From - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
 Impatiens subsp. var.  Balsam, Touch-me-not, Snapweed, Jewelweed, Busy Lizzie, Patience plant
Impatiens with double flowers
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
Height: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial, annual
Origin: Tropics of N Hemisphere
Exposure: shade
Water: moderate
Features: flowers, naturalizes
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones: vary by species
Flower features:
Balsamic vinegar > Impatiens var. ,

There are hundreds of species of Impatiens, though four are much more commonly grown in gardens than the restsn. Most are annuals, or perennials treated as annualssn. They are grown for their flowers, which continue until frost. When the seed capsules are ripe, they explode upon being lightly touched, shooting little seeds Stems are usually succulentRH, and flowers, which may be solitary or in groups, usually have 3 (or rarely 5) sepalsRH. In some species the lowest sepal is large and extended backwards into a spurRH.

The most popular is Impatiens walleriana, which has a wide palate of colors, is easy to grow in both sun and shade, and blooms continuously unless a frost kills it back. This may be the most popular bedding plant in Americasn.

Four most commonly grown:


Need moist soil, good drainage, humus-rich soil, as well as a cool site (except for I. mirabilis)RH. Perennials should be kept relatively dry in the winter dormancy periodRH. Pinch plants regularly if you want to keep them bushyRH, otherwise some can get leggy. For tall-flowering I. balsamina shoots, remove the side shoots and initial flower budsRH.

Most are frost tender, but I. glandulifera, I. noli-tangere and I. capensis can not only survive, but self-sow where winter temperatures drop to -15°C (5°F)RH. These species can also become invasive in ideal conditions.


Seed can be short lived in some speciesRH, sow as fresh as possible. Softwood cuttings can be taken of plants you likeRH.

Seeds of frost-sensitive sorts should be planted under glass in spring, then picked out and planted in individual pots of loamless or loam of medium fertilityRH. Grow in a sunny, airy spot, free of frost, and pinch to keep compactRH. Plant outdoors only after danger of frost is passed, and water well.

Softwood cuttings can be taken in spring, and placed in soilless potting mix, best with some bottom heatRH.

Pests and diseases

Main article: List of impatiens diseases

Red spider mites and aphids can be a problem, especially under glassRH. Grey mold can cause flower buds to shrivelRH. Impatiens species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Dot Mothwp.


Impatiens namchabarwensis
Impatiens rosulata
Impatiens parviflora
Himalayan Balsam
Impatiens capensis

There are about 850RH species of Impatiens, including:


If you have a photo of this plant, please upload it! Plus, there may be other photos available for you to add.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Balsam, Impatiens Balsamina, Linn. (Balsdmina hortensis, DC. Balsamina Impatiens, Hort. Impatiens coccinea, Sims). Balsaminaceae. An erect, much-branched, half-succulent annual, long ago introduced from India, and now widely cultivated for its showy flowers.

Plant 1½-2½ ft.: Lvs. lanceolate, toothed, the lower ones being mostly in pairs: fls. clustered in the axils of the Lvs., on very short stalks; sepals and petals similarly colored and not easily distinguished, one of the sepals (of which there seem to be 3) long-spurred; petals apparently 3, but 2 of them probably represent 2 united petals, thus making 5; stamens 5. The pod, shown in Figs. 450 and 451, is explosive. It has 5 carpels and very thin partitions, and seeds borne on axile placentae. When the caps. are ripe, a pinch or concussion will cause the valves to separate and contract the seeds being thrown with considerable force. The balsam has varied immensely in the doubling, size and color of its fls. and in the stature of the plant. It was known to Gerarde in 1596. The balsam is sometimes called "lady slipper," although this name is properly confined to Cypripedium, and used for Calceolaria.

Practically all the garden balsams are now double or semi-double. The full-double forms are known as the camellia- flowered varieties. Fig. 452. In well-selected stock, the greater part of the flowers from any batch of seedlings should come very double. The colors range from white to dark blood-red, yellowish and spotted. Balsams are of very easy culture. They are tender, and should be started in thumb-pots or boxes indoors, or in the open when danger of frost is past. The seeds are large, and germinate quickly. The plants prefer a rich, sandy loam, and must not suffer for moisture Transplanting, and pinching-in the strong shoots, tend to make the plants dwarf and compact; two or three transplanting are often made. It is well to remove the first flower-buds, especially if the plants are not thoroughly established. Better results are secured when only a few main branches are allowed to grow, all the secondary and weak ones being pinched out. Sometimes they are pruned to a single stem, and if much room is given very large blooms are secured. The lower leaves may be removed if they obscure the flowers. Well-grown bushy plants should stand 2 feet apart each way, and the tall kinds will reach a height of 2 to 2½ feet. Good bloom is impossible if plants are crowded. For this reason, balsams do well in rows on the border of a garden where they may have room. Seed of the finest double strains is expensive, but inferior or common seed gives little satisfaction. Plants started early in May should give flowers in July, and should bloom until frost. A full-grown plant is shown in Fig. 453. At present, balsams are grown chiefly as flower-garden plants; but some years ago the flowers were largely used as "groundwork" in florists' designs, particularly the double white varieties. The flowers were wired to toothpicks, and were then thrust into the moss that formed the body of the design.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Impatiens (from the Latin; having reference to the pods, which, when ripe, on slight pressure burst open, scattering the seed). Balsaminaceae. Touch- Me-not. Flower-garden and greenhouse subjects, grown for the odd and ornamental blossoms.

