IMPATIENS – busy Lizzie

Busy Lizzies are well known as houseplants and indoors will often flower almost continually. There are, though, varieties which are good for outdoor bedding; they are not hardy and should be treated as annuals.

Suitable site and soil. Grow in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered spot in the border. Busy Lizzies are particularly good for window boxes and other containers.

Cultivation and care. Keep well watered, especially plants grown in containers. If young plants start to get too ‘leggy’, pinch out the tips.

Propagation. Sow seeds in spring, and prick off into seed trays or individual pots. Do not plant out until danger of frost has passed. For indoor plants, cuttings can be taken, preferably in summer or early autumn. They will root in water.

Recommended varieties. Hybrid varieties of Impatiens wal-leriana are best for outdoor bedding and flower continuously from early summer to autumn. ‘Novette’ (height 10cm – 4in) and ‘Florette’ (15cm – 6in) are good for edgings and fronts of borders. ‘Imp Strain’ (23cm – 9in) is single coloured with white, pink, scarlet or orange flowers; ‘Zig Zag’ (15cm – 6in) has large flowers with a white stripe. I. Balsamina (60cm – 2ft) is a tender annual with large pink flowers. I. Biflora is a hardy annual with orange flowers from midsummer to autumn.

Pests and diseases. Busy Lizzies attract aphids.

EASY PROPAGATION

Busy Lizzies are extremely easy to propagate from stem cuttings and children often find the speedy results exciting. Simply put a 7.5-10cm – 3-4in cutting in water.

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