Richard Bogren, Huffstickler, Kyle, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D. | 5/7/2011 2:14:01 AM
If you like the flowers of shade-loving impatiens, you’ll be excited to know about a new type of impatiens that thrive in our Louisiana summer heat and humidity – SunPatiens.
You get the best of both shade-loving impatiens and the larger-flowered, variegated foliage of New Guinea impatiens with SunPatiens, a hybrid bred by Sakata Seed that thrives in full sun in our summer landscapes.
SunPatiens not only survived and performed well the last couple of summers around the state, but they were one of the few varieties of summer bedding plants that seem to have the potential to excel from midspring through fall.
This low-maintenance annual is available in three distinct series – seven compact varieties, two spreading varieties and five vigorous varieties.
The compact group is the smallest-growing and reaches 2-3 feet tall with an equal spread. Colors in this size range are blush pink, deep rose, coral, white, orange, magenta and lilac.
The spreading group only includes two colors, but both have variegated foliage – white and salmon. The spreading types get 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide.
The tallest and widest growth on SunPatiens comes in the vigorous-growth varieties. Colors are coral (with variegated foliage), lavender, magenta, red, white and orange. These plants can get 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide by the fall.
In our growing conditions, the spreading and vigorous types grow up to 24 inches tall and a bit larger in width. The compacts are a bit smaller all around, but one plant will fill an entire container. And you can add a trailing, flowering plant with it to cascade over the side.
Overall plant size is influenced by soil fertility, irrigation and light exposure. Choose the appropriate plant height for bedding, containers and hanging baskets.
Regardless of the variety or size, flowers of all the SunPatiens are large and showy and are easily seen above the dark, green, glossy foliage. They will bloom from May through the first hard frost.
These plants perform best when they receive full sun. If they’re grown in semi-shady conditions, prune them in midsummer to maintain a bushy growth habit because they will otherwise become lanky and produce fewer flowers. In fact, if you have shade, consider growing regular impatiens instead.
Allow SunPatiens to wilt slightly between watering, and mulch them to conserve soil moisture.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.