Impatiens: Growing Guide

For years, Impatiens have been my go-to popular annual flower for the shade gardens. They thrive in shady areas in a seemingly countless wide variety of colors. Easy to grow, Impatiens are a favorite flower to plant in container gardens, window boxes, and hanging baskets.

How to Grow Impatiens in Pots

How to Grow Impatiens Flowers

Old-fashioned Impatiens have been ideal popular bedding plants for the home gardener for many years in the United States. Planted in mass plantings or mixed with other shade-loving plants, they are an excellent addition to any shady area.

I often plant Impatiens in old buckets, wooden barrels, window boxes, and galvanized troughs in my rustic flower garden designs. With their quick growth habit and abundant flowers, they intensify the shaded areas of my garden beds.

As with all flowers that I grow, you can probably guess that I grow the Impatiens with white flowers. While there are many beautiful colors, the showy white flowers perfectly contrast my dark gray potting shed and various container planters.

Planting Impatiens in Containers

Why You Will Love to Grow Impatiens

No Deadheading Required: While many annuals require deadheading, like Zinnias, to keep blooming, Impatiens are easy-care annuals that are self-cleaning, so removal of spent flowers is not required.

Perfect Shade Annual: Easy-to-grow with non-stop flowering in shady conditions, there is no comparable flower for the ideal shade annual. Impatiens can be planted in shady borders, along walkways, in woodland gardens, or as ground cover.

Window Box Impatiens

Types of Impatiens

Impatiens Walleriana

Also known as Busy Lizzie, this variety is a traditional impatiens species and one of the most popular annual bedding plants. Available in various flower colors – from white to pinks, purples, and reds, they are easily found each year in garden centers.

Impatiens walleriana usually grow 1-2 feet and have five-petaled flowers covering the plant with beautiful blooms from early spring to first frosts in the fall.

New Guinea Impatiens

Probably the second most common type of impatiens, new guineas are a bit different. New Guinea impatiens flowers tolerate up to half a day of sun in most parts of North America. However, their drought tolerance is very low. They need to be watered daily, especially if they are planted in containers.


SunPatiens are resistant to downy mildew and thrive in full sun. They are vigorous growers and need no extra care. So, if you have a sunny area, Sunpatiens are the way to go!

Impatiens in Buckets

Variety of Impatiens I Grow

Super Elfin White Impatiens

These white impatiens have large flowers and small pointy green leaves. From early spring to the first fall frost, I can count on these healthy plants to produce high-quality blooms and add charm to all the shaded areas of my flower gardens.

Old Wheelbarrow Planter with Impatiens

When to Plant Impatiens

Impatiens are highly susceptible to cold temperatures and should only be planted in late spring after all danger of frost has passed. If planting Impatiens in the ground, wait until the soil temperatures have warmed up.

I had planted Impatiens in recent years when the daytime temperatures were warm, but the nights were still too cool. In doing this, I have lost plants to cold weather and had to purchase new plants.

Planting Impatiens

Where to Plant Impatiens

Impatiens should be planted in a shady location protected from the wind. To maintain their beautiful green leaves and color, Impatiens must have protection from hot afternoon direct sun.

Impatiens are a favorite annual for planting in containers. I have found that they grow best in fertile, well-draining soil enriched with organic matter. Impatiens grown in containers will need more frequent watering.

Planting Impatiens in Pots

How to Plant, Care For and Grow Impatiens


To plant your impatiens flowers, gently squeeze the sides of the container to loosen the soil. Tip the container on its side, and the plant should slide out. Plant the impatiens in a hole that is as deep and wide as the rootball. The plant should sit at the same level in the ground as it was in the pot. Gently fill in around the hole with soil and water the impatiens thoroughly.

Planting impatiens about six inches apart will encourage them to grow upright, resulting in taller plants. Planting impatiens further apart – 10 to 12 inches will encourage the plants to spread and fill in the gaps.


Impatiens need watering regularly to keep the soil moist. During hot, dry weather, plants may need to watering daily. It is best to water the plants at the base to avoid getting the leaves wet, which helps prevent disease.