Tender, succulent annual or perennial herbs, often with very fleshy sts. and simple lvs. usually alternate (sometimes opposite) and the upper ones often in whorls: peduncles axillary, with 1-6 or more very irregular fls. of various colors; sepals 3 (seldom 5), the posterior one taking on a spur-like shape, the 2 lateral ones short, green: petals 2 or 3, the one at the back commonly very broad and erect, sometimes keeled or winged, the lateral ones more or less 2-lobed or auricled; stamens 5, the filaments appendaged and the scales connivent over the stigma: fr. a 5-valved pod, which, when ripe, bursts when pinched, scattering the seeds.—Species probably 500, widely distributed about the world, largely in mountainous regions in warm- temperate and tropical countries. The genus has been greatly enlarged in recent years, with explorations in Afr. and other regions. It abounds in species that will probably have horticultural value, although relatively lew are now in cult, outside botanical collections. The garden balsam (I. balsamina) is a general favorite in the annual flower-garden. I. sultani is common in greenhouses, and latterly I. Holslii, I. Oliveri, and a few others are sometimes seen. This beautiful genus has not been much developed horticulturally. Great numbers of species, hybrids and interesting forms may be expected to appear in cult, in the future. The genus has immense possibilities for productive horticultural work. The common touch-me-not of Great Britain and other parts of Eu. is I. noli-langere (sometimes written I. noli-me-langere), an erect smooth branching annual. 2 ft. or less high, with large showy yellow fls. spotted with orange, on slender axillary peduncles. It has been reported as an escape in N. Amer. The N. American I. biflora is naturalized in England.

The cultivation of impatiens is mostly simple and easy. The seeds are large and germinate readily (see Balsam). The indoor species grow well and readily from either cuttings or seeds. Some of them also do well when grown as tender annuals in the open ground, although likely to suffer in dry weather and to bleach in bright sun. The remarks under I. oliveri, I. sultani, I. holstii, I. hawkeri. I. plalypetala, I. flaccida, and I. hookeriana indicate the treatment for the greenhouse kinds.


alba, 12, 13. arcuala, 3. aurea, 2. Balfourii, 15. Balsamina, 3. biflora, 1. biglandulosa, 13. candida, 14. coccinea, 3. Epiacopi, 7. flaccida, 12. fulsa. 1. glanduligera, 14. Grandiflora, 5. Hawkeri, 10. Holstii, 8. Hookeriana, 13. hortensis, 3. latifolia, 12. liegnitzia, 8. macran ha, 3. macrochila, 14. micrantha, 3. moschata, 14. nortonii, 1. oliveri, 6. oppositifolia, 4. palida, 2. petersiana, 9. platypetala, 11. pulcherrima, 11. roseo, 3. roylei, 14. sultani, 7. vulgaris, 3.

I. auricoma, Baill. Perennial, 6-24 in.: lvs. alternate, lanceolate, acuminate, crenate and with bristles: fls. golden yellow streaked red within; lateral petals connate; spur short, curved, 2-parted: sta. and midrib reddish. Comoro Isls., Mozambique.— I. chrysdntha. Hook. f. Annual, glabrous: lvs. alternate, lanoeovate, serrate: fls. several on a peduncle, golden-yellow; spur short and incurved. India.—I. camortensis, Baker. Lvs. elliptic-lanoeolate, acute and crenate: fls. large, bright carmine with 2-parted white spur. Comoro Isls.—I. comorfcoma, Hort. (I. comorensisXI. auricoma). — I. cuspidata, Wight 4 Arn. Shrubby, glabrous, farinaceous: lvs. alternate or uppermost opposite, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, serrulate: fls. solitary, 1 in. across, very pale red; spur slender. India. Var. arthretica, Hook, f., has the lower nodes much thickened.— I. falcifer. Hook. f. Annual, more or less decumbent: lvs. alternate, sessile or stalked, ovate to ovate-lanceolate serrate: fls. solitary and short-pedicelled, ringent. golden yellow spotted blood-red; spur slender, to 1 ½ in. long. India.— I. herzogii, Schum. Stout branching herb the branches 4-angled: lvs. opposite and whorled, ovate to ovate-lanceolate: fls. soltary or clustered, about 2 in. across. cinnabar; spur to nearly 3 in. long, very slender, incurved. New Guinea. — I. holslani, Hort. (I. holstii X I. sultani). — I. kewensis, Hort. (I. platypetala X I. hersogii). — I. marianae, Reichb. Annual: lvs. cuneate-oblong and acute, serrate with lighter areas between veins: fls. light purple, cymose: standard with a projection below the tip: lip with slender hooked spur. India. — I. psittacina. Hook. f. Annual, leafy and much branched: lvs. alternate, ovate, acuminate, serrate: fls. solitary, oddly colored, 2 sepals green, standard pale rose, wings suffused and streaked red, lip white with irregular dash of carmine: spur short and hooked. Burma. — I. thomsonii, Hook. f. Annual, erect, 8-12 in.: lvs. alternate, ovate-lanceolate, serrate: fls. several on a peduncle, ¾ in. long, pale rose; spur slender, incurved. India.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


External links

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share