Growing New Guinea impatiens can be one of the easiest ways to add some colorful blooms to your garden. Related to the common impatiens, new guinea impatiens are a popular choice for any master gardener looking for impatiens with a higher morning sun tolerance. The new guinea is a flexible flower you can place almost anywhere, whether on the porch with your other potted plants, in shady spots in the yard, or amongst your dark green foliage. With its colorful blooms, this flower is the perfect addition to your 2022 garden plans. They also make excellent indoor plants.
Not only are there a variety of colors these flowers come in, but their foliage varies as well. Most commonly, the leaves of this plant will be dark green, but sometimes you will see new guinea impatiens with reddish or even variegated foliage. If properly cared for, the flowers will bloom early and stay all season long.
The perfect combination for new guinea impatiens in partial shade and well-draining soil. They want consistently moist soil, which will vary depending on where you plant them and how much light they get. The New Guinea plant is perfect for bringing all the beneficial insects and bees to the yard, and hummingbirds love their bright flowers.
Because these plants have some wiggle room, let’s cover the basics so you can know what you need to do to grow new guinea impatiens all summer.
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Quick Care Guide
|Common Name||New Guinea impatiens|
|Scientific Name||Impatiens hawkeri|
|Height & Spread||12-18 inches tall, 10-15 inches wide|
|Light||Partial to full shade|
|Pests & Diseases||Downy mildew|
All About New Guinea Impatiens
New Guinea impatiens are often more tolerant of bright sunlight and have more resistance to powdery mildew and fungal infections than the common impatiens. The new guinea, or impatiens hawkeri, are considered cousins to impatiens and make great companion plants. They are often called new guinea impatiens, but sometimes you will see them called new guinea hybrids. They originated in southeast Asia and were briefly popular in Europe in the mid-1880s. They became popular again when Longwood Gardens and the USDA brought them to the United States in the 1970s, and they have remained a staple ever since.
New Guinea impatiens are a hardy perennial plant, though sometimes sold in hanging baskets as annuals. If taken care of and cut back, they will bloom again next year. Guinea impatiens are also an excellent plant for those who don’t want to wait until June for flowers. New guinea impatiens often bloom in late spring and last through the summer.
These beautiful flowers comprise 4-5 heart-shaped petals that could be pink, blue, purple, red, white, yellow, orange, burgundy, and even brown, depending on the variety. These flowers produce small seed capsules and are a great addition to any pollinator garden. They also pair well with some edible plants such as sweet potato vines.
Types Of New Guinea Impatiens
The list of different cultivars is vast and continually growing. We have selected a few to highlight here, but there are many more colors and varieties to choose from.
- Celebration Raspberry Rose: The blooms of this flower are bright pink with a soft light pink center and surrounding dark green foliage. Celebration cultivars typically grow 12-16 inches and are primarily used in containers or along garden borders.
- Celebrette Red: These are great fall flowers with deep red blooms and green foliage. Celebrette varieties typically grow 10 inches tall and have a slightly larger flower than other cultivars.
- Painted Paradise Orange: This is a beautiful cultivar and my personal favorite. The blooms are bright orange with green and yellow variegated foliage. This plant typically grows to be 14″ tall. Most Painted Paradise varieties will have variegated leaves.
New Guinea impatiens are popular for a reason. They aren’t too tricky to take care of. Follow these guidelines to give yourself the best shot at a beautiful and colorful garden.
Sun and Temperature
The New Guinea impatiens cannot thrive in fully sunny locations. They can take up to 2-4 hours of morning direct sunlight at most, but perform well in full shade. These typically indoor plants can tolerate any amount of light as long as it isn’t full sun or bright direct sunlight. Ensure that they still receive bright indirect light if they are in the shade.
New Guinea impatiens flowers are hardy plants that do best in USDA growing zones 10-12. Once soil temperatures reach 60 degrees and daytime temperatures are favorable, guinea impatiens can be planted as outdoor plants. When selecting a spot for your new guinea, make sure you have spent time watching your garden beforehand so that you pick a spot where the flower can be exposed to the morning sun but is protected by the afternoon shade. New guinea impatiens should be planted outdoors after the last frost.
When you grow new guinea impatiens indoors, be sure that they receive bright, indirect light. Afternoon shade is crucial here too, especially if you’re placing them in a sunny window. Providing afternoon shade ensures that the colorful foliage will not get scorched by hot, direct sunlight.
Water and Humidity
Your New Guinea impatiens plants are not drought-tolerant at all. They require constant moisture. Without consistently moist soil, it will start to wilt. How frequently you should water your impatiens depends on where you live and where you decide to plant them in your garden. Guinea impatiens flowers planted in the sun will need more water. The best way to gauge if they have enough water is to check if the top inch of soil is dry. If in planters, check to see if the top two inches of soil is dry. If so, it’s time to water. Typically, if you are growing guinea impatiens in pots or containers, you will need to water them more often. Be sure the soil isn’t already damp, and the planters, containers, and hanging baskets have drainage holes. Overwatering could contribute to fungal root rots, but as long as you have well-drained soil, this is less likely to occur.
When watering guinea plants, make sure to water them at the base, not the top. Keeping the dark green foliage and flowers dry is essential to prevent diseases. We recommend using soaker hoses or a drip system in your flowerbeds. Water in the morning or early afternoon because night temperatures often drop and could damage your New Guinea impatiens.