Impatiens planted in window boxes, containers, and hanging baskets need daily watering, so the container must have sufficient drainage. If a long, hot, dry spell occurs, the plants may look wilted, but the good news is that they will quickly perk back up with some water.


Pruning Impatiens is not a necessary task. However, if the plants begin to grow tall and leggy, they can be pinched back. To pinch the plants back, use garden scissors to trim the plants back to 1/2 or 1/3 of the plants’ size. Pinching back the plant will encourage bushier growth with new blooms.


Healthy, flourishing impatiens will generate hundreds of blooms per plant. To keep plants flowering all season beautifully long from spring through fall, use a slow-release variety of fertilizer.

How to Plant Impatiens

Impatiens Dieseas

Downy Mildew Diseases

An incurable fungal disease that can plague Impatiens is called downy mildew. Symptoms include wilting yellow leaves and the underside of leaves looking fuzzy and white.

To prevent powdery mildew, keep the leaves dry when watering and ensure the plants have sufficient air circulation.

Planting Impatiens in Buckets

How to Propogate Impatiens

It is easy to propagate impatiens from cuttings by rooting them in water. To do this, take 6-inch long stem cuttings. Remove any lower leaves and place the cutting in water. Place it in a windowsill with a bright location but not in direct sunlight.

When the water becomes cloudy after a few days, replace the water. Eventually, roots will develop, and the cutting can be planted in potting soil. Continue to grow the plant in a bright area without direct sunlight and keep the soil moist.

Planting Impatiens in Trough

My Favorite Gardening Essentials

This post contains affiliate links; this means that I make a tiny commission off any purchase that you may make. This small commission helps keep Rocky Hedge Farm going at no additional cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

You can find my favorite kitchen essentials can be located in my Amazon storefront. While I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, my pieces are usually vintage and thrifted. However, I try to find and link replicas as much as possible, made in the USA or by other small shops, as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

impatiens in planter wheelbarrow

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Impatiens Need Sun or Shade?

There are no Impatiens that will thrive in direct sun. Most traditional Impatiens thrive in medium shade. However, New Guinea and SunPatiens will endure more sun than Impatiens walleriana.

Are Impatiens Annuals or Perennials?

Impatiens are tender perennials in Zones 10-11 but otherwise are grown as annuals.

How Often Should You Water Impatiens?

Impatiens like moist soil but not soggy. They need at least 2 inches every week. They will need to be watered daily in hot, dry spells, especially planted in containers.

What Happens if Impatiens Get too Much Sun?

Most impatiens can also tolerate early morning sunlight as long as they are well shaded from the hot afternoon sun. The plants will wither, wilt and die if they are exposed to too much heat and sunlight.

Wheelbarrow Planter with Impatiens

More Flower Gardening Posts You May Enjoy

  • How to Plant, Grow and Care for Zinnias: One of the easiest annuals to grow; Zinnias make beautiful cut flowers and bloom prolifically. These show-stopping flowering plants are low maintenance, effortless to grow from seed. They are available in a vast range of single or double blooms, dwarf sizes, tall varieties, and different colors.
  • Rustic Garden Ideas and Design for Backyard: Suppose you desire a rustic garden filled with inspiration, ideas, and decor with a lived-in feel. In that case, a great way is to add some vintage garden decoration from flea markets, auctions, and garage sales to give it a casual country landscape design.
  • Garden Shed Decorating Ideas: Charming country garden shed decorating ideas that are simple in design with a decorated front porch. Known by various names, rustic she sheds and potting sheds, this space is used for outdoor tool storage and potting up cottage garden plants in a quaint place.
  • Galvanized Washtub Planters: Use galvanized washtub planter ideas in the landscape to create a dazzling flowering display. Creating a unique container gardening idea, old vintage wash tubs can be loaded with annuals or perennials, forming a brilliant season-long vivid arrangement. Placed on the front porch or in the yard, galvanized tub planters are beautiful in any location.
Planting Impatiens in Window Box

Thank you for sharing!

2 thoughts on “Impatiens: Growing Guide”

  1. Thank you so much for all the information. I have planted Impatiens. One time I had good luck with then till fall. Then the deer decided they couldn’t resist then any more. Your guide has encouraged me to try again. Thank you. Your Impatiens and Zinnias are beautiful.


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