New Guinea Impatiens: A Colorful Annual to Brighten Shady Spots

Fill your landscape's shade and part-shade spots with the sparkling colors and big blooms of New Guinea impatiens. They're also a high-impact choice for container gardens.

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Brighten shady corners of your landscape with something besides traditional impatiens: Try New Guinea impatiens. This impatiens cousin opens beautiful, large flowers on plants with eye-catching foliage in shades of green, burgundy tints and variegated forms. New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) is an easy-growing annual that isn’t demanding in terms of care.

Bounce Pink Flame New Guinea impatiens

Try Something New

This New Guinea impatiens called Bounce Pink Flame ‘Balboufink’ has the look of traditional shade-loving Impatiens walleriana, but it won’t succumb to downy mildew disease. This is a 2015 All-America Selections award winner, which means it grows well in all regions of the country.

Photo by: Image courtesy of All-AmericaSelections.org

Image courtesy of All-AmericaSelections.org

This New Guinea impatiens called Bounce Pink Flame ‘Balboufink’ has the look of traditional shade-loving Impatiens walleriana, but it won’t succumb to downy mildew disease. This is a 2015 All-America Selections award winner, which means it grows well in all regions of the country.

How Are New Guinea Impatiens Different?

An impatiens is an impatiens, right? Not so much. The primary advantages to New Guinea impatiens are:

  • New Guinea impatiens can take more sun than regular impatiens
  • New Guinea blooms are larger and come in a wider variety of color
  • Some New Guinea hybrids can take full sun

Compared to traditional shade-loving impatiens, New Guinea impatiens offers several positive differences. First, the flowers are larger. You’ll find a similar wide variety of blossom shades in both types of impatiens; neither offers a strong sky blue. Yellow has been an elusive flower color in impatiens, but New Guinea impatiens brings that in the variety Vision Yellow. New Guinea impatiens flowers open in a host of other dazzling hues, including orange, red, pink, white, purple and lavender.

Second, New Guinea impatiens tolerate more sun than traditional bedding impatiens. New Guineas grow in full or part shade. They thrive in a spot that receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade. In warmest zones where summers are hot and humid, New Guinea impatiens definitely benefit from light shade. Full sun can damage plants in those areas — unless you’re growing the sun-tolerant needs a fertile, moisture-retentive, well-draining soil. That takes a little work.

How to Grow New Guinea Impatiens

In planting beds, work plenty of organic matter into soil prior to planting. You might consider mixing in a commercial bagged landscape mix. If your soil is heavy clay, raised beds may be in order. In containers, use a commercial container mix. Soil-less and most often peat-based, these mixes help New Guinea impatiens thrive in pots.

Watering & Fertilizing

Incorporate slow release fertilizer into planting beds and pots where you’ll be growing New Guinea impatiens. These hearty bloomers are heavy feeders, and they benefit from a steady supply of nutrients.

Water is the other secret to growing beautiful New Guinea impatiens. These are not xeriscape plants. New Guinea impatiens need a steady supply of moisture. In the landscape, soaker hoses beneath mulch, or drip irrigation plus mulch, works best in warmest zones. In cooler northern areas, you won’t have to water as frequently.

The other advantage that New Guinea impatiens offer over traditional impatiens is that these bigger bloomers aren’t susceptible to downy mildew disease. Use New Guinea impatiens to brighten shade in areas where downy mildew has made growing impatiens impossible or unwise.

About SunPatiens

A special New Guinea hybrid called SunPatiens tolerates full sun better than most. They are also lighter feeders than traditional New Guinea impatiens, but in the South expect to provide some supplemental feeding as the season wears on. SunPatiens plants flower from planting time until the end of the year — or until frost takes them out, whichever comes first. SunPatiens require daily watering in all regions, but the volume of water applied will be less in northern gardens.

SunPatiens Impatiens For Sun

Tropical Rose SunPatiens

Vigorous and versatile, SunPatiens take traditional impatiens to the next level with plants that thrive in shade or sun. SunPatiens is the result of a cross between two different impatiens species: New Guinea impatiens and traditional shade-loving Impatiens walleriana. The result is a plant that grows in shade or sun and stands up to high temperatures with ease. Plants add color to the garden or pots from spring through fall’s hard frost. Variegated leaves dazzle in shady settings. Plants grow 14 to 28 inches tall and 14 to 24 inches wide.

Photo by: SakataOrnamentals.com

SakataOrnamentals.com

Vigorous and versatile, SunPatiens take traditional impatiens to the next level with plants that thrive in shade or sun. SunPatiens is the result of a cross between two different impatiens species: New Guinea impatiens and traditional shade-loving Impatiens walleriana. The result is a plant that grows in shade or sun and stands up to high temperatures with ease. Plants add color to the garden or pots from spring through fall’s hard frost. Variegated leaves dazzle in shady settings. Plants grow 14 to 28 inches tall and 14 to 24 inches wide.

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