New Guinea impatiens need good loamy soil to ensure the water is well-drained. To help retain some moisture and add additional nutrients, we recommend adding organic material to your soil. Adding compost can significantly help impatiens when growing in sandier soils, particularly for outdoor plants. Aim to have a soil pH of 6-6.5. Potting soil should also be topped off with mulch to aid in water retention and temperature regulation. Straw mulch is an excellent option for these flowering plants.
If you want this perennial plant to maintain its beautiful flowers all season long, you will need some fertilizer. New guineas are heavy feeders, meaning compost alone is not enough.
If the impatiens plants are part of your garden, mixing in a slow-release fertilizer when planting is your best option. If you grow your impatiens in a container, it is best to use a complete water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. When selecting a slow-release fertilizer, make sure you choose one that has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
To keep new guinea impatiens looking full and bushy, some pruning is required. About mid-season (July-August), flowers and foliage begin to become leggy. Not only does pruning improve the appearance of your plant, but it can also promote new growth.
Deadheading, or pinching off flower stems after they have bloomed, will encourage new growth on your new guinea plant. When pruning the plant itself, make sure to focus on the center leaves. Pruning these will create side shoots and result in a fuller-looking plant. Do this as often as you need to maintain the appearance you like, but make sure not to do it before the initial growing season is over. Wait until mid-summer to begin pruning.
The easiest way to propagate new guinea impatiens is from cuttings. Some varieties can be grown from seed, but for the most part, the seeds are sterile, or they will grow more similar to their parent plant than the hybrid one you have purchased.
Propagating impatiens from cuttings can be done in either water or soil. Just cut a non-flowering stem, make sure the impatiens cutting has at least two nodes on it, and cut just below the node. Pinch off any lower leaves as well.
If you decide to put your cuttings in the dirt, you can put them in pots, trays, or directly in the ground. Just make sure the soil is moist when you put it in and that you continue to water it generously and place it in bright, indirect light. Cuttings can take up to a month to root.
If you turn your impatiens cuttings into water propagations, you will also be successful. Place the cutting in a glass of water that is filled up enough to cover the first couple of nodes. Replace the water every other day to keep it fresh. Once the cutting has rooted, you can plant it in its more permanent location.
Care for your cuttings as you would any other cuttings until they’ve developed a healthy root system by ensuring they have enough moisture, humidity, and other necessary survival needs.
There are a few problems to be wary of with New Guinea impatiens. Most of these issues can be avoided if you make sure to give your New Guinea impatiens the right amount of water.
If your plant wilts and stops flowering in the summer, it’s likely receiving too much sunlight or suffering from the heat. To make them thrive and produce those lovely pink, purple, or orange flowers to add life to your gardens, be sure you’re planting them in partial shade and watering them frequently enough. Remember that your impatiens plant can handle full shade conditions as long as there’s bright, indirect sunlight!
Aphids, thrips, and spider mites all love to suck the life out of a new guinea impatiens plant, and you should be on the lookout for them. Yellowing, stippled leaves, sticky spots that look like black mold, or fine web-like material are signs that you may have a pest on your hands. See if you can find any on the stems of your leaves. That is where they are sucking out all the nutrients and killing your plants. Neem oil can help prevent and suffocate these pests. It is also advisable to apply insecticidal soap to your plant to help get rid of these pests. For severe outbreaks, consider a pyrethrin spray.
One of the biggest issues to watch out for is root rot. New Guinea impatiens need a lot of water, but extended periods in poorly draining soil can create conditions that promote harmful fungal development. There are an array of fungal rot causes such as Pythium, Fusarium, and more. If your impatiens hawkeri stems or roots are black, they most likely have root or stem rot. Prevention is your best bet. Provide plants with well-draining soil when planting, perhaps with a slow-release fertilizer mixed in. Watering only when necessary to keep the growing media moist is essential in your gardens to prevent fungal growth.
Some mycorrhizal additives have been shown to help with Fusarium fungal rots, but there is no real cure for root rot once it becomes severe. If symptoms of root rotting such as yellowing or wilting develop, carefully unpot or dig up your impatiens and examine the root system. Prune off severely-damaged roots, leaving enough to sustain the plant, then replant it. Maintain a consistent watering schedule, but don’t water to excess.
Because impatiens need a lot of water, they become susceptible to downy mildew, a type of water mold. The foliage will begin to turn yellow and curl down. If you look on the underside of yellowed leaves, you will see white fuzzy growths. The best thing to do is eliminate the spread by removing the infected foliage and reexamining your watering methods.
Neem oil can’t cure already infected plants, but it can help protect those still viable. Once you have removed the damaged foliage, apply neem oil to the rest of your plant. Another option is using a copper fungicide. This can help prevent and protect plants from becoming infected, and like neem oil, it should be used before any outbreak has occurred, and definitely if one appears.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do New Guinea impatiens need sun or shade?
A: That’s kind of a trick question! They need both but in different amounts. New Guinea impatiens plants need a lot of shade and a little sunlight.
Q: How long do New Guinea impatiens last?
A: New Guinea impatiens plants are perennial, meaning if you cut them back, they will grow again the next year.