How To Plant Impatiens [ Full Guide ]

Impatiens, also known as touch-me-not, are popular annual plants known for their colorful blooms and ability to thrive in shady areas. Planting impatiens can transform your garden or landscape with vibrant colors and lush greenery. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, knowing the right techniques for planting impatiens is essential for ensuring healthy growth and beautiful flowers. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the planting process, from understanding impatiens varieties to ideal soil preparation and the best planting time.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Impatiens

  1. Understanding Impatiens Varieties:

    • There are various impatiens varieties such as the common garden impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), and Sunpatiens (Impatiens hawkeri x walleriana).
    • Understanding the differences in varieties will help you choose the most suitable type for your garden.
  2. Choosing the Right Location for Planting Impatiens:

    • Impatiens thrive in partial to full shade, making them perfect for areas with limited sunlight.
    • Select a well-drained location that provides protection from harsh afternoon sun.
  3. Ideal Soil Preparation for Impatiens Planting:

    • Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter, well-draining, and slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.5).
    • Incorporate compost or organic material to improve soil fertility and texture.
  4. Impatiens Planting Time and Season:

    • Plant impatiens after the dangers of frost have passed, typically in spring or early summer.
    • Space the plants according to their mature size and provide adequate moisture for establishment.

Understanding Impatiens Varieties

Before delving into the planting process, it’s crucial to understand the different impatiens varieties available. Each variety has its unique characteristics, growth habits, and environmental requirements, which will influence your choice and overall planting success.

Common Garden Impatiens (Impatiens Walleriana)

The common garden impatiens, or Impatiens walleriana, is the most widely recognized variety. These plants are known for their profuse, colorful blooms and ability to thrive in shaded areas. Garden impatiens come in a vast array of colors, including pink, red, orange, purple, and white, making them versatile for landscaping and gardening designs.

New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens Hawkeri)

New Guinea impatiens, scientifically known as Impatiens hawkeri, are another popular variety prized for their larger, showier blooms and vibrant foliage. Unlike the common garden impatiens, New Guinea impatiens tolerate more sun, making them suitable for partially shaded to lightly sunny locations. The foliage of New Guinea impatiens often exhibits variegated patterns and attractive hues, adding visual interest to garden beds and containers.

Sunpatiens (Impatiens Hawkeri X Walleriana)

Sunpatiens are a hybrid variety created from a cross between New Guinea impatiens and the traditional garden impatiens. This innovative hybrid has been developed to thrive in both sun and shade, providing gardeners with a versatile option for various lighting conditions. Sunpatiens typically display vigorous growth, larger flowers, and enhanced resistance to disease and environmental stress.

Understanding these impatiens varieties will help you select the most suitable type based on your garden’s light conditions, design preferences, and environmental factors.

Choosing The Right Location For Planting Impatiens

Impatiens thrive in locations with partial to full shade, making them an excellent choice for brightening up shaded areas of your garden. When selecting a location for planting impatiens, consider the following factors to ensure optimal growing conditions:

Light Requirements

  • Choose a location that receives indirect or filtered sunlight for most of the day. Avoid planting impatiens in areas with intense, direct sunlight during the afternoon, as this can cause wilting and leaf scorch.
  • In areas with limited shade, consider planting New Guinea impatiens or Sunpatiens, which are better able to tolerate slightly more sunlight compared to traditional garden impatiens.

Soil Drainage

  • Ensure the chosen location has well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.
  • If the soil is prone to poor drainage, consider amending it with organic matter or raised bed gardening to improve drainage and aeration for the impatiens.

Protection From Harsh Elements

  • Select a location that provides protection from strong winds and heavy downpours, as these can damage the delicate foliage and flowers of impatiens.
  • Planting impatiens near taller shrubs, trees, or structures can offer natural protection from adverse weather conditions.

By carefully choosing the right location, you can create a favorable environment for your impatiens to thrive and produce an abundance of colorful blooms.

