New Guinea Impatiens

By: C. Colston Burrell
New Guinea impatiens are multicolor annual flowers. See more pictures of annual flowers.

New Guinea impatiens is a species of the vast genus impatiens, which flower in all colors (except true blue and yellow). The New Guinea impatiens was discovered on a plant hunting expedition to Southeast Asia. The growing habits of impatiens make them ideal low-maintenance plants. Many impatiens varieties were originally stowaways on trading ships from Africa and naturalized in Central and South America.

Description of New Guinea impatiens: New Guinea impatiens form compact, succulent subshrubs with branches growing 1 to 2 feet tall by summer's end. Leaves are long and narrow, green, bronze, or purple. Flowers, growing up to 2 inches in diameter, are white, pink, lavender, purple, orange, and red.


Growing New Guinea impatiens: Fertile, moist soil high in organic matter is preferred by New Guinea impatiens. They are more sun-loving than the other impatiens. They will tolerate more sun if their roots are kept moist. Incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting. They should only be planted after the danger of frost has passed and the ground has warmed. Space 9 to 15 inches apart.

Propagating New Guinea impatiens: By seed or by cuttings. Only two varieties of New Guinea impatiens are available from seed so far. Sow 10 to 12 weeks before planting outside. Germinate at 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not cover, since seeds need light to germinate, but mist to keep moist. Cuttings root quickly and easily in 2 to 3 weeks.

Uses for New Guinea impatiens: Impatiens should be used in masses of color in beds and borders. Cluster three or more in groups beside garden features. Plant them in containers and in hanging baskets.

New Guinea impatiens related varieties: Tango, grown from seed, has fluorescent-orange flowers. Sunshine hybrids, grown from cuttings, are a series that include many with variegated foliage and flowers in all colors -- white, pink, red, orange, lavender, and purple. They also have bicolors. Look for constellation and meteorological names: Cirrus, Gemini, etc.

Scientific name of New Guinea impatiens: Impatiens species


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