Impatiens are not, as widely supposed, named for their fast growth but more for the plant's seed pods which, when touched, may suddenly "explode" to disperse its seed in all directions.
Also called "Touch Me Not" or "Busy Lizzy", delicate impatiens are disceptively hardy flowers second only to petunias for ease of growth - whether in the backyard garden, or window boxes, containers, pots or in hanging baskets.
In early spring, purchase transplants from a local nursery or garden center, or plant seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before planting season begins. Out in the garden, establish plants in a semi-shady spot in light, well-drained soil. To avoid bloom wilt, be sure impatiens get plenty of water, especially during the warmer summer months.
By mid-summer, impatiens may get long and leggy. Maintain their attractive bushy shape by pruning them down to about 6 - 8 inches tall.
Impatiens wallerana, and Impatiens balsamina are currently the only two varieties widely
available among some 1,000 species of impatiens known. Even so, you can choose from among a wide variety of colors for planting - including white, pink, red, orange, purple, lilac, and rose, providing a wild splash of vivid color in any home garden.
Generally disease free, impatiens may be plagued by garden pests such as thrips, spider mites, and white flies, which can easily be removed by spraying with a mild insecticide or soapy water solution.
On the Web - how to grow impatiens :
How to Grow Impatiens - Check out a basic primer on impatiens with a brief overview, facts on propagation & growth, insects & diseases.
PlantFacts - Impatiens - Hear the audio file to learn how to pronounce its full Latin name, then view photos in the gallery and read the reference notes for a complete fact sheet on impatiens wallerana.
Impatiens from Seed - Check out instructions on proper sunlight & temperature, watering, hardening off, and additional tips to keep your impatiens growing.