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Success with impatiens

I SPENT the last 15 years living on Norfolk Island and had no problem growing double-flowered impatiens. Now I live in Nelson and I've picked up as many cuttings of them as I can, but they are not growing as they should. I live on the hills with no frost and grow them in pots. Can you help?


MANY of the double-flowered impatiens are not as vigorous as their single-flowered cousins, but you should still be able to grow them well in Nelson, even though it's quite a bit cooler overall than Norfolk Island.

Pinch the tips out of your rooted cuttings when you pot them up to make them bushy. Keep them moist and feed liberally with a fertiliser, such as Nitrosol or Thrive, during summer to encourage strong growth. They can stand sun for a few hours each day, but often do better in part shade. If they get tall and leggy, cut them back in spring and feed again to force new growth.

Watch out for pests like thrips, which can cause the lower leaves to drop off, but this is generally only a problem if conditions are too hot and dry. If they do become infected, cut them back, feed them and water to get them growing again. They're generally not seriously affected by other pests or diseases.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 178, 2005, Page 32

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005