Busy Lizzies have become one of the most popular summer bedding plants of all time, with a huge variety of flower colours and types to choose from. There are two types: common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), which need a shady position, and Impatiens hawkeri, Impatiens 'New Guinea Group', which are bigger and happy in sun or partial shade.
These popular bedding plants are tender perennials, but most gardeners grow them as annuals, replacing them each year. As they are not hardy, don't plant out Impatiens 'New Guinea Group' until all risk of frost has passed. A spot where they get sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon is ideal. In a warm, sheltered spot they make flamboyant bedding displays. New Guinea impatiens also make a big impact in pots, making for an easy way to brighten patios and doorways. They have exotic, vividly marked, often large leaves, and conspicuous large flowers in various shades of lilac, red, rose and orange.
Grow Impatiens 'New Guinea Group' in moist but well-drained soil in partial shade. Feed fortnightly with a high-potash fertiliser and deadhead spent blooms to prolong flowering. They all thrive in shade, one of the plant's great attractions, but this is not essential and the plants are perhaps even more floriferous in good bright light. They are also relatively weather-proof, although the more compact varieties are better at withstanding wind.
Because New Guinea impatiens do not survive winters in the UK, most gardeners dispose of them after the growing season. However, you can take them indoors to overwinter, and you should get flowers again the following spring.
How to care for new guinea impatiens
Plant out Impatiens 'New Guinea Group' plants once the danger of frost is over. Pinch out the tips of young plants to encourage bushy growth. Water regularly as the plants don’t like drought and feed through the growing season with a general fertiliser. Look out for pests such as aphids and mealybugs.
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Advice on buying Impatiens 'New Guinea Group'
- Buy New Guinea impatiens as plug plants in early spring, or garden ready plants in late spring to early summer
- Save money by buying plug plants and growing them on indoors
- Plug plants can usually be bought in packs at the garden centre, but you may get a wider choice of varieties online
Where to buy New Guinea impatiens