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How to grow Impatiens

Impatiens (im-pa-she-ens)

From the Latin impatiens in reference to the way in which the seed pods of some species burst and scatter their seed when touched (Balsaminaceae). Balsam, busy lizzie. A genus of about 500 species of annuals, biennials and sub-shrubs mostly from the mountains of Asia and Africa. The succulent hollow stems are brittle and much-branched. Few species are now cultivated; those that are may be grown in flower borders or under glass, or in the home as house plants.

Species cultivated I. balsamina, 1 feet, rose, scarlet and white, summer, annual, greenhouse. I. holstii, 2-3 feet, scarlet, almost continuous flowering, half-hardy, greenhouse perennial ; var. Imp Series, F1, low growing, brilliant mixed colours, in shade and sun. I. petersiana, 1 foot, reddish-bronze leaves and stems, red, almost continuous flowering, half-hardy, greenhouse perennial. I. sultanii, 1-2 feet, rose and carmine, almost continuous flowering, greenhouse perennial. I. amphorata, 5 feet, purple, August, annual. I. roylei (syn. I. glandulifera), 5 feet, purple or rose-crimson, spotted flowers in profusion, summer, annual.

Cultivation Greenhouse plants are potted in a mixture of equal parts loam, leaf-mould and sharp sand in well-drained pots, during February or March. They do best in well-lit conditions and require moderate watering March-September, but only occasionally otherwise. They require a temperature of 55-65°F (13-18°C) from October to March, 65-75°F (18-24°C) March to June, and about 65°F (18°C) for the rest of the time. Pinch back the tips to make them bushy during February. Hardy species do well in ordinary soil in a sunny position, about 6 inches apart. I. holstii can be grown as a bedding plant and prefers light shade out of doors; it will tolerate varied temperatures. Propagate by seed in spring, sown in heat for the greenhouse species, and out of doors where the plants are to grow, for the hardy species, or by cuttings taken March to August, and placed in sandy soil in a temperature of 75°F (24°C).

 



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