Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.
News Release Distributed 05/29/15
By Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist
HAMMOND, La. – If you like the flowering habit of shade-loving impatiens, you’ll be excited to know more about the impatiens that boldly go when no impatiens have gone before – into full sun.
That’s what you get with the SunPatiens – bedding plants that thrive in our Louisiana summer heat and humidity.
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.
SunPatiens not only survived and performed well at the LSU AgCenter since they debuted, they have moved onto the list of highly desired and widely recommended flowers for summer color. We don’t have many bedding plants that will provide so much color from midspring through fall in Louisiana.
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 grow 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 reach 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide by fall.
Breeders are concentrating now on the more compact growers. The vigorous group gets too large in the landscape in the South.
In our growing conditions, the spreading and vigorous types grow up to 24 inches tall and a bit wider. 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, a disease that has been a problem on our typical impatiens during the past three years.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting 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 at both sites.