SunPatiens offer season-long performance

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.  |  5/3/2013 7:30:04 PM

News Release Distributed 05/03/13

By Allen Owings 
LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – If you like the flowering habit of shade-loving impatiens, you’ll be excited to know that a new type of impatiens is on the market that will thrive in our Louisiana summer heat and humidity – SunPatiens.

You get the best of both shade-loving impatiens and the larger-flowered and variegated foliage of New Guinea impatiens with SunPatiens, a hybrid bred by Sakata Seed that thrives in our summer landscapes in full sun.

They not only survived and performed well the last couple summers, but they were one of the few varieties of summer bedding plants that seem to have the potential to excel from mid spring through the fall.

This low-maintenance annual is available in three distinct series – spreading varieties, compact varieties and vigorous varieties. Several new varieties and colors are typically added to the group each year.

The smallest-growing compact group 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 has two main colors with variegated foliage – white and salmon. The spreading types get 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

The tallest and widest growth on SunPatiens is found in the vigorous-growth varieties. These come in colors of coral (with variegated foliage), lavender, magenta, red, white and orange. These plants can get 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide by 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. One plant will fill an entire container, but you can add a trailing flowering plant 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.

SunPatiens will bloom from May through the first hard frost.

Plants perform best when they receive full sun. If they’re grown in semi-shady conditions, they should be pruned in midsummer to maintain a bushy growth habit. Otherwise, they will become lanky and produce fewer flowers. In fact, consider growing regular impatiens instead.

Allow SunPatiens to wilt slightly between watering, and mulch them to conserve soil moisture. SunPatiens and New Guinea impatiens are both resistant to impatiens downy mildew, which is a new disease affecting the typical impatiens we use in summer shade landscapes.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by viewing the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals.

Rick Bogren

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