The Q&A Archives: Perenial Impatiens

Question: I have multicolored impatiens, which I did not plant, that have bloomed thoughout areas of my landscape. I would like to know 1) what type of impatiens grows as a perennial, if I choose to reseed them, as I love them and would like to have more and 2) how do I maintain them and encourage them to spread?
P.S. I am from Wisconsin, so when these flowers came up on their own, it was quite a shock!

Answer: There are actually three members of the Balsam family that are perennial and one that is an annual but freely self-sows. New Guinea impatiens is a perennial with variegated leaves. Since they're hybrids, you may get slightly different plants from any seeds they produce. Impatiens wallerana, or Busy Lizzie is a perennial with dark green, glossy leaves. Finally, there is Touch-Me-Not, an upright perennial that forms seedpods that literally pop open when the seeds are ripe. Perhaps from these descriptions you can decide which plant is in your yard. Impatiens can grow in full sun to full shade and the exposure varies with the species you're growing. All appreciate moist, well-draining soil. Other than that, they're pretty much carefree.

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