Rose balsam is an old-fashioned flower related to bedding impatiens and, like its close cousin; it is widely adaptable, generously flowering, and ideal for shady gardens. The seed capsules on most plants in the genus Impatiens will explode if touched when ripe, catapulting their seeds across the garden.
Description of rose balsam: Narrow, elongated leaves emerge on plants that can reach from 1 to 21/2 feet high, depending on the cultivar. Cup-shaped flowers, both singles and doubles that resemble camellias, emerge in open spikes usually punctuated with leaves. The flower clusters are particularly showy on compact varieties, which cluster their flowers high on the stem. The flowers are white, purple, pink, or red.
How to grow rose balsam: Provide rich and moist but well-drained soil in light shade or full sun in cool climates. Plant prestarted seedlings outdoors after the danger of spring frost has passed.
Propagating rose balsam: By seed. Plant seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost. Provide temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect germination to begin in 8 to 10 days.
Uses for for rose balsam: Use rose balsam in the middle of a mixed border or to fill an entire bed in shade.
Rose balsam related varieties: 'Carambole' reaches 14 inches high and gives a good color display. The 6- to 8-inch-high 'Topknot Mix' holds its double flowers above the foliage. 'Camellia Flowered' have huge double flowers in pink, rose, scarlet, and white. 'Extra Dwarf Tom Thumb Mixed' reach only 8 to 12 inches high and are able to tolerate some drought.
Scientific name for rose balsam: Impatiens balsamina