There’s no real mystery why we love when the weather warms up enough to plant impatiens. Impatiens deliver on providing quick, impactful color, and they offer it in the shade! Yes, you can have flowering color in your shade garden and impatiens are a fast way to do it. 

Planting and Care for Impatiens

Impatiens are annuals that bloom single or double flowers from spring to frost here in San Antonio. They are a compact plant, growing only 12″ -18″ tall and about as wide, in a rounded form. Impatiens, like most annuals, like to be planted in either a well-prepared garden bed that has been amended well with the addition of rich, organic material (compost, peat moss, etc…), or if in containers, a high quality potting soil.

Regardless of which planting method you choose for impatiens, you must make sure that the soil drains well. Impatiens hate “wet feet”. Containers must have adequate drainage holes, and raised beds might be needed if you cannot achieve good drainage in the garden. *Good drainage means that water does not pool up in the area for extended periods of time after irrigation or rainfall.

Mix in some slow release granular fertilizer like FoxFarm’s Jump Start Fertilizer at the time of planting and follow up every 3-4 weeks with a liquid fertilizer given at the time of watering. Impatiens are heavy feeders so if you skimp on their nutrients, you’ll most likely see a decline in blooms. (The hottest of our summer months, July and August, also tend to slow down bloom production.)

Throughout the season you can pinch back stems to keep them blooming and to promote healthy, fuller growth. Make sure to do this mid to late summer so you’ll have a fresh flush of blooms to welcome fall.

Shade loving impatiens in multiple colors.
Colorful annuals.

As mentioned before, impatiens are made for the shade. Planted in mass, impatiens really make a splash of color to add interest as a contrast to all the foliage plants in your shade gardens. Impatiens are both protected and look stunning in cocoa-lined baskets hanging from limbs of canopy trees like oaks. Strategically place a few pots around your covered patio areas for some eye-candy. Full shade or morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal lighting. The featured picture in this blog (taken last year) shows how beautiful impatiens are in hanging baskets and even when grouped together on the nursery table! I’m betting they will look even more beautiful displayed at your home.

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy