The Q&A Archives: Double Impatiens

Question: I purchased $70 of double impatiens at the store in Glenview.I watered them every other day and fed them once with Vigoro. Only 1 plant is living the rest have died in 2 weeks.Plants in planters on a balcony railing.I am totally disappointed. What went wrong?

Answer: Impatiens are subject to a number of fungal diseases. They need good air circulation and careful watering to keep them healthy. Water on the leaves can cause problems (as you've discovered). The potting soil needs to be moist but the top should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. Too much water can actually suffocate the roots because it excludes oxygen. Without seeing the plants I don't know if they wilted because of disease or because the roots were kept overly wet. I know you're disappointed but these are such beautiful plants that I'd take a risk and try again. Use fresh potting soil and instead of watering on a schedule, water thoroughly and then let the top of the potting soil dry out before watering again. Stick your finger into the soil prior to watering to see if it is drying out a half inch below the surface. If so, it's time to water; if not, you can hold off on watering for another day or two. Hope you have better results with your second batch of plants!

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