Most gardeners are familiar with impatiens, a popular choice for shady beds, borders or gardens. New Guinea impatiens are a close cousin of impatiens, with the added benefit of being able to grow better with more direct sunlight.
So how do you care for New Guinea impatiens? We put together a guide for New Guinea impatiens below.
First, a little more about New Guinea impatiens.
What are New Guinea impatiens?
New Guinea originated from, you guessed it, Papua New Guinea, and also the Solomon Islands. Over the years, this type of plant has been bred to create an impressive line of garden favorites.
New Guinea impatiens have striking foliage and beautiful blooms (larger than impatiens’ blooms) that can bloom in a variety of colors.
New Guinea impatiens are a great choice for gardeners looking to add color and a bushy foliage to a shadier spot in their yard. In some conditions, New Guinea will grow alright in full sun, but they prefer at least some shade. If grown in full sun, they will need plenty of water and fertilizer to keep them looking vibrant.
Caring for your New Guinea impatiens
So you are looking to grow some New Guinea impatiens? Here are some important details to consider for New Guinea impatiens care.
First, when planting your New Guinea impatiens you’ll want to choose a spot that is more shady. New Guinea impatiens will grow best in 4-6 hours of afternoon shade.
In PA, and other northern states and growing zones, you may be able to grow your New Guinea impatiens in more sun, but this will often require more watering and fertilizer.
Overall, New Guinea impatiens will appreciate mostly sun and may not perform well if exposed to the hot afternoon sun throughout the summer.
When to plant New Guinea impatiens
While New Guinea impatiens are shade-lovers, they will still need warm temperatures to get started and survive the growing season. It’s best to not plant your New Guinea impatiens outside before night temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
This time will vary depending on your growing zone, but typically it’ll be around Mother’s Day for most areas.
Choosing when to plant annuals can be a tricky choice. Annuals vary in their temperature requirements, so its important to be careful before planting a lot of annuals outside in early spring.
Height and spread
Most New Guinea impatiens will grow 12 to 18 inches tall and 6 to 9 inches wide. With the proper care and favorable growing conditions, these plants can grow into small bushes, as large as 3 feet tall!
Soil type for the best New Guinea impatiens
New Guinea impatiens will need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH that ranges from 6.0 to 6.5.
New Guinea impatiens fertilizer needs
If you are planting your New Guinea impatiens in a container with potting soil, you’ll want to make sure that the plant has fertilizer throughout the summer. During hot spells, a general rule of thumb is to fertilize the plant on every third watering. You’ll always want to check what the plant is looking like before you fertilize too much, as the plant is the best indicator of the nutrients it’s lacking.
If growing New Guinea impatiens in a flower bed, you can build up the soil with organic material or apply a water-soluble fertilizer when planting and caring for the plants throughout the summer.
Disease and pest control
New Guinea are susceptible to some diseases that can attack annuals, including blight, mildew or root rot.
Aphids, spider mites and other pets can be controlled with insecticidal soap spray.
Pruning New Guinea impatiens
New Guinea impatiens will grow into large clusters of blooms if cared for properly. Like most annuals, New Guinea impatiens will appreciate being cut back if they are stretching too far.
Within a couple of weeks after being cut back, New Guinea will have fresh new branches of blooms growing out.
Propagation of New Guinea impatiens
New Guinea impatiens can be propagated by cutting off a healthy stem and placing it in soil to take roots. Rooting hormones can also be used to encourage root growth, but it’s normally not needed.
Overall, New Guinea impatiens are a great addition to any summer garden with a shady spot. Their beautiful foliage and striking blooms will light up darker spots in your garden and provide beauty all summer long.
Interested in growing these plants? Check out our resource on great companion plants for New Guinea impatiens.