Caring For Your New Guinea Impatiens
You’ve likely heard of the New Guinea impatiens. It is a species of flowering plant native to the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Today, this plant has been hybridized to be grown as a garden plant. Read on to learn more.
Gardeners growing the attractive, comparatively new breed of impatiens will concur that they are fantastic. They have enormous, vibrant flowers and variegated leaves. And hydrated!
These are the New Guinea impatiens, not the more well-known impatiens (I. wallerana) that have been grown by gardeners for centuries to add color to shady places.
The New Guinea plants enjoy sun, increasing their utility in the landscape.
It can be assumed that their preference for the sun is what causes them to be so thirsty.
Most of the time, plants need daily watering, but they understand if you forget.
After being immersed in water for 30 minutes, I have witnessed plants that appeared to be hopelessly withered come back to life and become as vibrant and stunning as ever.
Most New Guinea impatiens require up to one-half day of direct sunlight. According to Expert, if the plants are cultivated in complete shadow, the flowers won’t be as vivid, and the leaves won’t be as variegated as they are when grown in at least sunlight.
He advised biweekly feedings at a rate of four level teaspoons per gallon of water with a soluble fertilizer, such as one with a 20-20-20 ratio.
Few plant introductions have enjoyed such rapid popularity. Plant breeders created the showy, compact, floriferous cultivars currently available from spindly, under-flowering examples found by plant explorers in the rainforests of New Guinea in the early 1970s.
While most plants are grown through cuttings, hybridizers always develop new seed culture varieties.
One of the original seed-grown F1 hybrid New Guinea cultivars, Tango, was selected as an All-America Selection in 1989. With 2 1/2-inch vivid orange blossoms, it blooms continually.
Propagating New Guinea Impatiens
New Guinea impatiens have enjoyed increasing popularity since first being introduced more than 20 years ago. New varieties continue to be introduced, and this year, the Paradise series developed in Germany will be widely available.
Names such as Bora-Bora, Tahiti, Barbados, etc., feature flower colors from bright orange to violet to strawberry-pink.
Named varieties of New Guinea impatiens need to be increased from cuttings each year.
Once we decide on our personal favorites, we pot up a few plants in the fall to safely keep indoors during the winter months. We cut back these plants before potting them for their indoor stay.
Early in the new year, as daylight increases again, our potted impatiens plants offer new growth. We take cuttings every few weeks from our stock plants and soon have all the young plants we can use in May for hanging baskets, containers, and summer bedding.
Gardeners unfamiliar with raising cuttings as a method of plant recycling know that impatiens is one of the easiest plants to start from cuttings.
In 10 days or so, impatiens cuttings will begin to take root. Pot them up in small pots, and a few weeks later, you can cut their tops off to have them branch out, and we often use the nipped-off tips as cuttings.
Why New Guinea Impatiens Wilt
There are three main reasons why New Guinea impatiens wilt:
- Heat stress
- Insufficient irrigation, and
The ideal circumstance is for the soil to be evenly wet and free of water extremes. These watering issues can lead to more serious issues because they foster an environment conducive to bacterial and fungal issues.
Since spores and bacteria that cause disease are found in soil, it is always advised to use fresh, sterile soil in containers.
The other is that newly mixed potting soil drains efficiently, allowing excess water to be removed from the soil.
Numerous fungi that reside in the soil create stem rot. The fungus encircles the stem, causing the growth above to wilt and perish. It is more common in dense soil that is still wet after irrigation.
Similar effects on the plant are caused by bacterial wilt, which can be detected by a yellow ooze inside the damaged stems.
As it would reduce the number of spores splattered onto the plant during watering or rainfall, mulching would often be beneficial.
However, the mulch will also keep moisture in the soil, encouraging the fungus to grow. Mulch shouldn’t be placed against or close to where the stems poke through the ground.
Sadly, the answer is that if a plant has wilt or rot, there isn’t much you can do beyond removing the diseased parts, keeping the soil moist but not saturated, and letting the soil’s surface dry out a little between waterings.
Typically, the plants won’t endure. Next year, ensure the containers have adequate drainage, the potting mix is fresh, the pots are sanitary, and the watering is routine but not excessive.
The pots must not be left submerged in water. Infected plants should be removed and thrown in the garbage since they can infect all neighboring impatiens quickly.