Sunday, November 21, 2010

Impatiens hawkeri - New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens - Impatiens hawkeri - are one of my all-time favourite perennials.  They are so well suited to my dry tropics garden.  They're definitely sun-lovers, but many people are fooled into believing they can take full sun all day ... that is certainly not true here in the tropics.  During our fierce Summers, they will wither very quickly if subjected to a full day out in the blazing sunshine.

Yes it is true they are far more sun-loving than the other Impatiens species, such as Impatiens walleriana, but in my dry tropics garden during Summer, I have New Guinea Impatiens in positions where they can only enjoy direct morning sunlight.  In the Autumn-Winter though, they will sit out in full sun all day quite happily, as long as the roots are kept moist!

They form tight compact little bushes to around 45 cm in height and have great lance-shaped leaves that can vary from dark glossy green to bronze, and variegated as well.

They will flower continuously throughout the warmest months here, from late Spring right through to Autumn.  The single flattened flowers come in an amazing range of colours such as whites, pinks, reds, mauve and coral.  Sometimes the flowers can be up to 7 cms in diameter!

My favourite is definitely the white which really brightens up my Shadehouse Garden.

The red and orange Impatiens hawkeri have their own beauty though.

Some of the new cultivars have deep dark red veins running through the dark leaves and this makes handsome looking foliage.

They may also have fabulous variegated leaves with these dark red veins ...

... and have lovely two-tone flowers.

All my New Guinea Impatiens are in pots and are almost fuss-free plants in my garden.  I do have to take care with the watering, however.  They require a moist, well-drained soil.  Too wet and they will rot ... if they dry out, they will wilt quite badly!  Now while the wilted plant will recover quickly after watering, it's already suffered stress and will often drop all the flower buds and so have less flowers.  The leaves will also often drop and/or turn brown around the edges.  My potted New Guinea Impatiens love to be fertilised quite regularly with a water soluble fertiliser ... I always put some slow-release fertiliser in the potting mix as well. 


  1. Love those impatiens and you have so many wonderful colors.


  2. Mmm, gorgeous flowers.. lots of colors, i loved it..

  3. Thanks for the care tips Bernie. I've killed quite a few over the years with too much or lack of water. Yours always look so healthy and you have such a variety. I think you look after yours better.
    They also don't like winter here so may need to be treated like an annual.

  4. I appreciate your comments Flowerlady and Dejemonos.

    Missy ... yes they do need a little more care than my other Impatiens varieties, but not too much. It's mainly the watering you need to get right ... once that's done they're quite easy to look after. Of course we don't get cold winters up here so they're an all round plant for us.

  5. Your impatiens are beautiful. You have a pretty good collection Bernie! I enjoy impatiens' showy flowers. However, I kept having problem with those with dark leaves. I will see what I can do more next time ;-( Thanks for the tips!

  6. I love, love impatiens too. Mine are planted in the ground and get about 2 feet tall and just as wide. Have you tried Sunpatiens?

  7. I did know that the New Guinea Impatients tolerated sun better but I did not know they tolerated drought better as well. They are lovely!

    I grow the regular impatients in window boxes and they do so well each year. They do not get a lot of light and also like to be kept moist. For years the rabbits ate them but not so much any more.

  8. Hi Bernie, they are very popular, I think they're mostly in pots round here because they need constant moisture. cheers, catmint

  9. When I see New Guinea impatience I KNOW it's late spring or summer!

  10. I love New Guinea impatiens. Here they are annuals which grow best in semi shade, with some morning sun. I plant some every year; I envy yours as perennials!

  11. Beautiful photos! I love impatiens as long as we have a wet summer. I've had years where they never stopped blooming. Other summers, they just fade away. Yours look super!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  12. Beautiful inpatients. Is very true what you say, they seem like they can take full sun, but they dont really. Back at my country they are sometimes even considered as annuals because they burn in summer if they are not taken care of properly.

  13. Beautiful plants and shots;thanks for sharing.

  14. Hello Bernie - your post is wonderful, as we share a common love of Impatiens! Here in the cold part of the US, they are definitely an annual - but this year I was not ready to give them up for compost. They are comfortably sitting in my family room... among a growing number of "house plants"! ;)

  15. Your flowers bring delight and beauty on this gray and cloudy day! Thank you! Cathy

  16. So many colors! This was an enjoyable post.

  17. What a healthy beautiful bunch of inpatients. Great photos!

  18. Bernie

    Wonderful series of takes!
    Marvelous post for TODAY'S FLOWERS.
    I'm inviting you to be our Guest Friend at 02th January 2011!
    The first Guest of 2011!!
    Send me by e-mail photos!
    If you agree, of course!!



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