The Q&A Archives: Impatients Poor Growth

Question: Every year we try planting impatients in our garden. They never flourish. However we often see many of our neighbors' flowers do much better, and bigger than ours. WHY and how can we make our plants do better?

Answer: There are a number of possible answers to your question. Impatiens do best in a rich organic soil that is evenly moist yet well drained (not soggy). A few inches of organic mulch wll help keep the soil moist. The pH should be near neutral or between 6 and 7. The soil should be renewed every year if they are in pots, and should have fresh organic material added to it every year if they are in the ground. They do well in partial shade or dappled light or morning sun but resent full sun and hot afternoon sun. If they are stressed prior to planting or are repeatedly stressed for water or if they are receiving inadequate nutrients (or are ovefertilized) they will not grow well. If they are competing with trees or shrubs for water or nutrients or sunlight they may not do well. If they are planted too early into cold soil they may not do well....and if the transplants are of poor quality to begin with they may not do well no matter what you do. Finally, if you have grown them in the same spot year after year there is a possibility that there is some sort of soil borne disease affecting your plants. If they are seriously stunted and you suspect this may be the cause you might want to check with your County Extension (566-0673) for a specific diagnosis and suggested controls.

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