Sweet Orange Impatiens

By Susan Littlefield

Impatiens has long been a favorite choice for all summer color in the shade garden. But unfortunately in the past few years a new disease called downy mildew of impatiens has decimated plantings in many parts of the country. First observed in this country in 2004, it has reached epidemic proportions in recent years, causing many gardeners to rethink their use of what used to be considered an easy-care plant.

Fortunately for impatiens lovers, there are some types that are not affected by downy mildew. While all types of garden impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are affected, New Guinea impatiens (I. hawkeri), including SunPatiens®, are not affected. Which makes Impatiens New Guinea Florific™ Sweet Orange, a 2014 All-America Selections National Bedding Plant Award winner, a great choice for brightening up a shady spot in your landscape.

'Sweet Orange' produces masses of large, bicolored flowers in a unique mix of colors from light salmon to deep orange that stand out against bronzy foliage. Plants naturally develop good branching on a mounded plant, so they work well planted in masses in garden beds as well as in containers. An ideal location will provide morning sun and afternoon shade, but plants are adaptable to a variety of conditions. And they will flower until frost without falling prey to downy mildew. Look for 'Sweet Orange' in local garden stores this spring.

New Guinea impatiens are heat-lovers, so wait until nights are reliably above 45-50 degrees F before setting plants outside. Give them consistently moist but not soggy soil and fertilize lightly but regularly.

To read more about Florific™ Sweet Orange New Guinea Impatiens, go to All-America Selections. (Image courtesy of All-America Selections)

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