This rare species comes from South-Africa, to be more precise, from the mouth of St. John’s River in Natal. It is a tuberous-rooted species and produces annual growth. It can take some frost as long as it is covered over in winter. It can also be grown in a cool greenhouse, but will get straggly if it gets too hot. The risk of spider mite will also be greater if the temperatures gets too high. It will flower from July onwards, no matter where it is grown. The colour of the flower varies from pinkish-white to pink; the most common colour in circulation is the one you see in my picture below.
The plant is propagated either by seed or cuttings; the latter being the most common means of reproduction as there is little seed available, because you need two clones to get seed. The cuttings of this species will produce a tuber unlike, for instance, impatiens tuberosa which does not. The plants grow to about 50-100 cm high in pots and topping will force it to produce side shoots for a nice bushy plant. In the wild, it can grow to 2 metres high.

 

Impatiens flanaganae

Impatiens flanaganae

Advertisements

A species well worth growing for its long flowering period. It is a tuberous-rooted sort that comes from Madagascar. The tubers appear the first year from seed and the growth above the tuber will die off that year leaving the tuber to overwinter. It produces new growth the following year. The tuber normally grows above the ground in the wild, so do not be tempted to plant it under the soil or it will rot off. These plants can easily be propated from cuttings, but then the tuber does not come back and the vegetative part will only last a year, unlike cuttings taken from Impatiens flanaganae which do produce a tuber. Therefore, the flowers of tuberosa need to be pollinated to get seed in order to produce a plant with a tuber.
The flowers are produced in abundance, close to the top of the stem in full view. They are normally pollinated by bees, but can easily be pollinated by hand. The colour of the flower is dark pink with very little variation, unlike Impatiens bicordata which has a large range of colours.
The minimum temperate in the winter should be about 10°C and you must keep the tubers dry to avoid rot. In summer it can be kept outside, but preferably in the shade. It can take high temperatures, but keep it well-watered then. Normal potting soil is fine; it does not require special mixtures, but avoid soil with a high clay content. The only problem with pests is likely to be red-spider mite and keeping the air moist will help to combat that. I hope to offer this sort next year on my list.

 

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens tuberosa

Impatiens niamniamensisis is a tropical species from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a very easy plant to grow. It can reach a height of about 2 metres and will spread outwards if you let it. It is easy to propagate by tip-cuttings; it will root in about 4-6 weeks by a temperature of about 20°C. The flowerbuds do not need to be removed from the cuttings, because this has no effect on the rooting.

It likes a minimum temperature of 10°C and will carry on flowering throughout the winter. The red and yellow flowers are mainly produced in the top of the plant, but also along the leafless stem. It is not fussy as regards soil, but prefers a moist soil that does not dry out too quickly.
Another common sort is the type with pink and green flowers which has the same growth habits and requires similar conditions. They are relatively pest-free, but watch out for scale and spint.

 

Impatiens niamniamensis

Impatiens niamniamensis

Impatiens niamniamensis pink and green

Impatiens niamniamensis pink and green

Most people when they think of Impatiens think of Busy Lizzies, but there are over a 1000 different species spread around the globe, except for South America and Australia. They can be divided into two groups; the helmet type and the flat type. Impatiens mirabilis belongs to the helmet type. It originates from Thailand where it grows in warm tropical conditions. It can grow into a small tree reaching a size of up to 3 meters. It has a distinct caudex whereas most Impatiens do not have a caudex at all. There are only about a dozen species known that have a caudex. Despite the fact that it grows in tropical conditions, it can take quite a bit of dryness and survive happily on a minimum of water. In the winter it will lose all its leaves and will start growing again in early spring. The flowers are produced in the summer, yellow being the more common colour. Pink ones also exist, but are much rarer. If you cross the yellow with the pink, the yellow is more dominant and you will eventually lose the pink ones.

Propagation is mainly by seed, but cuttings – although difficult – are also possible. If you want to catch the seed, make sure to put something around the seed pod or they will spring all over the place. The seed can be kept up to 3 months before sowing, but can lose viability quickly after that. Flowering from seed can take 3 to 4 years.


There is another species of caudiciform Impatiens in cultivation, I. kerriae, which is very similar and often confused with I. mirabilis. The main difference is that the kerriae has a single flower at the end of the flowering stem whereas the mirabilis has a number of flowers on one stem. The mirabilis is becoming more readily available from speciast nurseries, which will help to ensure its survival.

 

Impatiens mirabilis (photo taken at Holm nursery)

Impatiens mirabilis (yellow form)

Impatiens sodenii is a very easy plant to grow. In the summer, it can be gown outside, in shadow or in full sun. In the full sun, the leaves turn a reddish colour which makes the plant more attractive. It flowers well with white flowers for the ‘ordinary’ sodenii, also known as ssp. sodenii, and pink for the ssp. oliveri. There is a third variety, ‘Magenta Flash’, with a much larger splash of bright red in the center of the flower. The plants grown in shade can reach a height of 3 metres, but those grown in the sun stay a lot smaller, up to about 1 metre. This species is found in Kenia and Tanzania, growing in exposed rocky outcrops where it stays a lot smaller, also depending on the amout of rain it gets.
It is easily grown from seed or cuttings, preferably in the spring to get a good start. It is not fussy as regards the soil requirement, but does like regular feeding. As with most Impatiens, it does not like frost, so make sure to bring it back inside before the winter.

 

Impatiens sodenii ssp. oliveri

Impatiens sodenii ssp. oliveri

 

Impatiens sodenii ssp. sodenii

Impatiens sodenii ssp. sodenii

 

Impatiens sodenii Magenta Flash

Impatiens sodenii Magenta Flash

This rare epiphytic species comes from India (Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and is very easy to grow. It can stand a lot of drought and starts to regrow when the monsoon rains occur. It flowers in the autumn in western Europe, but may do so at other times in other parts of the world. If kept watered, it will stay in leaf all the year round, but will not flower all the year round. The flowers are very similar to Impatiens niamniamensis and Impatiens keillii.

It roots very easily from cuttings and can be grown either in a pot or on, for instance, a coco peat block. Keep a minimum of 10°C in the winter and reduce watering to avoid rot.

 

Impatiens parasitica

Impatiens parasitica

This perennial species comes from Sri Lanka and India, specifically from the western Ghats of Tamil Nadu, and is one of the late flowering sorts. It is flowering in my greenhouse at the moment and the flowers are white with splashes of red and between 5 and 7 cm in size. It requires warmth (15-20°C) to do well; it can be kept at 10°C but will not grow or flower so well in cooler conditions. When the temperatures are right and it is kept in a shady place, it can grow into a real bush of up to one or one and a half metres in height. It needs to be cross-pollinated to obtain seed which I have been doing this year and to catch the seed I have used empty teabags which works very well. Perhaps I will get enough seed to be able to offer it on the webshop next year.

 

Impatiens grandis

Impatiens grandis