UACES Facebook Impatiens


November 28, 2015 


This plant was purchased at a yard sale yesterday.  No one could identify it.  It would be helpful to know what it is and whether it can be planted in my yard as a perennial or annual.

 Picture of a New Guinea Impatien


It is unfortunately an annual that unless it was protected from a freeze, would be dead this weekend. It is a New Guinea impatiens.  It needs a bit more sunlight than a common impatiens, but would not be overly happy indoors this winter either. You probably don’t want to hear this, but I would just start with a new plant next spring.


(June 2010)

QuestionMy husband has planted several hostas in our yard and put impatiens between each. The deer have eaten ALL the impatiens and are taking bites from the hostas. Can you suggest anything to sprinkle, etc. around these plants to keep the deer away?

Answer Actually, I am surprised that they are going after the impatiens first instead of the hostas. Hostas tend to be one of their favorite plants to eat. There are several products on the market for deer repellents, including Scram, Deer Away and several others. You can also mix raw eggs with water and spray that on your desirable plants. To take it a step further, you can install electric fencing around the desirable beds, or just invest in a good dog. Whenever you have animal issues, try a variety of approaches. Some people swear by Irish Springs soap hanging in the plants, while others have luck with human hair—but these animals are becoming much more familiar with human smells since they are living in such urbanized areas now.

(July 2005)

QuestionI have several pots of impatiens and some of the plants have brown spots on the leaves. A few of the spots have holes in the middle. Also some of the leaves are turning yellow. Not all of the pots have this trouble and we can't figure out what the problem is. Every year our impatiens do this. The plants grow huge and blossom well but the spots ruin the looks of the plants. Can you help me?

Answer There are several possibilities but the two most common would be Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), (which used to be called Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on impatiens), or Alternaria leaf spot. INSV is spread by tiny insects called thrips. Symptoms can include stunting, brown or yellow circular spots on leaves, ring spots, black or brown stem discoloration, or mosaic patterns (variegated patterns of light and dark green). There is no cure for this disease, other than sanitation. Alternaria leaf spot is another possibility. Often, one cultivar is severely infected while other cultivars appear disease free. Look for small (about 1/8 of an inch), round, light tan circular spots surrounded by a purplish border. Severely infected leaves can turn yellow and drop from the plant. Alternaria leaf spot could be confused with spotting from impatiens necrotic spot virus. Avoid prolonged leaf wetness, and if only a few plants are infected, dispose of them. Daconil can help in control of this disease. The holes you are seeing in the leaves is probably from dried tissue from the disease. Make sure you are cleaning your containers well at the end of the season and disposing of the used potting soil. Start with fresh soil every season, especially if you experienced problems the year before. If you are uncertain what the problem is, take a good sample to your local county extension office. The county office can send the plant to the disease diagnostic lab for a proper identification. Once you know the problem, you will have a better chance in controlling it.

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