Ideal Soil Preparation For Impatiens Planting

Preparing the soil before planting impatiens is crucial for providing the plants with essential nutrients, adequate drainage, and optimum growing conditions. Follow these steps to ensure your soil is well-prepared for successful impatiens cultivation:

Soil Composition And Ph

  • Impatiens thrive in fertile, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH level in the range of 6.0-6.5. Testing the soil pH using a home test kit can help you determine if any amendments are needed to adjust the acidity.
  • Incorporate organic material, such as compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss, into the soil to improve its fertility, structure, and moisture retention capabilities.

Organic Matter Addition

  • Prior to planting, spread a layer of organic matter over the soil surface and work it into the top few inches of the soil using a garden fork or tiller.
  • Organic matter enriches the soil with vital nutrients, promotes beneficial soil microorganisms, and contributes to improved soil texture and moisture retention.

Soil Aeration And Compaction

  • Ensure the soil is loose and well-aerated to facilitate healthy root growth and water infiltration. Compacted soil can impede root development and reduce the overall vigor of the impatiens plants.
  • If the soil is compacted, use a gardening fork or aerating tool to gently loosen the top layer and improve soil structure before planting the impatiens.

By addressing soil composition, pH, and structure through proper preparation, you can create a nutrient-rich and well-draining environment that promotes vigorous growth and prolific blooming in impatiens.

Impatiens Planting Time And Season

The timing of planting impatiens plays a critical role in their establishment and overall success. By aligning your planting schedule with the right season and environmental conditions, you can ensure that the impatiens have the best chance to thrive and produce an abundance of vibrant flowers.

Planting Season

  • Plant impatiens after the danger of frost has passed in your region, typically in late spring or early summer. Frost can damage or kill tender impatiens plants, so it’s essential to wait until temperatures are consistently above freezing.
  • In warmer climates, impatiens can be planted in late winter or early spring, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures before the onset of intense heat.
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Plant Spacing

  • When planting impatiens, consider the mature size of the variety you are planting and space the plants accordingly. Common garden impatiens typically require spacing of 8-12 inches apart, while larger varieties like New Guinea impatiens may need slightly more space to accommodate their growth.
  • Providing adequate spacing between plants allows for proper air circulation, reduces competition for nutrients, and prevents overcrowding that can lead to disease and pest issues.

Watering And Establishment

  • After planting, water the impatiens thoroughly to settle the soil and ensure proper moisture levels for the newly transplanted plants. Keep the soil consistently moist (but not waterlogged) during the establishment period to support root development and minimize transplant shock.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the impatiens plants to help retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth during the growing season.

By observing the appropriate planting season, spacing the plants correctly, and providing adequate moisture and care, you can set the stage for robust growth and an abundant display of colorful blooms from your impatiens.

Planting impatiens can be a rewarding experience, bringing an explosion of color and beauty to your garden or landscaping. Understanding the different impatiens varieties, selecting the right location with suitable light and soil conditions, and preparing the soil appropriately are fundamental steps for successful impatiens cultivation. By adhering to the planting guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can create an ideal environment for impatiens to flourish and thrive, yielding a spectacular floral display that enhances the charm and vitality of any outdoor space.

How To Start Impatiens From Seeds

Impatiens are popular flowering plants known for their vibrant colors and ability to thrive in shady areas. They are easy to grow and maintain, making them a great choice for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

Starting impatiens from seeds is an economical and rewarding way to fill your garden with these beautiful flowers. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Gather the necessary materials: You will need impatiens seeds, seed trays or pots, a seed-starting mix, and a spray bottle.

2. Prepare the seed-starting mix: Fill the seed trays or pots with a well-draining seed-starting mix. Moisten the mix using a spray bottle until it is evenly damp, but not soaking wet.

3. Sow the seeds: Sprinkle the impatiens seeds evenly on the surface of the seed-starting mix. Do not bury the seeds, as they require light to germinate.

4. Mist the seeds: Gently mist the surface of the mix with water using the spray bottle. This will help settle the seeds into the mix and provide the required moisture for germination.

5. Cover the trays or pots: To create a humid environment for germination, cover the trays or pots with a clear plastic dome or plastic wrap. This will help retain moisture and heat.

6. Provide the right temperature: Impatiens seeds prefer warm temperatures for germination. Place the trays or pots in a warm location, ideally between 70°F and 75°F (21°C to 24°C).

7. Remove the cover once germination occurs: After about 10 to 14 days, you should start to see tiny seedlings emerging. Once the seedlings are visible, remove the cover to allow air circulation.

8. Provide proper light: Place the trays or pots in a well-lit area but avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the delicate seedlings. Fluorescent lights or a bright windowsill are ideal for providing adequate light.

9. Thin out the seedlings: Once the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, thin them out to provide sufficient space for growth. Remove the weaker seedlings, leaving the strongest ones to mature.

10. Harden off the seedlings: Before transplanting the seedlings outdoors, they need to be acclimated to the outdoor conditions. Gradually expose them to more sunlight and outdoor temperatures over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Propagating Impatiens From Cuttings

Another method of growing impatiens is through cuttings. This allows you to propagate multiple plants from a single parent plant, ensuring consistency in color and form. Here’s how you can propagate impatiens from cuttings:

1. Select a healthy parent plant: Choose a mature impatiens plant with healthy foliage and vibrant flowers as your parent plant.

2. Prepare the cutting: Take a 3 to 4-inch (7 to 10 cm) cutting from the parent plant just below a leaf node. Remove any lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only a few at the top.

3. Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone (optional): To promote root development, you can dip the bottom end of the cutting in a rooting hormone. This step is optional but can increase the success rate of root formation.

4. Prepare a pot with a well-draining rooting medium: Fill a small pot with a well-draining rooting medium, such as a mix of perlite and peat moss. Moisten the medium slightly.

5. Plant the cutting: Make a small hole in the rooting medium using a pencil or your fingertip. Insert the cutting into the hole, ensuring that at least one node is buried in the medium.

6. Mist the cutting: Mist the cutting and the surrounding medium with water to provide moisture and create a humid environment.

7. Cover the pot: Place a clear plastic bag or a plastic dome over the cutting to create a mini greenhouse. This will help retain moisture and humidity.

8. Provide indirect light: Place the pot in a location with bright but indirect light. Direct sunlight can be too intense for the cutting and may cause leaf burn.

9. Monitor and mist regularly: Check the cutting frequently to ensure that the medium remains slightly moist. Mist the cutting and the inside of the plastic bag or dome if needed.

10. Transplant the cutting: After 4 to 6 weeks, the cutting should have developed a healthy root system. At this point, you can transplant it into a larger container or directly into your garden.

Proper Transplanting Techniques For Impatiens

Transplanting impatiens is an important step in ensuring their successful growth and development. Here are some tips to help you transplant impatiens properly:

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1. Choose the right time: Transplant impatiens outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. In most regions, this is usually in the late spring or early summer.

2. Prepare the planting location: Choose a location in your garden that receives partial to full shade. Impatiens thrive in shady areas with rich, well-draining soil.

3. Prepare the soil: Before transplanting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil and add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve fertility and drainage.

4. Dig the planting hole: Dig a hole in the prepared soil that is slightly larger than the root ball of the impatiens plant. Make sure the hole is deep enough so that the plant will sit at the same level it was previously growing.

5. Remove the plant from its container: Carefully remove the impatiens plant from its container, being mindful not to damage the roots or disturb the soil too much.

6. Place the plant in the hole: Gently place the impatiens plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Fill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the plant to eliminate any air gaps.

7. Water the plant: Immediately after transplanting, water the impatiens thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

8. Add mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of the impatiens plant. This will help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

9. Space the plants properly: If you are planting multiple impatiens, make sure to space them according to the recommended guidelines. This will prevent overcrowding and allow each plant to receive adequate airflow and sunlight.

