How to Grow and Care for Jewelweed

Jewelweed plant with small orange and red flowers on thin stems surrounded by large leaves

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Sometimes referred to as the spotted touch-me-not, jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) can flourish in environments that many other plants can't tolerate. This includes in soggy soil and deep shade. The North American native appears to sparkle when wet, which is the source of its common name.

Planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed, jewelweed has a fast growth rate. It can reach up to about 5 feet tall with branching, weak stems and blue-green, oval leaves that are toothed and partially fuzzy. In the summertime, cornucopia-shaped flowers appear, then give way to seed capsules that, when mature, can split at the slightest touch (which is how the plant got the name touch-me-not).

Common Name Jewelweed, orange jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not
Botanical Name Impatiens capensis
Family Balsaminaceae
Plant Type Annual
Mature Size 2–5 ft. tall, 1.5–2.5 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Partial, shade
Soil Type Moist
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Summer, fall
Flower Color Orange, yellow
Hardiness Zones 2–11 (USDA)
Native Area North America

Jewelweed Care

Jewelweed is considered an easy plant to grow and requires little hands-on care once it's established. It generally doesn't have any issues with pests or diseases. And the dense growth of jewelweed can actually help to discourage the development of weeds, which will lower your garden maintenance overall. Just make sure the jewelweed is planted in an area where the soil remains moist.

Jewelweed plants grow higher when they are located in clusters. If seeds are sown close together, the plants will help to support each other as they develop taller stems. But if you'd like to keep your jewelweed on the shorter side, space the seeds farther apart.

Jewelweed plant with tiny orange flowers on thin stems and leaves in sunlight

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Jewelweed plant with large leaves and tiny orange flowers on thin stems

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Jewelweed plant with tiny orange flowers on thin stem closeup

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault


Jewelweed does well in dappled sunlight to full shade. It can tolerate direct morning sun, but strong afternoon sun can be too harsh for the plants.


Jewelweed prefers an organically rich soil that retains moisture. Digging a thick layer of compost into your soil prior to planting is a great way to give your plants a nutrient boost. A slightly acidic to neutral soil pH is best.


Jewelweed thrives in evenly moist soil and will wither if the soil becomes too dry. It can even survive occasionally waterlogged soil. Water whenever the top inch of soil dries out. And consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain soil moisture.

Temperature and Humidity

Jewelweed is not hardy to cold temperatures, and exposure to frost can damage or kill it. It can survive fairly hot temperatures as long as it has sufficient shade and soil moisture. Likewise, it can tolerate a range of humidity levels, though it doesn't thrive in very dry conditions. 


Jewelweed generally doesn't need supplemental fertilizer. However, if you have very poor soil, it's ideal to add compost at the time of planting and then side-dress with compost in the summer.


It can be difficult to prevent jewelweed from propagating on its own via its explosive seed pods. However, pruning off the seed pods before they mature can help to control its spread if that's what you wish. Otherwise, no pruning should be necessary.

Propagating Jewelweed

Jewelweed is very easily propagated via its seeds. Strategically propagating allows you to put plants where you want them, rather than allowing jewelweed to spread on its own. And having more plants near one another will promote taller stems and consequently more flowering. Here's how:

  1. Collect mature jewelweed seeds from plants in the early fall.
  2. Plant them right away in your preferred location about 1/4 inch deep. This will expose them to the cold winter temperatures that they need to germinate in the spring.
  3. Mark their location so you don't disturb them before they begin to grow in spring.

How to Grow Jewelweed From Seed

To grow purchased jewelweed seeds, first you’ll need to put them through stratification to simulate winter temperatures. Two to three months before your area's projected last spring frost date, put the seeds in the refrigerator. 

Then, once the threat of frost has passed, direct sow the seeds in your garden just slightly covered with soil, as they need some light to germinate. Make sure the soil remains moist, and you should see germination within a week or two, depending on soil temperature. 

Potting and Repotting Jewelweed

To grow jewelweed in a container, use a quality potting mix that retains moisture. But make sure the container still has drainage holes. Note that container plants generally need watering more frequently than those grown in the ground, so check moisture levels frequently on your potted jewelweed.

You can start seeds in a small container. But then it's best to transplant seedlings to a container that can accommodate jewelweed's mature size rather than having to repot throughout the season. A 5-gallon container should suffice. And a plastic container will help to retain soil moisture.


Jewelweed is an annual plant, completing its life cycle in one growing season. So it doesn't require overwintering maintenance. And typically it will self-seed on its own without any winter help to grow new plants in the spring.

How to Get Jewelweed to Bloom

Jewelweed's unscented flowers appear in the midsummer and continue into fall. They have four to five petals and stretch around 1 to 3 inches across. They're typically orange or yellow-orange in color with reddish spotting.

Deadheading, or removing the spent blooms, isn't essential, though it can help to promote further blooming. But jewelweed generally blooms readily on its own without any special care from you.

Common Problems With Jewelweed

When jewelweed grows in conditions it likes, it generally thrives and spread vigorously. However, issues with its environment can be the cause of some problems.

Drooping Leaves

Jewelweed plants will quickly droop if they don't have enough moisture. Especially in hot, dry conditions, it's important to check your jewelweed's moisture levels regularly. You might need to water multiple times per week in some climates. 

Plant Leaves Falling Off

Jewelweed might lose its leaves due to prolonged drought. Frost also can cause leaf drop, which is why it's key not to plant until there's no more frost in the spring forecast.

  • What's the difference between jewelweed and yellow jewelweed?

    Yellow jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) is a species related to Impatiens capensis, though it's less common than the orange-flower variety. Yellow jewelweed's blooms are yellow with reddish spots, and they are larger than orange jewelweed's blooms.

  • Where should I place jewelweed outside my home?

    Use jewelweed to fill shady and/or boggy spots where many other plants won't grow. It can do well along the edges of ponds and other water features, as well as low-lying areas. Plus, it can be used to out-compete non-native species.

  • What are alternatives to jewelweed?

    If you're looking for flowers that will grow in shade, there are several other choices besides jewelweed. Consider coral bells, other impatiens species, bleeding heart, lungwort, and rhododendrons.