is typically from one to four weeks.

Caring for Busy Lizzie - Impatiens Plant Care

Once growing Impatiens should be pinched back to encourage branching. They should be fed a couple of times, and be well watered.

If you would like further plants, then cuttings can be taken in the spring or autumn.

Alternatively, let the plants set seed in situ.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Impatiens plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing African native flower guides: How to grow African daisy, Hibiscus, Geranium, and Ixia plants.