10. Monitor and care for the transplanted impatiens: After transplanting, closely monitor the impatiens for the first few weeks. Provide regular watering, especially during dry periods, and protect the plants from extreme weather conditions.

Best Practices For Watering Impatiens

Proper watering is crucial for the health and vigor of impatiens plants. Here are some best practices to follow when watering impatiens:

1. Water deeply: When watering impatiens, it is important to water deeply to encourage the roots to grow downwards. Shallow watering can result in weak root systems and decreased plant health.

2. Monitor soil moisture regularly: Impatiens prefer consistently moist soil, but they do not tolerate waterlogged conditions. Check the moisture level of the soil regularly by inserting your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.

3. Water in the morning: Watering in the morning allows the foliage to dry off during the day, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Avoid watering in the evening or at night, as prolonged moisture on the leaves can promote disease development.

4. Use the right amount of water: The exact amount of water needed will depend on factors such as temperature, humidity, and soil type. As a general guideline, apply enough water to moisten the top 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) of soil.

5. Water at the base of the plants: When watering impatiens, direct the water at the base of the plants rather than overhead. This helps prevent leaf diseases and ensures that the water reaches the roots where it is needed most.

6. Use a drip irrigation system: Installing a drip irrigation system can help ensure efficient and consistent watering for your impatiens. This method delivers water directly to the root zone, minimizing water waste and leaf wetting.

7. Mulch to conserve moisture: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the impatiens plants to help conserve soil moisture. Mulch also helps regulate soil temperature and suppress weeds.

8. Adjust watering during hot weather: During periods of hot weather, impatiens may require more frequent watering. Monitor the soil moisture closely and increase the frequency of watering if necessary.

9. Avoid overwatering: Overwatering impatiens can lead to root rot and other problems. Always ensure that the soil is well-draining and allow the top layer of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

10. Observe the plants for signs of stress: Watch out for signs of under or overwatering, such as wilting, yellowing leaves, or stunted growth. Adjust your watering practices accordingly to maintain optimal soil moisture.

Planting impatiens can bring vibrant colors and beauty to your garden, whether you start them from seeds, propagate from cuttings, or transplant established plants. With the right techniques and care, you can enjoy a flourishing impatiens display that will brighten even the shadiest corners of your garden. Remember to provide adequate water, sunlight, and proper soil conditions to keep your impatiens healthy and thriving. Happy planting!

Impatiens Fertilization And Nutrient Requirements

Impatiens, also known as "touch-me-not" or "busy lizzie," are popular flowering plants that add vibrant color to any garden or landscape. These annuals are loved for their bright and showy blooms, which come in a wide range of colors including pink, red, purple, orange, and white. Impatiens are relatively easy to grow and are a favorite among both novice and experienced gardeners.

Before planting impatiens, it is crucial to ensure that your soil is rich in nutrients. Impatiens thrive in well-draining, loamy soil that is high in organic matter. Here are the steps to prepare your soil and provide the necessary nutrients:

  1. Start by testing your soil’s pH levels. Impatiens prefer a slightly acidic soil, with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH with the addition of elemental sulfur or organic materials like peat moss.

  2. Enhance the nutrient content of your soil by incorporating organic matter such as well-rotted compost or aged manure. This will not only provide essential nutrients but also improve the soil texture and drainage.

  3. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer before planting impatiens. Look for fertilizers with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or a similar composition. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct application rate.

  4. During the growing season, provide additional nutrients to your impatiens plants by applying a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks. Choose a water-soluble fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants.

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Managing Pests And Diseases In Impatiens

While impatiens are generally hardy plants, they can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to manage them effectively:

Pest Control

  1. Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects can be controlled by spraying with insecticidal soap or using a strong jet of water to dislodge them from the plant.

  2. Spider Mites: These tiny pests can cause discoloration and webbing on the leaves. Regularly misting the leaves and using an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil can help control spider mites.

  3. Slugs and Snails: These pests can chew holes in the leaves of impatiens. Handpicking them or using baits and traps can help reduce their population.

