Alternatives to Garden Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) – due to problems with Impatiens Downy Mildew

 

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Alternatives to Garden Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) – due to problems with Impatiens Downy Mildew

If your selection of seasonal color bedding plants, or container accents, has included Garden Impatiens – especially if you have shady locations – you may have experienced ‘die-back’ and plant failures within the last few seasons. This problem most likely comes from a fairly new pathogen, which has become a problem within our region – called ‘Impatiens Downy Mildew’.

This pathogen affects the Garden Impatiens – with leaf-yellowing, followed by curling, and eventual leaf-drop – within full-bed plantings of this flower. It will over-winter in planting bed soil, and will affect successive seasonal plantings of Garden Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana).



Choosing substitutions for impatiens will be important for this coming season – to break the disease cycle in these planting bed areas – as well as to ensure that your color plantings will be successful throughout the entire season.

Here are some possible substitutes which will provide color throughout the season – within shade, or partial shade areas:

1. Begonia – ‘Dragon Wing’ – vigorous growth, waxy dark-green foliage, bright flowers – in red, pink.

    

2. Begonia – Wax-leaf varieties – shorter growth, strong foliage, bright flowers – sun or shade

    

3. Coleus – mixed varieties – vigorous foliage, many color variations, sun or shade tolerance

    

4. New Guinea Impatiens – taller, upright growth, bright flower colors, sun or shade. NOT affected by Impatiens Downy Mildew.



5. Sweet Potato Vine – Green, or Purple – great for container plantings, fast-grower, sun or shade.