Published: 18 September 2012
Impatiens put on a Performance
Many of our garden plants are only now showing a respectable show of colour as a result of the higher temperatures and light levels over the past few weeks.

The Impatiens x harkeri are providing good flower and foliage displays this year.
One group of plants that have given a good show since being planted out in border displays and containers are the New Guinea Impatiens. The best have been the hybrid Impatiens x hawkeri.
A bonus this year has been the resistance of Impatiens x hawkeri  to mildew during the extremely wet weather.

Comments from commercial growers recently have revealed that these plants appear to adapt to ‘local’ growing conditions. When light levels are low they still flower well but when the sun comes out they respond quickly by producing a lot more flower buds and foliage; then during any dull periods of weather they do not appear to be unduly affected and show little signs of stress.
Provided the garden soil or container compost is constantly kept moist, but not water logged, these hybrid Impatiens are a great way to bring strong colours into any garden display. 
To benefit from these showy plants for longer, give them some protection with horticultural fleece before the first signs of frost in the autumn. If they are in small pots, bring them indoors and have them as house plants for a few weeks.
Always remember to dead head plants to encourage more flowering and remove old leaves to keep the plants looking good and reduce the risk of grey mould developing.
It is worth noting that Impatiens x hawkeri are a different plant to the bedding Busy Lizzies that have succumbed to downy mildew,  a fateful strain of fungal disease. This strain of plant has now been withdrawn from sales at most garden centres and nurseries; it will be several years for plant breeders to produce new resistant strains.
Reported by Chris Allen  

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