Disease Management

  1. Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease appears as a white, powdery coating on the leaves. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure good air circulation around the plants by spacing them adequately. If the disease is already present, treat with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew control.

  2. Downy Mildew: This disease causes yellowing and wilting of the leaves. It thrives in cool, humid conditions. To prevent downy mildew, avoid overhead watering and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Fungicides labeled for downy mildew control can be used if necessary.

  3. Botrytis Blight: This fungal disease causes dark spots and a fuzzy grey mold to develop on the flowers and leaves. Remove and discard any affected plant material promptly. Provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent botrytis blight.

Regular monitoring, proper sanitation practices, and early intervention are key in preventing and managing pests and diseases in impatiens.

Pruning And Deadheading Impatiens Plants

To ensure your impatiens plants remain compact, bushy, and continue to produce abundant blooms, regular pruning and deadheading are essential. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Deadheading: Remove spent flowers by pinching or snipping them off at the base of the stem. This will promote continuous blooming and prevent the formation of seed pods.

  2. Pruning: If your impatiens plants become leggy or overgrown, you can trim them back to maintain their shape and encourage new growth. Use sharp pruning shears and make clean cuts just above a leaf node or branching point. This will help the plant develop a fuller and more compact form.

  3. Pinching: To promote bushiness and multiple branching, pinch back the tips of the stems when the plants are young. This will encourage them to grow more lateral branches and result in a denser plant overall.

Remember to water your impatiens plants after pruning to help them recover and continue thriving.

Winterizing Impatiens Plants

Impatiens are tender annuals, meaning they cannot tolerate frost or cold temperatures. In regions where winters are harsh, impatiens are typically grown as annuals and replanted each year. However, in more temperate climates, it is possible to overwinter impatiens and enjoy their beauty for multiple seasons. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Before the first frost, dig up your impatiens plants carefully, making sure to include as much of the root ball as possible. Shake off excess soil gently to expose the roots.

  2. Trim back the plants by approximately one-third to one-half of their height. This will reduce the stress on the plant during the winter months.

  3. Place the trimmed plants in pots or containers using well-draining soil. Water the plants thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

  4. Find a suitable location for overwintering, such as a cool basement, garage, or greenhouse. The temperature should be around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius). Ensure that the plants receive adequate light but avoid direct sunlight, as this may cause them to dry out.

  5. During the winter months, check on your overwintered impatiens regularly to ensure they do not dry out. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

  6. In early spring, as the threat of frost passes, gradually acclimate your impatiens plants to outdoor conditions. Start by placing them in a sheltered and partially shaded area for a few hours each day, slowly increasing the exposure to sunlight and outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days.

  7. Once the weather has warmed up and all danger of frost has passed, transplant your overwintered impatiens back into the garden. Prepare the soil as described earlier and ensure the plants receive proper care to encourage healthy growth.


Planting and caring for impatiens can be a rewarding experience, as these colorful annuals brighten up any garden or landscape. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be able to successfully plant and grow impatiens while ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients, managing pests and diseases effectively, pruning and deadheading for optimal growth, and even overwintering them in milder climates. With proper care, your impatiens will thrive and provide a vibrant and stunning display that will be the envy of any garden.


What Temperature Is Best For Planting Impatiens?

Impatiens prefer temperatures between 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit; however, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 degrees and as high as 85 degrees.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Impatiens?

The best time to plant impatiens is in the spring after the last frost has passed.

How Much Sunlight Do Impatiens Need?

Impatiens prefer partial shade to full shade. They can thrive in areas with dappled sunlight or 2-4 hours of direct morning sunlight.

What Type Of Soil Is Ideal For Planting Impatiens?

Impatiens prefer moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A neutral pH level (6.0-6.5) is best for their growth.

How Far Apart Should I Space Impatiens When Planting?

When planting impatiens, you should space them 6-12 inches apart, depending on the variety. This will allow enough air circulation and room for the plants to grow.