Articles, Home

Impatient for SunPatiens!

For many years, I had a favorite shade plant that I loved to grow on my back deck, where the morning sun kissed it briefly. They were called Impatiens, a prolific flowering plant, and they were impatient to bloom! A few years ago, I was informed by my garden center that they would not be selling them, due to the fact that Impatiens were overcome by a plant disease called downy mildew. I was sad to see them go. Then, a new hybrid of Impatiens arrived on the scene that were unaffected by the mildew. They were called SunPatiens, and they took my breath away! I’ve grown SunPatiens ever since and I’m still thrilled with them. In fact, I’m waiting impatiently to grow them again this year!

SunPatiens grow an abundance of big, 2 to 3 inch, blooms from spring through to the first frost in fall. They have the ability to thrive in part shade and the hot sun, too! Not only that, they are also self-cleaning! This means that the old flowers fall off and are overcome with new flowers as they grow, just like the Impatiens.

SunPatiens grow in a mounding form and have a compact or a spreading growth habit. My plant tags clue me in to the fact that I’ve grown both varieties. The two types that I have grown are a compact plant with a deep magenta color and a spreading plant in the color red. SunPatiens also come in white, OrangePink, and purple. Each one has their own unique leaf color such as light green, a deep green that is rich in color, or a Variegated Lemon-Lime that is edged in green!

All varieties of SunPatiens average in growth from 12” to 24” in height and 18” to 30” in width for container gardening. They are capable of growing even larger, 24” to 40” in height and 24” to 36” in width, in the ground. If you need to fill a large garden space, only want to buy one plant for your container, or if you aren’t sure which plants to mix together, these beauties are for you! They are perfect as a stand-alone!

Thankfully, SunPatiens are a low-maintenance plant! I use a slow, Time-Release Fertilizer when I first transplant them into my container of choice, and I water them every morning. There is nothing more to do for them except watch them grow! I don’t prune them or cut them back, as it ruins their shape. Sometimes they’ll get a little leggy if they are in part shade but only because they are reaching for the sun!

I must note that SunPatiens are an annual plant. They won’t be able to handle the harsh winters in the Northeast, although you could bring them inside for the winter if you have the room.

SunPatiens are quite the showy plant and don’t mind being by themselves, considering their height and width. They look perfect on their own in a container, window box, hanging basket, in a mass planting in your garden, or even planted in many containers for that wow factor in your landscape!