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.
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.