Once upon a time, impatiens were the go-to flower for shade gardens. And then, the downy mildew epidemic changed the way we garden. While there are lovely replacements for your shade garden, including fuchsias, begonias, and coleus, you shouldn't give up on the possibility of growing impatiens in your garden. Horticulturists are always developing new impatiens varieties, including those that are highly resistant to the fungal disease. Imapatiens walleriana continue to be the subset of impatiens that are affected by downy mildew. Gardeners can circumvent the disease by planting improved New Guinea impatiens varieties.
Ball Horticultural Company hasn't given up on the classic Impatiens walleriana, and has even initiated an impatiens gene sequencing project with the company KeyGene to identify the genes that carry disease traits. As we wait for new Impatiens walleriana to be developed and introduced, consider the latest New Guinea impatiens, bred to exhibit increased blooming and a more compact habit than before. These nine vigorous varieties will thrive in your borders, window boxes, and hanging baskets this season.
01 of 09
Ball Horticultural Company, the same breeders and distributors that gave us the Wave petunia family, introduced this vigorous impatiens variety that thrives in both sun and shade. Impatiens walleriana is the most susceptible to downy mildew, but the hybrid Bounce series of impatiens resists the disease with an ability to "bounce" back after wilting in hot weather.
02 of 09
Bounce Pink Flame 'Balboufink'
Ideal for containers, hanging baskets, and a border edge, 'Balboufink' was named a 2015 All-America Selections winner, meaning this variety exhibits superior disease resistance, a long bloom time, and novel colors. The profuse flowers are over an inch in size, and will attract butterflies to your garden. Look for three additional color choices in the Bounce series, including white, cherry, and bright coral.
03 of 09
This variety of New Guinea impatiens produces two-inch flowers well-branched plants throughout the summer in shade gardens. Plants are low maintenance, and require no deadheading to stay in bloom throughout the season. Unlike some new varieties that are vegetatively propagated, Divine Mix is available in seed, making it an economical option for gardeners with large landscapes to fill.
04 of 09
SunPatiens Spreading Shell Pink
What is it about this new SunPatiens introduction that got the attention and recognition of All-America Selections judges? The plant shrugs off summer heat, rain, and wind, producing soft salmon pink flowers from early spring until frost. Flowers may reach three inches in size, attracting hummingbirds with nectar-rich flowers. Plants average two feet in height, and require minimal fertilizing.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Florific Sweet Orange
Wherever you decide to place the compact, mounding plants of Florific Sweet Orange impatiens in the garden, their bi-colored orange blooms will stand out. Fertilize and deadhead these flowers monthly to ensure repeat blooming from late spring until frost. The hue and form of the blossoms appeal to all pollinators, from bees and butterflies to hummingbirds.
06 of 09
SunPatiens Compact Pink
In sun or shade, compact SunPatiens faithfully produce pink flowers all season, through periods of heat and drought. This versatile plant seems to know how you want it to grow, topping out at around 18 inches in containers and exceeding three feet in the garden. Try SunPatiens as a houseplant on a sunny windowsill when frost approaches.
07 of 09
SunPatiens Compact Royal Magenta
The scarlet blooms of this SunPatiens variety are unaffected by downy mildew, giving you three seasons of vibrant blooms in full sun or dappled shade. For best results, plant in well-draining soil, and fertilize lightly to avoid lanky plants. Expect the dramatic flowers to arouse the curiosity of hummingbirds.
08 of 09
Zesty orange hues bring sunshine to the summer garden, and pair well with hot red flowers or as a contrast to purple and blue blooms. Infinity Orange is a Proven Winners introduction, and although you might consider it a goof-proof plant, it is a thirsty plant. New Guinea impatiens need a daily water check on dry days in the summer, especially if they're growing in pots. It's a small price to pay for disease-free blooms that endure until first frost.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
What flower garden doesn't benefit from a soothing white counterpoint to provide balance in the landscape? Florific white New Guinea impatiens are available as seed, so you can fill up your moon garden with mildew-free impatiens. Sow seeds early indoors, about four months before your last frost, to enjoy the longest bloom time.