If there is one flower synonymous with summer, it is the impatiens. Also known as Busy Lizzie, impatiens are prized for their ability to add color to shady areas of the garden where other flowers may struggle to grow. These pretty pink, purple, red, or white blooms are a staple of summer gardens, and with good reason.
Impatiens seeds are planted a week or two after the season’s first frost. You’ll need to start them inside in seed trays or pots and transplant them into your garden in early spring. It takes almost three months for impatiens to grow into seedlings, so be patient.
Impatiens can be grown in garden beds, walkway edges, pots, and even beautiful hanging baskets. These flowers are relatively low maintenance and will provide beautiful blooms without much effort. So let’s look at everything you need to know about planting impatiens seeds and growing these flowers so you can enjoy a summer full of color.
When to Plant Impatiens Seeds?
Impatiens can be started from seed but are also widely available in nurseries. If you want to start your impatiens from seed, the best time to plant them is about a week after the first frost in your area.
They grow in U.S Hardiness Zone 8 to 12, so the sowing should be done in November to early December in most cases. However, if you want to plant impatiens bought from a nursery, the best time to plant them is after all danger of frost has passed, usually in late April or early May.
You’ll have to start your impatiens seeds (on Amazon) indoors in small containers, trays, or wet paper towel works.
- Fill your container with peat moss and vermiculite mix and gently press the seed into the surface.
- Cover with a thin layer of the mix and lightly mist with water.
- Put the container onto a tray filled with water and place it in a warm, bright spot.
- Then remove the water tray after a day. You should see your impatiens seeds germinate in about 21 days.
- Wait for at least ten weeks after germination before transplanting your impatiens outdoors.
You may also need to harden the impatiens off first by placing them outdoors in a shady spot for a few days before planting them in their final location.
How Deep do You Plant Impatiens Seeds?
Impatiens have tiny seeds, so you don’t need to plant them very deeply. In fact, planting them too deep can prevent them from germinating. So instead, just put the seed on the surface of the soil around 6 inches apart, and then gently cover the seed with a 1/2 inch layer of the growing medium you’re using.
Where do Impatiens Grow Best?
While impatiens are pretty versatile, they do prefer partial shade. So the best place to plant impatiens is in a spot that gets some sun in the morning but is shaded from the hot afternoon sun. They will also tolerate full shade but won’t bloom as profusely in these conditions.
They will also bloom in full sun, but the flowers will be smaller, and the plant itself will be more likely to wilt in the heat of the day. So beds under the trees, along the north side of a building, along a fence line, or in any other spot that gets dappled sunlight throughout the day are all excellent places to plant impatiens.
Another important point is how you want your impatiens to look. It gets some height when grown in compact spaces like pots or hanging baskets, so it mounds nicely. However, if you want a more sprawling look, give your impatiens some room to branch out.
If you want your impatiens to thrive, amend the soil with some organic matter before planting. This will help the roots establish themselves and hold moisture in the ground, which is essential since these plants like to keep their roots moist.
How Long Does it Take Impatiens to Grow from Seeds?
Impatiens are slow growers, so it will take a few months for them to reach maturity. Impatiens seeds are typically started indoors in late November or early December. They will germinate in about 21 days and then need another ten weeks to grow big enough to transplant outdoors.
Once they are transplanted, it will take another 3 to 4 weeks for the impatiens plants to become fully established in their new location. And you should be able to see the foliage grow in reasonably quickly, but it will be another month or two before you start to see the flowers bloom.
So, in total, it will be about six months from seed to flower for impatiens. But it will be well worth waiting to see these beautiful flowers bloom in your garden for the next several months.
Can Impatiens Survive Frost?
Impatiens are warm-weather plants and can’t tolerate temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes the foliage picks up frost damage at around 36 Degrees because they’re low to the ground, and the cold air can settle there.
A new hybrid called ‘New Guinea Impatiens’ is a little more tolerant to cold weather and can withstand temperatures down to 30 Degrees without any damage. But even these plants quickly start to show damage when the temperature dips below 30.
So if you live in an area with a chance of frost, it’s best to wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting impatiens outdoors. Or, if you want to protect your plants from late spring frost, create a cover for them by staking some cloth or frost sheet over them.