The Q&A Archives: Growing Impatiens in Clay Soil

Question: I live in southeastern Wisconsin and last year I planted hostas from root and impatiens in a new bed in a very shady area. I mixed lots of peat moss in with the bed because it was almost solid clay. The hostas did okay but the impatiens didn't growany larger than when I planted them. I watered and fertilized regularly. Could the problem be with the soil or is it just to shady? If you can't answer this could you refer someone to me who can? Thank You!

Answer: The shade should not have been a problem for the impatiens; more likely it was the heavy soil that stunted their growth. Keep mixing in lots and lots of organic matter -- leaves, grass clippings, compost -- to help lighten it. Your soil pH may also be quite low; you might want to test it, either with a home test kit (Burpee sells one) or through your local Extension Service (The number for the Wisconsin Cooperative Extension main office is 608/263-2775) If it tests low, add the recommended amount oflime to bring pH up to around 6.5.

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